cover image All the Better Part of Me

All the Better Part of Me

Molly Ringle. Central Avenue, $15.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-77168-167-4

Ringle’s entertaining, nuanced contemporary follows a minor character from Relatively Honest through his realization that he is bisexual. High-strung actor Sinter Blackwell, struggling to support himself at age 25, faces the end of a gig in London and the prospect of returning home to Portland, Ore., and his unsupportive, conservative, and religious parents. His androgynous looks and goth style catch the eye of Fiona Wyndham, a director casting the lead of her 1980s new wave pop film. Sinter accepts the part, and Fiona begins obliquely flirting with him during filming. As Sinter considers a relationship, he realizes his feelings for his even-tempered childhood best friend, Andy Ortiz, might be romantic. A confession to Andy (who has long nursed a crush on Sinter) leads to Sinter deciding to move to Seattle, where he and Andy begin a friends-with-benefits arrangement. The pair’s obvious chemistry flourishes into blissful sex, but snags on their refusals to admit their depth of attachment. Life-altering news from Fiona destabilizes Sinter and Andy’s progress toward something more permanent, and Sinter’s flailing attempts to cope cause pain on all sides. Ringle navigates her twisty revelations and dramatic conclusion with just enough weight to avoid mawkishness, and her characters earn their happy ending. Readers looking for introspective romances with winding plots will enjoy this heartfelt novel. Agent: Linda Migalti, Schulman & Assoc. (Sept.)