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Sometimes You Just Know
Can a thirty-year-old man overcome his fears and find love? Arnie Violet is the son of an alcoholic mother and a father who abandoned him at the age of ten. Believing himself unlovable, he lacks self-confidence in everything from work to romance. Then, Arnie meets eighteen-year-old Peter Jordan. Peter is the opposite of Arnie: self-assured, frank, and assertive. There is an instant attraction between them, but warning bells sound in Arnie’s head. His relationships never last long, there is a major age difference between the two men, and most importantly, Peter is his boss’s nephew. With the help of a new friend, Arnie embarks on a journey of self-discovery and learns to let go of the past and lean into life.
VanPatten (Looks Are Deceiving) creates an engaging and likable protagonist in this romance of self-discovery. At 30, Arnie Violet is an insecure loner, timid at work and “steamrolled” in his romantic relationships, until an invitation to dinner with his boss and mentor leads to an introduction to Peter Jordan, a mature eighteen-year-old with whom Arnie shares an instant mutual attraction—the title says it all. On the fence about starting a relationship with a man 12 years his junior, Arnie finds himself getting advice and forging new friendships that ultimately help him find the encouragement to truly believe in himself. Readers will enjoy following Arnie on a journey to finding confidence, love, and a family of his own creation in this engaging, upbeat novel.

The story is fast-paced and heartwarming as Arnie battles his self-doubts and confidence, while falling in love with Peter, his boss’s nephew. Struggling with the new dynamic of being embraced by his boss’s family, concerns over Peter’s age, and ongoing trouble with a workplace rival, Arnie at last is on path to taking control of his life and possibly finding happiness—or letting it all slip through his fingers. VanPatten keeps alive the possibility that something could go wrong, adding welcome tension. Accounts of Arnie's childhood and everyday routines—gym, Starbucks, local bars, driving with pop radio playing, all now haunted by the “ghost” of Peter’s kiss—both deftly establish character while giving readers reason to root for Arnie’s growth.

While this romance is a page-turner, it is a slow burn full of tension-building character encounters and plot twists, all set in convincingly real world and lives and building to a satisfying (yet somewhat unexpected) conclusion. Fans of character-driven contemporary fiction with strong romance angles will find much here to enjoy. This is a story that will tug at heart strings and inspire readers to just "lean into" the happiness and loved ones that life can bring.

Takeaway: A charming character-driven romance about finding confidence and love.

Great for fans of: Jude Sierra’s A Tiny Piece of Something Greater, Morgan Rogers’s Honey Girl.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A