Member Reviews

✨ Review ✨ We Could Be So Good by Cat Sebastian

Read this if you like:
⭕️ great banter
⭕️ m/m friends to lovers
⭕️ 1950s NYC
⭕️ journalists at work


I loved this book so much -- I could barely put it down. I loved the friendship between the two main characters and the ways that they navigated their friends, families, and workplace in NYC.

Nick Russo, a child of Italian immigrant families, and Andy Fleming, a wealthy child of the owner of a newspaper, come together in the newsroom. Nick takes Andy, who's honestly a bumbling mess that keeps losing his keys, gets his tie caught in a file cabinet, etc. etc., under his wing. The two develop a strong friendship, but neither can deny the attraction they have for each other.

This super smartly tackles the climate of 1950s NYC where queerness was no longer invisible but it still carried with it many dangers. Sebastian does such a great job of building up this world where Nick and Andy struggle with some of these fears -- of identity, visibility, and openness to friends and family. Her historical research was stellar, and it felt like George Chauncey's Gay New York coming to life!

It was a really lovely friends to lovers story with strong found family dynamics. I loved the banter between the two and just the sweetness they cultivated. I adored this book and can't wait to read more books by this author!

Genre: m/m historical romance
Setting: 1950s NYC
Reminds me of: George Chauncey's Gay New York, the Mob Queens podcast
Pub Date: out now!

Thanks to Avon and #netgalley for an advanced e-copy of this book!

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Excellent, excellent, excellent! A wonderful queer historical romance set in 1950s New York. The relationship between Andy and Nick is the core of this novel, and they are so clearly meant for one another. Run, don’t walk, to get your copy.

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Nick Russo works at the city desk of a New York City newspaper. He comes from a big Italian family in Brooklyn and has worked hard to make it out of his neighborhood. Nick largely keeps to himself at work; being a gay man in the late 1950s isn’t easy and Nick knows if anyone finds out, it could mean big trouble for him. So he keeps his sexuality on the down low and tries not to draw too much attention.

All of that changes, however, when Nick meets Andy Fleming. Andy’s father owns the newspaper and he is working the city desk to learn the ropes. However, poor Andy is a mess. The first day they meet, Andy has managed to get his tie stuck in a drawer and can’t get out. It is quickly clear that Andy needs a lot of looking after, and Nick can’t help but befriend him. The two men are total opposites. Andy is rich and grew up in an elite world. He is sweet as can be, but definitely can’t take care of himself. Nick is independent by necessity, growing up with no one to really rely on but himself. Nick and Andy become best friends and are practically inseparable.

When the guys end up becoming temporary roommates, things take a turn in their relationship. While Andy has always liked women, there is a part of him that knows he is attracted to men as well. It has always been easier just to ignore that part of himself; he wants to get married and settle down and the only way to do that is with a woman. But living with Nick forces Andy to face his feelings, as his attraction to Nick flares. For his part, Nick has been in love with Andy from practically the first minute, but he never thought Andy was someone he could have. As the men open up about their feelings, they settle into a happy domesticity. But there is only so long that people will believe they are just friends living together, especially as Nick finds himself on the police radar for some stories he is writing for the paper. Eventually, Andy will need to move out or people will suspect the truth. But Andy and Nick have fallen hard for each other and both dream of the life they could have together, if only they can take the chance.

We Could Be So Good is a lovely, deeply character-driven historical and I just found myself really swept up in the story. Nick and Andy make such a fun, opposites attract couple. There is a definite grumpy/sunshine vibe here, as Nick has let his need for self reliance and secrecy keep him separated from most people, and Andy is sort of this sweet, golden retriever of a guy (if golden retrievers kept losing their keys). Nick is from a poorer, immigrant neighborhood and he fought to make it out and get his job at the paper. He is scrappy and strong and knows how to get things done. When Nick meets Andy, he can’t help but take care of him, almost despite himself, because Andy is a mess. He is wealthy and never had to really be responsible for things. He is also sort of flighty and oblivious and I found him adorable. Somehow, these men form an unlikely friendship and this incredibly intense bond. For the first part of the book, we are following them as friends, even as we see that Nick has secret feelings for Andy. Then, as Andy begins to realize his own attraction, we see a relationship bloom between them. As I said, this is an intensely character-driven story and things focus directly on the developing relationship between these two men. The style really hones in on Nick and Andy and I found it really interesting and rewarding to feel so immersed in these characters.

