Cover Image: The Roughest Draft

The Roughest Draft

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Member Reviews

I compulsively read this book in two sittings. This is the story of a literary duo who became famous writing the next best novel and they stopped working. Thanks to their publisher they are forced to write another book and revisit the scene of how their relationship broke apart. This book reminded me of People We Meet on Vacation and Beach Read. This book is a must-read.
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Thank you to Berkeley for an advance copy of this book! All opinions are my own.

This book was a lot of fun! I never read the pair’s young adult titles but the synopsis of this one intrigued me. My only real complaint is that it took a while for me to get invested in this story and really care about the characters.  I also wished that there were more flashbacks to show their past relationship. Once the story picked up, the book flew and I could not wait to see what happened next.
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They wrote a bestselling book together and then refused to speak for the next three years. This is what we know when The Roughest Draft opens. Katrina and Nathan are forced to come back together to write the third book they’re under contract for and slowly the story of what forced them apart begins to reveal itself. Told in past and present timelines, from both Katrina and Nathan’s perspectives, this book features love and the idea of love written through beautiful, smart prose. 

I love a smart romance novel and this one is definitely that. The writing itself is beautiful, each sentence felt like it was carefully crafted, and the story itself reminded me of People We Meet on Vacation - you know something big happened to rock the foundation of their relationship, but it takes awhile to learn exactly what it was. By the time the big reveal finally happens, it isn’t quite surprising because the authors dropped clues throughout. 

Both characters, though flawed, were very likeable and I loved getting to hear about the relationship from both sides. 

This book will be talked about on the Reading Through Life Podcast, episode 17, out December 8th.
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Is there anything that gets book lovers attention faster than a book about the bookish world? Featuring two estranged co-writers who are pressured into fulfilling the remaining book on their contract, the chemistry between Katrina and Nathan was so fun- both their chemistry as co-writers and their romantic chemistry. They deeply understand each other, despite the issue that drove them apart. It's always fun to read about the writing and publishing process, and there is plenty of that in here as well as the reconnection between Nathan and Katrina.
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This book is so beautifully written, it’s no wonder I couldn’t stop thinking about it! I hadn’t even noticed that it was written by a couple until the ending when I read the “About The Author” but that makes it all the more genuine. Between the secret messages hidden in Kat and Nathan’s writing, the turmoil that still continues to plague both of their thoughts, and the stunning chemistry that sparks between the two of them, I adored this book!
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Four years ago their perfect writing partnership imploded, leaving both Katrina and Nathan struggling to move forward.  Katrina has stopped writing all-together and Nathan is struggling to option his next book.  When the pair is thrust together to write a book, they begrudgingly hole up together in Florida to finish out their publishing contract with hopes of never seeing each other again.  But when faced with their past, they must decide whether or not they are going to push forward to mend their broken hearts.

The Roughest Draft was very different than I expected.  As a heavier romance, it had a lot of angst and longing.  In similar vain to People We Meet on Vacation, the book skirts back and forth between the past and present slowly revealing what happened between the characters four years ago to make them stop speaking.  It is a super sensual slow burn second-chance romance. While the book had a slower start for me, the payoff was worth it, especially as their previous book excerpts were woven into the story to give an element of life imitating art.  

Both Katrina and Nathan are incredibly interesting characters, unlike so many books I've read lately.  There is excellent mental health rep (anxiety, depression, therapy), which I truly appreciated.  Katrina is highly emotional.  She feels big and is afraid of disappointing people.  Nathan was her complete opposite and despite the circumstances of his love for Katrina, he was a stand-up guy in a difficult situation.  I loved how Katrina pushed Nathan hard to live life in the real world, instead of burrowing behind his words, choosing to live through fiction.  

The Roughest Draft was a unique premise, which really made me think about relationships (both healthy and unhealthy) and how all decisions have ramifications that can ripple your entire life.  

