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.
This story got a lot of attention this summer. I often put of reading books that have a lot of hype because I will inevitably go in with my expectations set too high. When I started reading, I thought maybe I didn’t wait long enough. (Usually it’s more than a year.) Not because I wasn’t liking the story, but I wasn’t sure about the pacing. But I was wrong, this story is wonderful.
There are so many beautiful moments between January and Augustus (and don’t you just love their names?). Yet it wasn’t all roses and songbirds. Both parties went into this friendship with caution…lots and lots of caution. This is actually a reconnection, these two have a past. And I love how that part is written. That awkward realization that you know someone, but not being sure if they remember you. Acting like you don’t know them because you don’t want to look like a fool if they dismiss you. Really, the author got that all so spot on.
Once these two open up about their past and start a tentative friendship, things take off. Their notes and encouragement to one another, the inside jokes and support, all of it is beautiful. Even while their feelings are growing and deepening, you know there is still so much damage deep in their souls and wonder if they can truly find peace within themselves in order to make any sort of long term relationship work.
I love that both characters are authors. They both have different processes and drastically different genres, but they’re willing to learn from each other. Being a romance writer, January certainly knows the traps and downfalls of new relationships. Doesn’t stop her from falling into those traps. This story truly shows that people love in different ways. It doesn’t mean one way is better than another, but maybe you’re reading cue incorrectly if you don’t fully understand a person yet.
I’m glad I didn’t put off reading this book any longer than I did. It gave me all the feels; from hollowing out my stomach in dread, butterflies of joy, and all of it in the middle.