While the men move fairly easily from friends to lovers, the anvil hanging over them all the time is the fear of discovery. The book takes place in the late 1950s, a time when being gay was illegal and could get you thrown in jail, or worse. Nick has learned to keep his hookups quick and discreet, but he lives in constant fear of being found out for being gay. It is something Andy has not really had to force himself to think about; since he is also attracted to women, he has been able to just pass himself off as straight. When Andy starts considering his feelings for Nick, suddenly he also has to confront the fact that he can no longer be open about his feelings publicly. There are some really intense moments where this all hits home, like when someone comes to their apartment and they have to quickly hide all signs that they share a bedroom. What I really loved here is seeing these guys first come to terms with their feelings and what it means for them, and then start taking some small steps toward defiance, toward wanting to be themselves without fear. This is still a time when being out is dangerous, but the men manage to live a little more on their own terms. As always with her historical stories, Sebastian gives this book a great sense of time and place. I loved the little details that flesh out the story and Sebastian builds life in the 1950s so nicely into the book.

Overall, I found this one just so enjoyable to read. I loved Andy and Nick together and I really liked the way the writing just made me feel so immersed in their story. The way the focus builds on these characters left me feeling like I really had a window into their lives and who they are as people. I just loved the book and can highly recommend it.

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What a cute and soft story!! Seeing Nick and Andy fight for their HEA was so heartwarming. This is a friends to roommates to lovers story and their is so much YEARNING and pining and staring which I loved so much. Nothing like a good forced proximity to make people confront their feelings.

Cat Sebastian has a way with words and I was smiling so much at the dialogues and their internal thoughts. I highlighted quite a bit and was feeling all the feelings.

My only complaint and the reason this is not five stars is it slowed down a bit plot wise and I had a hard time finishing it because it got a bit slow. I was enjoying what was happening, but it just started dragging a bit. The end wrapped everything up well, but I could've used bit more plot in the middle section.

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[I received a digital arc for an honest review]

We Could Be So Good by Cat Sebastian is a new standalone historical MM romance. Nick Russo has pulled himself up from his Brooklyn beginnings and found himself a job as a reporter for the Chronicle. He never planned for boss’s son Andrew Flemming III and that he would take the newbie under his wing. The two begin an unlikely friendship that blossoms into so much more. But being queer in the late 1950’s is dangerous business. Both men are forced to look at their situation and decide if they’re willing to take the risk on each other.

Nick Russo has accepted that he will always be living half a life. He doesn’t deny his queer identity but wants to maintain a relationship with his family and his job so he keeps to himself. He never expected his harmless crush on his best friend to ever be reciprocated but Andy is full of surprises. The happiness that Andy brings into Nick’s life changes everything for the better even if he knows there is likely no future for the two.

Andy Flemming is a clumsy, slightly airheaded sweetheart who has been left a lot in his life. Once Nick becomes a constant, Andy struggles with his changing feelings because Nick is so important to him. But he refuses to deny himself the ever growing connection to Nick and the two venture into a new relationship together. Nick provides him with the comfort and security he has always wanted while encouraging him to explore his queer identity.

I have been really enjoying historical MM romances and this one ranks up at the top. I just loved seeing the slow burn heat up between Nick and Andy. Their friendship was so sweet and watching it evolve just made me so happy. There were so many quality secondary characters to support Andy and Nick as well. The writing was just the right amount of world building/time period setting and character development.

5 stars for Andy and Nick’s romance growing from the shadow of NYC.

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Cat Sebastian is one of my favorite authors and this book made me cry and laugh and squeal and all the things you could hope for in a romance. It's my staff pick for Pride Month and I will likely be shouting about it to every customer who comes into the store for the rest of the year!

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This book felt like a warm cuddly hug! I've not read many historical romances set in the 1950's, but I truly will follow anywhen Cat Sebastian chooses to lead me.

**Received an eARC via NetGalley**

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I loved this book. It's that simple. From the very beginning, I was falling for the characters. Do not ask me to choose between Nick and Andy because I will not.

Grumpy Nick is so incredibly sweet and caring towards Nick. He does absolutely anything and everything for him and wouldn't have it any other way. He's sexy and charming and just ugh 🥵😍

Sunshiny Andy is so forgetful and clumsy and sensitive and just such a little golden retriever kinda guy. You just want to hold him tight forever. He's so cute and so devoted to Nick. 🤗😍

These two start out as friends, and their relationship very, very slowly grows into much, much more. They have a lot of hurdles and secrecy to get through, but the wait and the journey are so worth it.