Thanks to Berkley for the advanced copy of the book.
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Just a few years ago, Katrina Freeling and Nathan Van Huysen were cowriting the hottest new book that would top the bestseller lists. Now, they no longer speak and they'd both like to keep it that way. Unfortunately, they have one more book in their contract and they both have personal reasons to make it happen. They decide to hole up in the Florida house they wrote their first book in but it won't be easy.

I'm a big fan of this duo's YA books so I was very excited to read their first adult novel. Sadly it was a bit of a miss for me.

- a look into the writing process
- a book within a book
- art mimicking life

- a lot of lead up to a very small reveal
- confusing past and present chapters
- felt no connection to either character
- problems that could be easily resolved with honesty

While this book wasn't for me, there were a lot of beautiful moments and I bet many people will really love it.

Thank you Berkley and Netgalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

CW: infidelity
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Katrina and Nathan are coauthors of an appraised fiction novel, but they are no longer on speaker terms. Unfortunately, they need to fulfill their contract of another book. After 4 years, they reconnect; Nathan for a boost in his writing and publishing adventures, Katrina to appease her boyfriend/book agent (yes, one in the same). Together, Nathan and Katrina have to tackle the feelings that broke them and try to develop a workable novel to keep their lives intact and complete the contract. Yet, feelings still linger… even four years later. And they are coming out in the pages of the novel they are trying to write. 

I loved this book from the start. I think it was well written and engaging. Nathan and Katrina had understandable feelings of frustration, hurt, and loathing. Many people, in reviews, compared the book to Emily Henry’s “Beach Read.” Although, I love Emily Henry’s book and think this is a huge compliment, the more I read this book, the more it took off on its own story. At first, I thought the same thing, but as I dove deeper into the characters and their pasts, I found myself enjoy it more and more and could not comparing it to another author’s story because this one stood on its own. Nathan and Katrina have very real, complex feelings that exude from the pages. The writing is wonderful in this novel and it makes me want to check out the author’s YA books. 

Thanks Berkley Publishing Group and Netgalley for giving the opportunity to access this ARC. This has been one of the best contemporary romance novels I have read in 2021. I have already told several of my fellow librarians about it and I think it might be a good book club read next year after its release.
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I really wanted to love this book but, sadly it did not work for me. I enjoyed the insights into the writing process but overall, for me, there was not enough of a plot or chemistry to hold it together. (2.5 stars)

From early reviews, others have loved this one so, please don’t be swayed by my opinion alone.
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Thank you NetGalley for sending this arc for an honest review! 

The chemistry between the two main charcaters absolutely burned my soul. It was so incredible watching the two charcaters put all their feelings through pages, it truly was a different turn of romances compared to most books. The intensity of twos desires was so effective and captivating that u could simply not take my eyes of this book.
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Wow I finished this book in a single sitting that’s how good it is. I have always loved books that are about books. Also, it has similar vibes as Beach Read and People we meet on vacation by Emily Henry; and I have loved them too so obviously it has to be my new favourite. I really liked the writing, the pace, the characters, the angst, the chemistry, the sweeping romance and the way author heavily focuses on individual character growth and development!! 
Especially Katrina, I was so happy and proud of how far she has come in terms of drawing boundaries, knowing what’s right and wrong for her, getting after what’s right and most importantly working on her anxiety; instead of shying away and making a hellhole of what ifs, she dares to at least give her all. 
Similarly, Nathan too, he is a man of few words and that being it’s quite difficult for him to let the feelings being known by communicating about them; instead of penning them down, I empathise with him and was super proud like a mama when he decides to let it go and started communicating about them with Katrina instead of channelling them via fictional world and characters. 
So, towards the end I might have shed some happy tears.. 
Henceforth, quite an enjoyable read. I loved every second of being immersed in this world, with the characters, and that includes my adorable Harriet too.
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Perfect for fans of Emily Henry and Taylor Jenkins Reid, this literary focused romance does not disappoint. Former co-authors Katrina and Nathan have been estranged since the stunning success of their last book 3 years ago. The duo famously split for reasons unknown to the public with Nathan striking out on his own and Katrina retiring from writing. Due to forces beyond their control, the two find themselves pushed back together to fulfill their publisher's contract for one more book. Past resentments, feelings and passion simmer just below the surface and threaten to overwhelm as they begin writing their new novel during a writer's retreat in Florida. Alternating with flashbacks to the past and present and told from both perspectives, this love story is a slow sweet burn. I loved the pacing of the novel, the vulnerability of the characters and the exploration of the writing + creative process. Thank you so much to Berkley Publishing and Netgalley for my copy of this one!
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Wow, this book was terrific! I loved it so much. It reminded me of an Emily Henry novel. The characters were really interesting and I liked the alternating points of view s owe could get in both their heads.
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Former co-writers, Katrina & Nathan, hate each other. After a massive falling out they were never able to reach the same level of success that they had together. In order to make in the writing world they must try and put the past hurt aside.

