ARC Review: Flying Without a Net by E. M. Ben Shaul


Dani Perez, a secular Israeli working as a software engineer in Boston, has never had trouble balancing his faith and his sexuality—until he meets Avi Levine, a gay Orthodox Jew and sign language interpreter. As they fall in love, Dani finds himself wanting Avi in his life but confused by Avi’s observance. Dani can’t understand how Avi reconciles what his religion demands with what his body desires. And although he wants to deny it, neither can Avi.

Despite the risk of losing Avi forever to a religious life that objects to their love, Dani supports him through the struggle to find an answer. Will they be able to start a life together despite religious ideology that conflicts with the relationship they are trying to build?

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Release Date: November 17th


So sweet and beautiful.  There’s really no other words to describe Flying Without a Net but sweet and beautiful and just.. everything!

You know that moment, when you have this premonition that a book will be “something” the moment you first hear of it? And then when you actually read it you find out that the book was not only to be something but turns out to be a gem? This is what Flying Without a Net was for me.

I loved Avi and Dani from the first page on. From the first time they meet I was enchanted by them and could only follow them all spellbound along on their journey. And what a ride it was. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no action in this story, it’s not fast-paced and filled with twists an turns. Quite the opposite, this one is a steady-flowing river, pulling you along and not letting you go.

There’s no one thing I can exactly pinpoint and say “that pulled me in”. I just fell in love with the complexity of the story. I loved the diverse cast of characters, the rich culture and traditions, I loved the chemistry between Avi and Dani and the slow development of their relationship. It was so, so beautiful to see them build a friendship and then fall in love. And I treasured how they navigated their relationship together.

I especially loved how Dani is so careful to not go past Avi’s boundaries. He respects them unconditionally and doesn’t act in any way to try to push Avi. Dani waits for Avi to signal that he’s ready and okay to take the next step. In a way this was so cute and felt innocent like teenagers who are in love for the first time although both MC’s are in their 30s.
Their first kiss legit had me swooning because it’s just so beautiful and *flails excitedly*.

I’m not a religious person, and usually I don’t read books that have a strong religious aspect because I’m worried they might feel preachy, but the religious part of Flying Without a Net is just so natural and, although a big part of the story, it’s never too much.

I really loved how this book dealt with navigating sexuality while being deeply religious. The story was so rich and vibrant with their culture and traditions and E.M. Ben Shaul handled each strand of this story perfectly to build this intricately woven, multifaceted blanket. A truly amazing story about love and religion that will stay with me forever. I loved, loved, loved it and highly recommend it. Undoubtedly one of  my favorite books this year.

PS: I HAVE TO MENTION THE COVER! I’ve been good the whole time but just look at it! It’s so gorgeous and fits the story perfectly, combining the religious-aspect and the rainbow for Avi’s sexuality.


About the Author:

E.M. Ben Shaul lives in many communities. An Orthodox Jew and writer of gay fiction, E.M. lives in the simultaneously gay-friendly and Jewish-friendly Boston area with her husband and twin daughters. A technical writer by day and freelance editor by nights and weekends, E.M. likes to knit, cook and coin neologisms. E.M. seeks to explore the seeming conflict between religious teachings and the heart’s desires.

Connect with author E.M. Ben Shaul at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at @embenshaul.

Genre: Contemporary Orientation: Gay Pairing: M/M Publisher: Interlude Press Review Tag: Friends to Lovers Tag: Own-Voices Tag: Religion

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