Throughout the whole book, we get sweet and subtle romance. It definitely helps get through the slow burn. There are some spicy scenes as one character learns about his sexuality and experimentation. They aren't very explicit, in my opinion. Take that as you will lol

If you're looking for a sweet m/m romance that will make you giggle and love both character the whole book, pick this one. You won't regret it, it's so sweet and just so perfect.

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We Could Be So Good tells the riveting story of Andy and Nick, who are rivals (for like 1 page) then best friends then obviously lovers. Set in 1957 New York, I loved the way this book dealt with queerness in a time where they could be arrested for it. It preaches the importance of found family as well as bonds that are already there we might not know about. The relationship was well balanced and felt very genuine. I don't know how I feel about the dual POV but in large chunks. Sometimes I wanted to know the other characters thoughts right away, but it does get bonus points for being dual POV. I think I prefer Sebastian's other books more, but this book was still great.

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First of all, thank you SO MUCH to NetGalley and Avon and Harper Voyager for letting me borrow this title in exchange for my honest opinion because I really loved it!

We Could Be So Good is a story about reporters in the 1950s, the beginnings of queer visibility and revolution, gay awakening, found family, acceptance, and all sorts of things that had me going for my Kindle while I was out of town and could have run 8,000 hours of HGTV instead. I personally love 'stuffy/tough person being unraveled by their lover/love interest" so this was made... for me? I loved Andy's absent-mindedness and Nick's care, love gay longing, love that the author brought in a lot of real life events and people into the book that were mentioned even if a few dates were moved a bit for sake of the story. Nick's big Italian family was fun, and it was very fulfilling when something I suspected came true only pages later. Love that any issues they have get talked about as soon as they can, that they work together to try to make lives for themselves better. I just had a nice time with this book and I hope others read it soon so I can yell with them!

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This is my first Cat Sebastian, but obviously I need to pick up more of her work! We Could Be So Good is like my dream domestic romance--it reads like fanfic in the best of ways, and is nothing like I've seen in trad romance so far. It's really got it all: workplace romance, friends-to-lovers, and-they-were-roommates, mutual pining, grumpy/sunshine, queer found family, sick fic, curtain fic, I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting at the moment. The plot is pretty minimal (but what is there is delightfully ACAB), and it's one of the least atmospheric books I've ever read (it doesn't really feel like 1950's New York, despite the trappings), but I literally couldn't care less? The focus is on Nick, Andy, and their relationship as they work to carve out a space for themselves to have happy queer lives in 1959 NYC, finding their courage in each other and the life they want together. Also, I really love how much the word "queer" was used throughout the story, in only positive ways.

Side note: I despise this US cover, but the UK cover is lovely and I desperately want it in my collection!

TW: homophobia, slurs, police violence and corruption, mugging (off-page) and resulting injuries, past parent death, past domestic abuse, bullying, threats and blackmail, past arrest, mention of fires/arson, undefined health decline of a parent, strained family relationships, infidelity (not main couple)

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This was such an incredibly heartfelt and hopeful novel. It's so tender and quietly beautiful. The writing was truly fantastic and Cat Sebastian checked all of my boxes with We Could Be So Good.

Andy and Nick have my whole heart. I celebrated and hurt for them as they explored and embraced their feelings and tried to carve out a life for themselves. Their banter had me laughing out loud and put a silly smile on my face. The entire plot line with the "idiot" cat was hilarious and melted my heart. I adored the friend group in the novel and what an amazing found family Cat Sebastian created. I also appreciated that Nick and Andy shared their truths and made a sort of peace with their own families. This isn't an in your face kind of love story. It's an understated and quiet slow burn, made up of a million little moments of care and bravery. This is definitely a new favorite for me and I can't recommend it enough!