Wow this book was an emotional rollercoaster. I loved how the writing process was a tool to repair the past. Also, they fact that this was co-written by a man and woman team made it that much more authentic and real. This one packs a punch!
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This is a Romance. This is a romance between two writers that has a lot between them. This book as several flashbacks through out it. I have to say I did not like how the flashbacks was put in. It was hard for me to go from present day where they are writing a book together, and then go to past where they where writing their first book together. The setting was the same and they where doing they same thing, so it was hard to keep the two timelines apart. I love the present timeline, but I really did not like the flashbacks. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (Berkley) or author (Emily Wibberley) via NetGalley, so I can give an honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you to them for that. This book is schedule to be release on January 25-2022.
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3.75 ⭐️ / 5
🌶🌶    / 5 

This may well turn out to be one of my favorite books of 2022!

The Roughest Draft is the story of co-authors and best friends Katrina and Nathan. They have a partnership many would dream of but after their second book is published, the two have a falling out. 3 years laters Nathan is writing on his own and Katrina has retired. But fate, or more accurately a publishing contract and pushy fiancé (Chris is gross 🤮) bring these two back together to write a third book. They have a lot to unpack from their shared history but underneath it all, the magic of their partnership still exists. 

One of the best things about this book is the writing. The prose is masterful and direct. At times Katrina and Nathan are are trying to cut each other down than they become intimately vulnerable because they were once each other’s safe space. And the authors draw the reader right into each scene with them. I also like that it’s written in Dual POV so we get insight to both characters. 

This is a story within a story. Both of these characters feel so deeply but have trouble expressing it except in their writing. It was funny when reading Katrina’s narration about fans searching their last book for clues into their breakup, I became aware that I myself was searching this book for insight into its co-authors. 

Also, I think as readers we tend to forget how hard authors work to create the best story. I appreciated the look behind the curtain through Katrina and Nathan. Not just their writing process but the pressure they felt from rumors and speculations into their personal lives. 

The conflict felt underwhelming to me. I like that the authors pursued something deeper than physical infidelity and I can even understand why Katrina and Nathan’s feelings were enough to fracture their relationship. However, the climax in the flashback scene fell flat without a big confrontation. Katrina’s struggle with her writing was especially relatable. It highlights the important but sometimes overlooked fear that many of contend with: the fear of failure. But it was a hard to believe that a single trip to the beach was enough to move her past her fears. 

Still, this book is engaging. It has a good pace and balance between the flashbacks and present day. It’s easy to fall in love with Katrina and Nathan’s relationship. Everything is in this book is just dialed down. Don’t go in expecting a sweeping, dramatic romance. It feels more like a story of love sneaking in. It’s like the ocean on a clear day - powerful current but calm and soothing. It was a pleasure to read!

