Fave Jewish Rep in Romances I Read 2018-2019

At the beginning of 2018 I deliberately went seeking Jewish representation in romance, and had intended to do a post sharing my faves, but didn’t manage it. So I thought I’d start a new yearly tradition. This post lists my favorite romances with Jewish representation that I read in 2018-2019, organized by trope. (Not all of them were published in 2018-2019, of course.) It definitely shows my bias towards contemporary romance, but there is a smattering of paranormal romance, historical romance, young adult fiction, romantic suspense, and even a graphic novel.

I’m listing multiple titles by the same author, when they were my faves for Jewish rep. I link to reviews where I have written them; and also where I have only posted trigger warnings, so you can easily find those.

I’m listing rep at the end of my descriptions. If you spot something incorrect, please do feel free to let me know. Also, I am not intending to out anyone; I get author info from the web and the book bio. If an author would like me to remove any info listed, please do let me know. I want to note that I use the word fat as a neutral descriptor when listing rep, and use the word queer when a character or author identify that way or when I am unclear about their identity but know they fall under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella.

For folks looking for books with no on-the-page sex, I am putting three asterisks*** at the end of the description. For folks looking for audiobooks, if I read in audio, I’m including an (A)

Note: All links to Amazon will be affiliate ones. If you buy through those links, I will make a small amount of money on that sale (which I plan to use to buy more books to review), but it will not add any to the cost of your product. It comes out of the company’s profits.

Fave Jewish Rep I Read in Romances in 2018-2019:

Chanukah Romance

  • Eight Cozy Nights by Julia Wolf (2018 contemporary Chanukah m/f romance novella) This neighbors to lovers romcom has a lot of humor and a lot of heart, and was my fave new Chanukah romance I read in 2018. (Rep: Jewish white MCs. White woman author.)
  • Hearts Alight by Elliot Cooper (2016 paranormal Chanukah m/m romance novelette)*** A sweet shining lovely little Chanukah m/m romance between a human man and a golem, one of my favorite Chanukah romances. (Rep: Bi white Jewish MC. Queer white Jewish MC. White trans man secondary character. Bi white trans man author.)

Geeky Romance

  • Aftershocks by Rachel Lynn Solomon (2019 contemporary m/f romance novelette)*** I loved this romance between two Jewish geeky teens who are nervously on their first date at Shabbos dinner and grappling with the fact of their different levels of observance. I appreciated the OCD and anxiety rep a lot, the anxiety rep resonated for me. I was rooting for them as a couple, and enjoyed the way they navigated the awkwardness of first date/mutual crush between friends becomes instant relationship. They are both so sweet in their insecure moments with each other, and how they bond over geekiness. I liked how much he was into her being competent and smart. The bit where they hold hands is super swoony and also full of this lovely humor. (Rep: Jewish white teen girl MC with OCD and anxiety. Jewish white teen boy love interest. Jewish white woman author.)
  • Play It Again by Aidan Wayne, (A) read by Sean Crisden (2019 contemporary m/m romance novel)*** This hit the mark for me with the online relationship and online content creator aspect, and was pretty satisfying on the long distance relationship piece as well. It’s not a completely light story, I wouldn’t exactly call it fluff, as Sam’s arc has trauma elements woven into it pretty strongly, but it’s got a fairly light adorableness to the romantic relationship aspect that was exactly what I needed on a rough day. I especially appreciated the way Dovid and Sam negotiated around sex. Sam is not sex repulsed; he’s also not really interested in sex, and Dovid carefully draws him out when he gets a soft yes for sex, in a way that I really liked. (Bisexual Jewish white blind man MC. Homoromantic white ace man trauma survivor MC with social anxiety. Aroace white Jewish woman secondary character. Non-binary white author.)
  • Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman (2017 contemporary f/f romance novella)*** I adore this fun fluffy f/f contemporary romance between two Jewish queer girl artists, one of whom draws fan art for the other, of their shared fave superhero TV show. Wonderful fat rep, rugelach, shared geeky squee, and a mischievous kitty. (Rep: Jewish white lesbian MC. Jewish white bisexual woman MC. Jewish white bisexual woman author.)

