“Erebuni leans in for a hug, and I’m in her curls, surrounded by dark roses and stepping on wood chips and snapping twigs in a forest. She’s soft, but not frail like Janette; there’s a strength in her grip, and the way she holds me feels like she’s giving me something to take home.”
Debut author Taleen Voskuni delivers a delightfully queer and heartfelt love story with Sorry, Bro.
When Nar’s non-Armenian boyfriend gets down on one knee and proposes to her in front of a room full of drunk San Francisco tech boys, she realizes it’s time to find someone who shares her idea of romance.
Enter her mother: armed with plenty of mom-guilt and a spreadsheet of Facebook-stalked Armenian men, she convinces Nar to attend Explore Armenia, a month-long series of events in the city. But it’s not the mom-approved playboy doctor or wealthy engineer who catches her eye—it’s Erebuni, a woman as equally immersed in the witchy arts as she is in preserving Armenian identity. Suddenly, with Erebuni as her wingwoman, the events feel like far less of a chore, and much more of an adventure. Who knew cooking up kuftes together could be so . . . sexy?
Erebuni helps Nar see the beauty of their shared culture and makes her feel understood in a way she never has before. But there’s one teeny problem: Nar’s not exactly out as bisexual. The clock is ticking on Nar’s double life, though—the closing event banquet is coming up, and her entire extended family will be there, along with Erebuni. Her worlds will inevitably collide, but Nar is determined to be brave, determined to claim her happiness: proudly Armenian, proudly bisexual, and proudly herself for the first time in her life.
One of the things I loved about this book is how each chapter starts with an Armenian proverb. I happen to love proverbs; they can tell us so much about a culture and are often either disturbingly accurate, touching or hilarious. One of my favourites from this book was in chapter 8 – “I like him as much as I like smoke in my eyes.” Sooo relatable!
I didn’t know much about Armenian culture going into this book. Taleen did a great job of including many details highlighting the food, traditions and even some politics of this wonderful culture. I enjoyed learning through the eyes of Nar.
The romance between Nar and Erebuni is sweet, sexy and definitely swoon-worthy. I loved these two together. Their whole dynamic was just great. I loved how Taleen used Nar’s meetings with the Armenian men her mom selected for her to juxtapose how right Nar and Erebuni were for each other and how wrong all the men were.
Another thing I appreciated about this book is that the main character Nar is not out about being bisexual to her family, despite knowing this about herself for quite some time. This is an often overlooked or under-discussed facet of sexuality. Taleen is reminding us there is no right way or wrong way to be queer, and there is no time limit on it either.
Taleen is clearly still finding her voice, something I expect from a debut but still worth noting. Some passages feel almost more what I expect from literary fiction, lyrical and using a higher vocabulary. While I definitely welcome this writing style in romance, it sometimes felt at odds and inconsistent with other sections of the book. Like some parts had been more polished than others. I’m looking forward to more writing from Taleen to see how her style develops over time.
Thank you, Berkeley Romance for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.