Review: Out On A Limb by Hannah Bonam-Young

by Theja Pk
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paperback of out on a limb by Hannah bonam-young laying on top of open book

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Last updated on February 7th, 2024

In this Out on a Limb review, we’re going to take a look at Hannah Bonam-Young’s latest novel – a sweet and tenderhearted story about unexpected love and the strength of living with a disability.

With her famous trifecta of quick wit, authentic characters, and charming dialogues, Hannah delivers a story that is both eye-opening and inspiring.

I can tell how much of Hannah’s heart is in this novel. With her personal experience of a limb disability, getting to know Win felt like getting to know Hannah herself. I enjoyed seeing the world through her eyes and learning about how she has grown while navigating the struggles that come with being different.

Out On A Limb – Hannah Bonam-Young

4 out of 5
illustrated book cover of out on a limb by Hannah bonam-young featuring a couple with limb disabilities standing by the shore

GENRE: Romantic comedy, Politics
PUB DATE: July 11, 2023
TROPE: friends to lovers, pregnancy
TWs: see section below (spoilers)

A sweet and tenderhearted story about unexpected love and the strength of living with a disability. With her famous trifecta of quick wit, authentic characters, and charming dialogues, Hannah delivers a story that is both eye-opening and inspiring.

Characters
4 out of 5
Plot
4 out of 5
Writing
4 out of 5
Overall Enjoyment
4 out of 5

Pros

witty, hilarious dialogues

eye-opening themes

authentic, engaging characters

emotional, poignant writing

positive messages from the book

Cons

repetitive inner monologues

slow pacing in some parts

found some of Win's actions quite immature

Trigger warnings

brief discussion of abortion (pro-choice stance, not performed), ableism in reference to a limb difference, verbally abusive ex-partner (no reappearance), death of a parent (past, off-page), depression and suicide (past, off-page), cancer (past, not reoccurring), amputation (referenced, past)

Table of contents

Synopsis

Winnifred “Win” McNulty has always been wildly independent. Not one to be coddled for her limb difference, Win has spent most of her life trying to prove that she can do it all on her own. And, with some minor adjustments, she’s done just fine.

That is until she has a one-night stand with the incredibly charming Bo, a perfect stranger. And that one night changes everything.

While Bo is surprisingly elated to step up to the plate, Win finds herself unsure of whether she can handle this new challenge on her own or if she’ll need a helping hand.

Together, Win and Bo decide to get to know one another as friends and nothing more. But, as they both should know by now, life rarely goes according to plan.

Characters

You know that friend who effortlessly joins in on your lie, even though they have no idea what you’re talking about or had any heads up about it? That’s Win and Bo. I loved their witty chemistry with each other, and their progression from friends to lovers felt natural, albeit a bit slow.

Bo

Robert, AKA Bo, is your typical golden retriever/cinnamon roll hero. He’s sweet, supportive, and a natural caretaker to Win’s stubborn, independent side.

“I love you, Win. I love you so much it makes me feel like I’ve hated everything else in my life up until now.”

My heart ached for his backstory, and I wanted to reach into the pages and hug him. But it made him out to be a very endearing and lovable character.

Win

Winnifred, also known as Win (or Fred, according to Bo), is a witty and self-reliant woman caught up in the daily slump of life. However, when she finds out she’s pregnant, she is forced to wake up and find a new purpose.

I liked being with her on her journey as life forced her to become more aware and intentional.

“I’m so tired of men treating me like I’m delicate because of my hand. I’m not breakable. I’m definitely not broken. Use me. Let me drive you to the point where you’d do unspeakable things. Let me have that power over you. I’m capable of it.”

However, I found her repetitive inner monologues tiresome. Although understandable given her past abusive relationship, her constant self-gaslighting became tedious quickly.

I also disagreed with some of her actions in the book, which I found somewhat immature, even though I understood they were intended for humor.

Fun fact: I started reading this book on Win’s due date – July 24th.

Plot

Disability is a strong theme throughout the novel. I admire the messages put forth by Hannah Bonam-Young, especially that disability doesn’t make you any less worthy of love.

She gives an intimate peak into the small daily struggles a person with a limb disability would go through, like hiding it in pictures and being self-conscious about it during sex. It’s eye-opening and gives you a whole new level of understanding about people.

Lastly, to my fellow disabled folks of all shapes, sizes, abilities, and understandings—we deserve love too. Most of all, we are worthy of it. But be sure to give it to yourself first.

The book is a slow burn. From the one-night stand at the beginning, nothing romantic happens again until the end. While this allowed for a nice friendship to be built, every time I thought they would admit to their feelings, nothing happened, and I kept getting disappointed.

It would have been nice to see Bo’s POV to see more of the pining that would have made this slow burn a bit more believable. 

The epilogue put a huge smile on my face because Hannah always writes the sweetest epilogues. Even though I was a bit disappointed at not seeing the birthing process after all the pregnancy build-up, seeing Bo as a loving girl dad made up for it. 

Writing

The author’s note at the beginning of the book was touching and set the tone for the rest of the story. It’s easy to tell how personal this is to Hannah, and I appreciated getting to know her better through Winnifred.

Hannah’s writing is poignant and emotional. Every time I read her books, I highlight about half of it. Her witty dialogues, the wisdom in her words, and her sharp metaphors are delightful to read. And the sarcastic humor infused in her writing balances out the heavy issues nicely.

One of my favorite lines from her book is: “The sky is a hazy blue with soft, wispy clouds, as if a painter dried their brush against the horizon.”

Best Quotes

  • You are my soul’s purpose, Win. To know you, to love you, to build a family with you, to spend every day taking care of you, to watch you shine and get all the good things you deserve out of this life.
  • Isn’t that all we ever want? To be seen and heard? Validated, even when we’re not able to ask for it.
  • You’re perfect, Win,” Bo says, as easily as breathing. “Of course I’d want them to have every part of you.

“You can’t change anything by hiding it. You’ll just look back on memories and realise you tried to erase yourself. And how sad that would be.”

  • I think assholes like Jack would take anyone as kind as you and try to twist them into something ugly. That’s what people like him do. It isn’t your fault you tried to see the best in him. Or that you didn’t want to be alone. You’ve gotta forgive yourself for that.
  • Because when you love someone this much, when you’ve seen their hurt and their heart and you recognise them as your own—you’re left with no choice but to give yourself over to it.

Conclusion

Out on a Limb is a heartfelt story about the resilience of living with a disability and trusting in love.

Although the repetitive inner monologue and slow pacing may be a drawback, Hannah’s authenticity shines through her protagonist, making for an engaging and wonderful read.

This story is a refreshing and much-needed reminder that everyone deserves their own happily ever after. It is one of the most emotional and eye-opening books I have read in 2023.

Hannah has become one of my latest auto-buy authors. She writes relatable characters with great humor and steamy scenes.

I have read two of her other books, and both of them were 5-star reads. So if you’re looking for some steamy, feel-good romances, check out her other titles below.

THE NEXT SERIES:
Book 1: Next of Kin – forced proximity, found family
Book 2: Next to You – friends to lovers, HGTV action

Enjoyed this Out On A Limb review? Then be sure to add Hannah’s latest novel to your TBR. And if you have already read this book and have some thoughts to share, drop them in the comments below. I would love to hear them!

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