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.
**Disclaimer** I received this book from the publisher/NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. The following is a spoiler-free and honest recap of my thoughts and reactions.
This book surprised me in so many ways, and I could not get enough of it. It was the first book in a very long time (more than a year) that I read all in one sitting, and I stayed up until almost 3 am finishing it! It gave me allllllll the feels and includes some really *real* topics as well as the usual lighter fare of a contemporary romance. I highly recommend it.
January (how great is that name, by the way?) and Gus were each developed so well as their own character, and then the combination of them together was so fun to read and watch unfold. I usually love dual perspectives for a romance, but this one is all from January’s perspective, and I actually liked that more. It gave some suspense and surprise as to who exactly Gus was and what his motivations were. I like how these characters were like yin and yang, but not in overt and therefore unrealistic ways. Just in a subtle way of how they view the world, formed very much by how they grew up and were treated in their relationships with their parents. I also love that the fundamental message of this story is one of hope. Sure, we can go through bad things, and those bad things might knock us down for a while, but in the end, we can get up, and we’re likely to find a hand reaching out to help us if we just look for it.
This book also has all the other things I love best in a contemporary romance: interesting and realistic side characters who force the main characters to be “real,” wonderful and snarky dialogue, and a plot that’s interesting. I love that they were both writers and we got to see into their daily habits and routines as writers, the struggle with writer’s block, and just how they approached their work. Again, they were both so different, but in the end, not as different as they may have seemed on the surface. I loved the bet and watching them try to write like the other.
Overall, I just want to say: read this book. It’s really great.