A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.
They’re polar opposites.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.
Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.
We need to talk about marketing in the book world.
Between the bright, illustrated cover and the media packages for Beach Read hyping how much of a “fun”, “upbeat” summer romance this is, many readers are going to be led astray here.
They’re going to get 75% into the book and think to themselves, “This entire story is set in a beach house and the one time these two assholes actually go swimming is in a pool?!”
Seriously, I think they only went down to the beach together twice in this entire book, so that cover with two people casually reclining on towels and seemingly ignoring each other is a real stretch.
From the blurb, you might assume that this is about rivals pitted against each other, filled with one-upmanship and witty banter. And yes, I did laugh-out-loud several times while reading this, but for the most part, this isn’t what I think of when I think of fluffy rom-coms.
Because a lot of the book is spent on the main characters’ researching a notorious cult from their local area. The head messiah of which locked all his followers into trailers and then burned them to death.
Aside from that I had some issues with the male lead here. He went from aloof and quasi-grouchy in the beginning to over-the-top cheesy by the end. I also didn’t appreciate the fact that once their relationship evolved from friendly into something more he started making all the female lead’s decisions for her.
You know, doing that man thing where they try to save you from the world.
“Don’t come with me, you’ll get cold and wet.”
“I didn’t invite you because I didn’t know if you’d have fun.”
“Let me carry that heavy bag for you.”
To me, there’s nothing chivalrous about a guy suddenly assuming that I can no longer make my own goddamn decisions just because I let his penis near me.
All this said, I could be in a shitty mood because the world is ending, so take this review with a grain of salt.