Historical Romance

  • All or Nothing by Rose Lerner (2017 historical m/f romance novella) I loved this, for so many reasons. The heroine’s grandmother was a converso, and she is trying to reclaim her Jewish identiity, and struggling with that, and it was just wonderful to read a romance that held the complexities of that struggle. Also, I loved all the layers of stuff in this story about consent, not just the kinky bits, but so much of the story was about consent and that gave me so many feels. I liked the open polyamory in the story quite a lot. (Rep: Bisexual Jewish Portugese immigrant woman MC. Bisexual white man MC. Jewish white woman author.)
  • Appetites and Vices by Felicia Grossman (2019 historical m/f romance novel) The pacing of the story was lovely, and the way the conflict unfolded really worked for me. I thought it used the fake engagement trope incredibly well, milked it for everything it has to offer, and then some. I really liked all the twists and turns of this as the story went on, and appreciated how central the heroine’s arc was to the story, and how incredibly compelling and strong she was as a character. I fell hard for Ursula, and would love to be her friend, if that were possible. I read Ursula as autistic, and this felt like a generally respectful representation of an autistic character, one that worked for me for the most part, and that I would recommend to autistic readers as one of the best examples of autism representation in historical romance that I’ve read.  (Rep: Jewish white autistic heroine. White hero with trauma and addiction. Jewish white woman author.)
  • Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole (2016 historical Chanukah m/f romance novella) Beautiful historical romance between two civil rights activists with a childhood crush to lovers trope. I adore the heroine’s arc in particular. Worth reading for the Chanukah scene alone. (Rep: Black woman MC. Jewish white man MC. Black woman author with ADHD.)

Meet Cute

  • Rush Me by Allison Parr (2013 contemporary m/f romance novel) There was a lot I liked about this hate to love romance, despite struggling with the way the MCs fought with each other. I loved the chosen family aspect, the heroine’s personal arc around his job, the complexity of the characterization, the way it felt very much like an NA in a lot of ways. I was engaged and could not put this down.. (Rep: Jewish white heroine. White hero. Jewish white man secondary character. Jewish white woman author.)
  • Small Change by Roan Parrish, (A) read by Jo Raylan (2017 contemporary m/f romance novel) I started this reread soon after hearing the audiobook was out, because it is performed by one of my most favorite audiobook performers, Jo Raylan aka Xe Sands. I love this book to pieces, it grabs hold of me fiercely every time, and is delightfully queer, with amazing foodie goodness and a lovely arc around misogyny in the tattoo business. I adore how angry Ginger is, how gone for her Christopher is, the pacing and characterization and setting for the story, the deeply compelling secondary characters. This is one of my treasured queer books that I reread at least once a year because it feels so good to spend time in the world of it. The audio is a wonderful way to reread it, and I’m so glad that it now exists. (Rep: Jewish white queer heroine that I read as neuroatypical. White hero. Jewish white woman author.)

Oh the Pining

  • Imaginary Lines by Allison Parr (2014 contemporary m/f romance novel) This childhood crush to lovers story was so compelling. I could not put it down. It felt very culturally Jewish in a way that really resonated for me, and I loved the chemistry between the MCs, who are stuck with a bunch of internal and external obstacles that seem kind of impossible to navigate. And oh the pining; I love it when there is so much pining. (Rep: Jewish white MCs. Jewish white woman author.)
  • Every New Year by Katrina Jackson (2019 contemporary m/f romance novella) I adored this angsty friends to lovers billionaire romance full of pining and heat. These characters could not get out of their own way to save their lives, and yet I kept on rooting for them to figure it out. The most New Years of all the New Years romances I’ve ever read. (Rep: Black heroine. White Jewish hero. Black queer woman author.)

Paranormal Romance

  • The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish, (A) read by Chris Chambers (2017 contemporary fantasy m/m romance novel) A beautiful rather angsty retelling of Practical Magic, with so much baking, a lovely Chanukah feast, a light touch of magic, and characters that stole my heart and gave me so many feels. The heat is a deliciously slow burn in this story. I especially appreciated the autistic artist MC, and the kink, and also the dogs. I highly recommend the audio. (Rep: Queer autistic white man MC. Queer Jewish white man MC. Jewish white woman author.)
  • Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu (2019 paranormal f/enby romance graphic novel)*** I adored this cozy second chance romance between childhood friends who reunite as older teens. I loved the feel of the art, so cozy with muted colors. All this glorious witchiness and magic school and magical experimentation. (Rep: Chinese-American, Deaf, queer Jewish MC. Chinese-American non-binary survivor MC. Lebanese American woman author. Asian American illustrator.)
  • Cinnamon Blade: Knife in Shining Armor by Shira Glassman (2018 fantasy f/f romance novella) I adore this fun sexy superhero romance between a Jewish queer butch thief turned superhero, and the nerdy femme she keeps rescuing and eventually asks out. High heat, hilarity, and a really fun romp, plus a chosen family of superheroes I loved. (Rep: Costa Rican lesbian MC. Jewish white bisexual woman MC. Jewish white bisexual woman author.)

