When I started work here at my real job, I was fortunate enough to be hired along with Jess. We were trained together, and assigned neighboring cubicles—on the other side of the office from the rest of our co-workers. We also didn’t get log-in information for three days, so we spent nearly a week just sitting around my cubicle and chatting.
We were eventually moved closer to our co-workers, but it meant we were no longer neighbors. Still, on a big Release Day, we’d spend most of the day comparing notes via email and IM. We got some odd looks for giggling out loud at Molly Harper’s Jane Jameson series, and collected a few more strange looks when Chloe Neill’s newest plot twists sent us running to the other’s cubicle to cry or howl in frustration or do a little jig of delight. Soon after that, Jess left the company to go back to school, and so we traded book lists so we’d still be able to keep our reading companionship intact, and swore that when the newest Chicagoland Vampires book came out, we would protect the other from spoilers and support each other through whatever drama and heartache was to come.
About a month ago, I learned that Jess had passed away from cancer. While the news broke my heart, I am so incredibly grateful for the time and the laughs and the books we were able to share. I have my reading assignments from her, and I’m still yelling at the pages, and talking to her. With the newest Chicagoland Vampires book coming out today, I’ve been thinking a lot about her and missing her wisdom and her laugh, and her willingness to punch villains out of righteous anger. While I don’t think I’m ready to read this new book alone, I just wanted to say: Cherish your reading companions, and all those who read with you. Consider all these books recommendations from Jess, and from me, and I hope you can share them with your reading companions, too.