CW: homophobia, death of parent (past), parental illness, strained family relationships, cheating ex, previous arrest for "vagrancy" but never charged (past), blackmail attempt, bullying (secondary character, but also in MMC's past), grief, trauma

*I voluntarily read an advance review copy of this book*

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We Could Be So Good follows Nick Russo, who has worked his way up to a reporting job at one of the city’s biggest newspapers. But the late 1950s are a hostile place for gay men, so Nick knows not to let anyone close to him—short encounters in dark places is all he allows himself in order to stay safe, and he’s okay with that. That is, until he meets Andy, who might just be the most impossible person to say no to. Andy Fleming’s newspaper tycoon father wants him to take over the family business, but Andy has never had any intention of following in his father’s footsteps. He’s barely able to care for his own well-being—how is he supposed to take care of an entire company? He’s sure his father will see just how wrong his intentions are when Andy promises him he’ll work at the newspaper, destined to fail. Except, Nick keeps helping him out, showing him the ropes, taking care of him when he messes up or loses his keys for the twelfth time that day. Their unlikely friendship soon sharpens into feelings that neither of them can deny—even though they try. What started out as an impossible secret turns out to be the best thing that’s ever happened to them.

My initial review of this book was “I am but a mere puddle of emotions” and you know what? I’m sticking to that, even weeks later. Nick and Andy stole my heart.

Nick’s grumpiness matched with Andy’s chaotic sunshine was an absolute dream. Rarely have I seen such an authentic take on one of the most beloved tropes out there. Even when Nick was grumpy, you could always tell how much he cared about Andy and other people in his life that made him feel safe. Meanwhile, Andy’s chaotic sunshine energy made him so lovable, whether it meant shaking your head when he misplaces his keys or tearing up when he realises just how much Nick wants him in his life.

Also, the pining. It was everything and that is coming from someone who is very particular about their pining. But Nick and Andy’s POVs just added so much to their story and how they felt about each other. The anxiety that comes with watching your loved one struggle—whether that’s with their career, their responsibilities, their relatives, or the fact that they have to hide their feelings from the world—was so present in this story and yet it was also imbibed with so much hope and love and laughter that I couldn’t put this story down even if I tried.

Cat Sebastian knows how to convey the most complex emotions in such visceral ways that it both makes your heart ache and gives you hope as these two men reach out to the other with the most tender, loving, and caring gestures.

It was also so fascinating to get a glimpse into the newsrooms of the 1950s era. It quite literally was what I expected but so much fun to find out all the intricacies, strategical planning and issues that come with following news stories that might make you as a reporter a target in the eyes of the law (or well, greedy policemen in this case). Nick is so passionate about his job and finding out the truth that he sometimes puts a story above his own wellbeing which just showed how much he valued being part of changing the world for the better, searching for the truth.

On top of that, this story incorporates so much more—talking about the dangers of being queer in that era, cop brutality, fraught family relationships, acceptance and love from the corners you expect it the least, and the ways in which queer people have looked out for and will always do so for each other. It’s a welcome reminder that queer people and the fight for equality have always existed, even if people didn’t (want to) see it.

All in all, this book just proved to be the perfect balance of joyful moments between Nick and Andy while also conveying the emotional punches that come with not being able to live (and love) openly in the 1950s. Compelling, delightful, and a wonderful addition to the queer historical romance genre that’s not to be missed.

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I loved this book so much that I accidentally gobbled it up in a day. It’s a slow-burn midcentury queer romance that is compulsively readable.

I have ZERO nostalgia about the 1950s. It’s a hard time period to set a cozy queer romance, and I was impressed that We Could Be So Good pulled off this magic trick. I liked how this didn’t shy away from the stress of being closeted, while also filling the story with kind, supportive characters who felt real. There’s equal focus on the main characters individual path to finding a way to be queer and happy as there is on their romantic relationship.

Some of my favorite parts were the found and bio family, the bi rep, and hilarious banter between Nick and Andy. They are just fun to read, even when being totally clueless BFFs who don’t notice they’re falling for one another.

The few characters of colors are pretty minimal, partly because much of the book is set in a newsroom so homogenous that Nick’s Italian-American background is seen as exotic. A POC neighbor would probably be anachronistic, but would have made me happy.

I initially didn’t love how Nick’s kept mentally comparing scatterbrained Andy to his equally scatterbrained 14 year-old nephew. It felt infantilizing, and made me worried that their caretaking dynamic would continue to be one-way. But once we got a chapter from Andy’s point of view, their relationship felt more balanced. I’m glad I kept reading!

In terms of marketing, I don’t get the Colleen Hoover comparison at all, it makes no sense. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo has the time period, but little else in common.

