Reviews for Beach read

Publishers Weekly
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Henry (Hello Girls) hits all the right notes with this clever, compassionate contemporary romance. January Andrews, a 29-year-old romance author, has always believed in happily-ever-after. Then her father dies and she inherits his secret lake house in North Bear Shores, Mich., and discovers his long-standing extramarital affair. Broke and suffering from writer’s block, January’s moves into the “lakeside cottage brimming with charm and proof your father was an asshole and your life has been a lie.” Her new next-door neighbor is Augustus Everett, the tortured darling of the literary fiction world. Their contentious front-porch chats lead them to construct a challenge: they’ll each spend the summer writing a novel in the other’s genre, giving one another tutorials in their respective approaches and going on research trips together. Whoever finishes and sells their book first, wins. January’s struggle to reconcile her inherent optimism with the recent upheaval in her life is thoroughly convincing and handled with empathy. Her and Augustus’s path from writing partners to friends to lovers is a constant delight and the inevitable third act communication issues are deeply rooted in the characters’ psychology, making them believable and fresh. Readers are sure to fall hard for this meta, heartfelt take on the romance genre. Agent: Taylor Haggerty, Root Literary. (May)


Library Journal
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Former college rivals January Andrews and Augustus "Gus" Everett find themselves living in neighboring lake houses, both struggling to write the fiction they are known for. As they come to a tentative friendship sparkling with renewed sexual tension, January and Gus challenge each other to write in the other's style. January, known for her light and happy romantic fiction, finds solace in using her anger and sadness about her father's recent betrayal and death to pen a dark, sad story, but also finds her faith in happily-ever-afters renewed as she falls for Gus. VERDICT A deceptively cheery cover hides a delicious and thought-provoking story beautifully narrated by Julia Whelan, recommended for those who also enjoyed Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes or You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle. Whelan's voice brings the thrumming emotion and attraction between January and Max alive, making the reader wait with bated breath for their next interaction.—Elizabeth Gabriel, Milwaukee P.L.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Two struggling authors spend the summer writing and falling in love in a quaint beach town. January Andrews has just arrived in the small town of North Bear Shores with some serious baggage. Her father has been dead for a year, but she still hasn’t come to terms with what she found out at his funeral—he had been cheating on her mother for years. January plans to spend the summer cleaning out and selling the house her father and “That Woman” lived in together. But she’s also a down-on-her-luck author facing writer’s block, and she no longer believes in the happily-ever-after she’s made the benchmark of her work. Her steadily dwindling bank account, though, is a daily reminder that she must sell her next book, and fast. Serendipitously, she discovers that her new next-door neighbor is Augustus Everett, the darling of the literary fiction set and her former college rival/crush. Gus also happens to be struggling with his next book (and some serious trauma that unfolds throughout the novel). Though the two get off to a rocky start, they soon make a bet: Gus will try to write a romance novel, and January will attempt “bleak literary fiction.” They spend the summer teaching each other the art of their own genres—January takes Gus on a romantic outing to the local carnival; Gus takes January to the burned-down remains of a former cult—and they both process their own grief, loss, and trauma through this experiment. There are more than enough steamy scenes to sustain the slow-burn romance, and smart commentary on the placement and purpose of “women’s fiction” joins with crucial conversations about mental health to add multiple intriguing layers to the plot. A heartfelt look at taking second chances, in life and in love. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

While romance author January Andrews is staying, temporarily, at her recently deceased father’s secret beach house, she’s stunned to realize that her neighbor is Augustus Everett, her graduate school nemesis turned hotshot author of bleak literary fiction. Although she has a fast-approaching deadline, January is struggling to write a new "happily ever after" story when her own heart is broken. Augustus is in research mode for his next book, interviewing people about a suicide cult. One night, the two make a deal to each write the next book in the other’s genre. To prepare, Augustus will bring January along for his research, and she’ll take him on outings that inspire romance. They find pleasure in this work and even more in each other. But when their books are finished, and summer is over, will their story end, too, or is this only the beginning? Though a bit uneven, this will still sweep readers off their feet. January’s first-person narration is suitably poetic and effervescent, the small-town beach setting is charming, and the romance is achingly swoony.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

While romance author January Andrews is staying, temporarily, at her recently deceased father’s secret beach house, she’s stunned to realize that her neighbor is Augustus Everett, her graduate school nemesis turned hotshot author of bleak literary fiction. Although she has a fast-approaching deadline, January is struggling to write a new "happily ever after" story when her own heart is broken. Augustus is in research mode for his next book, interviewing people about a suicide cult. One night, the two make a deal to each write the next book in the other’s genre. To prepare, Augustus will bring January along for his research, and she’ll take him on outings that inspire romance. They find pleasure in this work and even more in each other. But when their books are finished, and summer is over, will their story end, too, or is this only the beginning? Though a bit uneven, this will still sweep readers off their feet. January’s first-person narration is suitably poetic and effervescent, the small-town beach setting is charming, and the romance is achingly swoony.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Two struggling authors spend the summer writing and falling in love in a quaint beach town.January Andrews has just arrived in the small town of North Bear Shores with some serious baggage. Her father has been dead for a year, but she still hasnt come to terms with what she found out at his funeralhe had been cheating on her mother for years. January plans to spend the summer cleaning out and selling the house her father and That Woman lived in together. But shes also a down-on-her-luck author facing writers block, and she no longer believes in the happily-ever-after shes made the benchmark of her work. Her steadily dwindling bank account, though, is a daily reminder that she must sell her next book, and fast. Serendipitously, she discovers that her new next-door neighbor is Augustus Everett, the darling of the literary fiction set and her former college rival/crush. Gus also happens to be struggling with his next book (and some serious trauma that unfolds throughout the novel). Though the two get off to a rocky start, they soon make a bet: Gus will try to write a romance novel, and January will attempt bleak literary fiction. They spend the summer teaching each other the art of their own genresJanuary takes Gus on a romantic outing to the local carnival; Gus takes January to the burned-down remains of a former cultand they both process their own grief, loss, and trauma through this experiment. There are more than enough steamy scenes to sustain the slow-burn romance, and smart commentary on the placement and purpose of womens fiction joins with crucial conversations about mental health to add multiple intriguing layers to the plot.A heartfelt look at taking second chances, in life and in love. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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