Workplace Romance

  • Criminal Intentions series by Cole McCade (2018-2020 contemp m/m romatic suspense novels) This is a police procedural slow burn romance serial. McCade is truly masterful at building complex characters, at having slow organic reveals of them as a story goes along, at building sexual and romantic tension, and at showing small moments of intimacy. I loved the demigray ace representation and the slow burn romance across this series. (Rep: Bi Persian American Mizrahi Jewish man MC with PTSD. Gay demigray ace Korean American man MC with PTSD. Genderqueer/Two Spirit Lumbee secondary character. Aro Black Cubano American woman secondary character. Native AmeriBlAsian POC demibisexual queer trans man author.)
  • The Art of Three by Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae (2017 contemporary m/m/f romance novel) A beautiful polyamorous romance, and such a lovely story; so full of heart. I cannot measure how much I appreciate getting to read polyamorous romance that’s not erotic romance. I am incredibly glad that it exists in the world, and not only because it felt like a quiet cup of tea while cuddling on the couch with a loved one on a day I deeply needed that. (Bisexual white man MC. Bisexual Jewish white man MC. Jewish white woman MC. Queer white non-binary author. Queer white woman author)

YA Romance

  • Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz, (A) read by Amy Melissa Bentley (2019 YA contemporary m/f romance novel) Some of the best chronic illness & chronic pain rep I’ve ever read. So resonant with my own experience in so many ways, for the spoonie stuff & also just in its NY Jewishness. Also, a really lovely swoony m/f YA romance with a bisexual hero! I especially love the audio & highly recommend you read it that way. The performance is great & the feels are more inescapable that way, I think. (Rep: Jewish bisexual white heroine with arthritis. Jewish bisexual white hero with chronic illness. Jewish lesbian white woman author with chronic illness.)
  • Kissing Ezra Holtz (and Other Things I Did for Science) by Briana R Shrum (2019 YA contemporary m/f romance novel) I loved this enemies to lovers romance; I loved how queer and Jewish it was, and how much it engages with complex issues around imagining a future and being framed as a slut. The casual inclusion of trans and non-binary secondary characters made me especially happy. (Rep: Jewish Sephardic bisexual teen girl MC who I read as having ADHD. Jewish white teen boy love interest. Many white queer, trans and non-binary secondary characters. Jewish white queer woman author.)

Jewish Rep I Published in 2018-2019:

  • Nine of Swords, Reversed by Xan West (CWs here) (genderfluid/genderfluid romance novelette) This contemporary fantasy romance novelette centers two Jewish fat disabled genderfluid mages sorting out the issues in their D/s relationship. It is very much about the intersections of disability, gender, trauma and D/s, and while it definitely has some angst, it’s also rather cozy and heartwarming, in the ways the central characters treat each other and work to mend their relationship. (Rep: Older fat autistic Jewish white disabled queer genderfluid MC with arthritis and PTSD.  Fat Jewish white queer genderfluid love interest with chronic migraines, chronic back pain, PTSD and depression. Jewish white fat autistic disabled queer demiromantic demigraysexual stone butch genderqueer author with arthritis, chronic migraines, chronic back pain and PTSD.)
  • Their Troublesome Crush by Xan West (CWs here) (contemporary m/f romance novella with a trans man hero)** This cute foodie kinky polyamorous metamours to lovers romance centers a demiromantic autistic fat Jewish trans man named Ernest. Ernest is bouncy, caring, careful, and, well…earnest. Out of all my autistic characters so far, he masks the least. Ernest loves cooking, showtunes and service based submission and he’s writing a musical with his autistic BFF Judith. He spends much of the book trying to figure out if he has a crush on Nora and isn’t quite sure what that would mean, as he’s never been into a cis person before. The fat rep is mostly incidental, but you get glimpses of the way the characters fatness impacts their lives and perspectives woven through the book. (Rep: Fat autistic demiromantic pansexual queer Jewish white trans man MC with PTSD. Older queer fat disabled femme Jewish white cis woman love interest with PTSD and diabetes. Jewish white fat autistic disabled queer demiromantic demigraysexual stone butch genderqueer author with arthritis and PTSD.)
  • Eight Kinky Nights by Xan West (me! CWs here) (2019 contemporary polyamorous Chanukah f/f erotic romance novel) Angsty foodie best friends/roommates to lovers romance with kink lessons and a sex pact around keeping things casual. The fat representation is integrated into the story, and part of one of the MCs arcs is around setting boundaries in and recovering from her relationship with her fatphobic mother. (Rep: Jewish white autistic older gray ace queer fat femme woman MC with depression and PTSD. Jewish white autistic older pansexual fat stone butch woman MC with arthritis and PTSD. Jewish white autistic disabled fat queer demiromantic demigraysexual stone butch genderqueer author with arthritis and PTSD.)

On my TBR for 2020

Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction

Adult Romance

Speculative Fiction

 

 

4 thoughts on “Fave Jewish Rep in Romances I Read 2018-2019

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