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I've read and loved three books by Cat Sebastian before, and I've been kicking myself that I haven't read more of them, yet I still somehow didn't expect to love this book as much as I did. It's an instant new favourite.

I loved the pre-Stonewall historical setting, and seeing these characters find romance and comfort and domesticity in a world that didn't want to make that space for them. This book somehow struck a balance between being a really soft romance (without a third-act break-up!) with a realistic feel to it.

What I loved most is the writing, which is so introspective, and so infused with emotion, and also often very funny. I can really see the comp to Casey McQuiston in the writing especially.

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Cat Sebastian has a way of writing the most cozy and sweet queer romances. I loved the 1950s setting.

I didn’t find myself too interested in their jobs or the other drama at work. I really loved the times when it was just them together which we do get a lot of!

The steam level is less than usual which I was surprised by.

Overall, I loved the relationship between Nick and Andy. There was a good amount of history weaved in the story and I always appreciate that.

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I loved this book! It’s only my second MM romance and I don’t typically read historical romance but this one was so adorable and sweet. Andy is the cutest with his scatterbrained self. Nick is grumpy but deep down he’s a softie too which was fun to discover. I loved reading about Nick’s thoughts of Andy from the very beginning and was immediately drawn in to their story. It was enlightening to read about being queer in the 1950’s and what all they had to face and take into consideration with their daily lives. But I loved seeing how strong these characters were despite what they faced and the found family they made along the way. Thank you for allowing me to read and review!

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I just *love* the feeling when you start a book, thinking you’re going to enjoy it, then having it absolutely EXCEED your expectations in every single way. That exciting, overwhelming adoration that settles into your bones with each page. This was my experience with WE COULD BE SO GOOD, the latest release by Cat Sebastian.

Labeled as a mid-century romdram, this story follows Nick, a newspaper reporter who befriends—and subsequently falls for—the newspaper mogul’s son Andy. As they explore their relationship to each other, the world they live in, and bravely embrace their futures, Cat takes us on an incredibly beautiful and satisfying journey that you don’t want to end. To be honest, these are simple words that seem inadequate for a story that I truly, truly loved so much.

Cat’s writing is masterclass and a seamless marriage of humor, heart, and thought-provoking significance. This story feels authentic, relevant, and important. The pacing and the buildup are expertly crafted. I wanted to live inside this story and alongside these characters, and I could hardly put the book down to eat or sleep.

WE COULD BE SO GOOD is the most tender and lovely friends-to-lovers slow-burn, with *delicious* tension — a solid five-star read that you’ll want to pick up again and again.

A huge thank you to Avon and Netgalley for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest, unbiased review. WE COULD BE SO GOOD is out now! (Trust me, you need to get this book.)

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We Could Be So Good is SO GOOD. Cat Sebastian is 3/3 with 5 star reads for me. She has the most magical prose that makes you feel all the things.

I always struggle to write reviews when I really love a book and find myself struggling to write a deserving review for, We Could Be So Good. I could list all the tropes: workplace romance, friends to lovers and roommates. I could tell you how much I loved the setting of NYC in the 1950’s and the atmosphere created in Nick’s apartment building. But it wouldn’t come close to the way this book made me FEEL. Nick and Andy gave me all the butterflies and I endlessly adore them.

This book is cozy and soft, witty, and thoughtful, engaging, and tender. I am a puddle for a soft romance and this one is the softest.

•Mutual secret pining
•Lots of blushing
•A Bi-awakening from collarbones
•Andy’s competency kink
•Nick’s “Gooey devotion”
•Found family
•Dual POV
•The revolutionary act of Queer Joy

Thank you so much to Avon Books for the early copy!

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Excellent, beautiful read. This stands out for me due to setting and voice.

The setting is late 1950s New York, when being queer is still against the law and the Red Scare is still happening. This was educational, though not didactic. Also lightly woven in was the passive (was it?) discrimination and prejudice against Italian Americans. What resonated about the setting was the way fear permeates Nick's life, and I drew a lot of parallels to the wave of anti-queer legislation flooding our country right now.

Nick and Andy are endearing characters, a classic grumpy-sunshine pairing. The novel is written in alternating third-person POV but in present tense, and that does a lot to help everything feel immediate, even if there isn't a ton of action propelling the plot.

Definitely recommend. I've had another of Cat Sebastian's books on my TBR for a couple of years, and I think it's time to move it to the top.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC of this book.

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