Tropes: friends to enemies to lovers, soulmates/ meant to be, forced proximity, second-chance romance
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Katrina Freeling and Nathan Van Huysen were co-authors on a widely acclaimed book, but after the writing was done, they ended their partnership on bad terms, for reasons neither would divulge to the public. They haven't spoken since, and never planned to, except they have one final book due on contract. When they finally reunite to write their final book, they have to face the past and figure out the future.

This was an emotional book. Both Katrina and Nathan felt a lot of pain regarding their past with each other, their feelings on love, fear of failing, and fear of the future. The author did a great job at showing how their feelings kept them trapped and stuck not knowing how to move forward. The relationship between the two was so deep, and they fought their feeling for a long time.

I really liked the back and forth perspectives of Katrina and Nathan, as well as the jumps back in time. It was nice being inside both of their heads and knowing how the other was perceiving their actions. At times I felt too aware that I was reading something written by an author, if that makes sense. It was almost too meta. That's the only negative, because I really liked the story otherwise.
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**Review will be published January 23rd, 2022 on my blog/Instagram/Goodreads**


I find myself having a hard time writing this review. Even though I really enjoyed this book. From the get-go I wanted to know what happened between Katrina and Nathan. The slow unveiling of their history and magnetism pulled me in.

This book isn’t ooey-gooey romantic. No fluff, no adorableness, nothing of the sort. Fair warning because I was expecting something with a bit more of any of those listed above. It’s deep and intricate. It felt very adult (not in an explicit sense, but the context). Things really played out very real world. I found that I was thinking often on these kinds of situations and how the nuances of life can create breaking points and new connections.

Nathan and Katrina could have definitely used a sit down, drag out conversation (which admittedly, would have severely shortened the book). The way they expressed themselves through writing was intense. And that pinnacle moment where things were at last said pulled at my soul. Two people who had to fight for themselves as individuals and together. The title is very apt and the story inside far exceeds the idea of the roughest draft.

A bit heavy, but a hard won happily ever after. I loved getting a chance to read this duo’s first adult romance and look forward to what they write next. I didn’t want to speed read this at all because every single word seemed to matter. Every paragraph played into the novel. The engrossing nature had me finishing it in a day.

Overall audience notes:
- Contemporary Romance
- Language: some strong
- Romance: one brief/vague open door
- Trigger/Content Warnings: gaslighting, brief cheating (an unreturned kiss), depictions of anxiety, divorce
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“Sometimes processing emotions is easier on the page.”
— 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙍𝙤𝙪𝙜𝙝𝙚𝙨𝙩 𝘿𝙧𝙖𝙛𝙩, Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka 

This book, y’all. It’s taken me a couple days to really collect my thoughts, and I’m still not entirely sure I’ll be able to do it justice, but I’m sure going to try.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a book speak directly to my soul as much as this one did. Emily and Austin are insanely talented writers; that much has always been evident to those of us who have fallen in love with their young adult work. But this book. 𝑻𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒃𝒐𝒐𝒌. This book felt like a love letter to writers everywhere. Emily and Austin’s way of telling us, “We see you. We know you. You’re not alone.”

Katrina and Nathan are my favorite kinds of characters. I can identify with Katrina’s fear, and I can identify with Nathan’s need for recognition.

Apart, these two are listless, floating through their lives. Katrina is *comfortable* in her relationship, content to never put words to paper for the masses to consume again. All Nathan wants is the opposite of that, to write books that resonate with people. What they don’t realize is the thing they’re each missing is each other.

This slow burn romance was so exquisitely crafted that you don’t find yourself wishing for more. What’s more, the romance almost took a backseat to the examination of the inner most thoughts and feelings of writers everywhere, and I loved every. single. second.

The dual POV, timeline jumps, and their first ever villain made this the perfect recipe for yet another #Wibbroka best seller. Their first crack at an adult novel was a resounding success, and I’m so excited for Emily and Austin.
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Thanks for the early look for collection development. I was expecting a rom com, but it's not an uplifting tale, as the professional reviews also indicate. Will try something else, as Berkley publishes a lot of my favorite books!
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