cover image The Love Study

The Love Study

Kris Ripper. Carina Adores, $14.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-335-94319-4

A new couple navigate relationship issues in this delightful series launch from Ripper (Gun for Hire). It’s been six years since 28-year-old commitment-phobe Declan Swick-Smith left his fiancé at the altar, and he still shies away from dating. Then he meets Sidney, a genderqueer YouTuber with a popular advice channel who offers to set up Declan on dates and have him come on the show to discuss them. Declan agrees, leading to disappointing dates with a woman who’s reluctant to share her interests; a bland, overly traditional man; and a bubbly woman who pushes Declan to consider what everyone in the show’s audience already knows—that Declan has a major crush on Sidney. During a livestream, Declan awkwardly expresses his feelings to Sidney (who harbors their own concerns about relationships), and the pair start casually dating, much to the delight of Declan’s supportive group of queer friends. The reserved Sidney strikes a winning balance with the often rambling Declan, and Ripper sensitively handles both of their relationship issues, steering the pair toward a unique happy ending. Though some readers will long for higher stakes, the casual queerness of the cast and no-fuss treatment of Sidney’s nonbinary pronouns is so refreshing that many won’t mind the lack of conflict. This is a sweet treat. Agent: Courtney Miller-Callihan, Handspun Literary. (Oct.)