cover image Better Than People

Better Than People

Roan Parrish. Carina Adores, $14.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-335-54282-3

Parrish (Small Change) delivers an irresistible queer romance between a grumpy children’s book illustrator and a pathologically shy graphic designer. When Wyoming illustrator Jack Matheson—already down in the dumps following a business partner’s betrayal—breaks his leg while walking his menagerie of rescue dogs (and one cat who likes to lead the way), he hires Simon Burke to walk his pets. Simon has debilitating anxiety and has an easier time interacting with animals than with humans, but the more time he spends with caring, supportive Jack, the more he opens up. Parrish nails both the throat-closing hell of Simon’s anxiety disorder and his palpable desire to have a healthy relationship, as well as Jack’s frustration at not always being able to soothe Simon’s fears. Superb supporting characters—especially Simon’s firecracker of a grandmother, Jean, and Jack’s doting older brother, Charlie—add considerable charm. This sensitive tale will leave readers with big smiles on their faces. (Sept.)