Recommended Age: 17+
Genres: Romance, Comedy
Tags: Competition, Diversity, Romance
- Mature sexuality: Multiple lightly detailed sex scenes, as well as allusions to adultery and nudity.
- Mature language: Some swearing, including multiple F bombs.
- Mild violence: Allusions to physical and emotional abuse.
Two writers find themselves living next to each other for the summer, and while it’s been years since their college rivalry the competition has not died. January is a romance writer with a firm belief in happy endings, but her perspective has shifted since her father’s death. Augustus is a serious literary fiction writer with a tendency towards morbid endings. Neither are willing to admit their genre is less superior despite both struggling with writers’ block.
So they make a deal. They’ll swap genres for the summer, and even train each other in the art of thinking inside a romantic comedy or a tragic thriller. Whoever sells their book first gets an endorsement from the other, and lifetime bragging rights. But as they teach each other their own writing style, they discover that maybe a rivalry isn’t necessary for the plot after all. And maybe happily ever afters can come in unexpected ways.
“I missed feeling that deep curiosity about people, that spark of excitement when you realized you had something in common or admiration when you uncovered a hidden talent or quality.”
Quirky romances can have some fun dialogue, and this one is about two writers who are very clearly well read, well spoken, and quick-witted. This light-hearted summer love is the perfect book for beach days, despite the fact that the characters spend very little time actually on the beach. There are some tense interactions, which spur the rivalry between the two writers as they both work through a difficult year and seek a much needed summer break. Their writing styles are so different, but it’s gratifying to see them begin to realize how much they have in common. This book brings up some great conversations about the importance of having an open mind and being willing to learn and adjust your perspective.
Gus and January’s interactions are absolutely delightful. The quick witty banter and quirky humor kept me smiling through the whole thing. Reading about writers’ block can sometimes be stressful for writers but these characters are honestly so relatable. There are so many noteworthy quotes and unique descriptions.
January has an almost childlike perspective in the way that she describes things, like everything is the beginning of an amazing adventure. She’s very aware of the stigma with writing romance, and has to fight to be taken seriously as a published author. She makes some extremely valid points about sexism and discrimination in the writing world. She’s had a hard year, and through her process of internalizing the unexpected turn of events, we see how finding a happy ending in every story has shaped her. Gus writes about horrifying situations, tragedy, and thought provoking ideals. What initially seems stuffy gradually turns into therapeutic as we get to know him better. He’s so amazed by January and the way she views the world, like the very fact that she can achieve her perspective is magic.
The romance feels so genuine, and reminds me of every breathtaking moment of falling in love. There are so many little details that make up a dating process, especially when it’s in the very first stages of noticing and feeling everything. This is a beautiful romance of broken people working through grief and finding the good in life.
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