Member Reviews

After the last Cat Sebastian book I read was a bit "meh" in the end, We Could Be So Good reminded me which stories of hers I love: the ones without any overarching plot. Obviously this has a story, but the focus is tightened by centering solely on the characters and the romance rather than them trying to achieve something grand. Both Nick and Andy had excellent narrative growth (Nick has become one of my favorite Sebastian protagonists), and as someone who works in publishing, I ate up every minute of their jobs at the newspaper evolving along with them. The beginning was slightly shaky since we only got to see their friendship form in glimpses, and I did wonder about how quickly Andy recovered from his fiancée canceling their wedding, although this later makes sense, but we quite easily settled into each man's voice and got an understanding of who he was. I was also glad to see the abundance of women throughout—even if they never felt completely realized, which I've unfortunately come to expect of the secondary female cast in Sebastian's books. There were some great looks into queerness during the late 1950s, and so many of the conversations taking place remain relevant today. Also, the humor: always an A+ in my book. This is definitely a book I'll be grabbing a copy of!

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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**I was provided an electronic ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.**

Cat Sebastian returns with We Could Be So Good, a queer romance set in the 1950s. Nick is a reporter for a newspaper and has had to work for everything he has. Imagine his chagrin when the owner of the newspaper's son is given a job in the office after dropping out of business school. Imagine further that said son, Andy, is actually awkward and shy and kind. The worst part is that Andy is woefully handsome. Not that Nick noticed.

I have been a fan of Cat Sebastian's historical romances for quite some time, but this has been the first time I have read something she has written outside of Regency era. Suffice it to say, everything I have always loved about her writing is still there. Sebastian has a way of getting to the heart of characters and putting every emotion on the line. Her conflicts are compellingly real and never trite. Beyond that, Sebastian pays due regard to the historical period in which she writes, making choices in alignment with what would be accurate for the time. Certainly, she uses artistic license as needed, but Sebastian, in my experience, stays away from any major anachronism that might distract a reader from the story.

Nick and Andy were a joy to watch come together and learn to rely on one another. While they do endure period-accurate instances of homophobia, the amount of queer joy celebrated in even small things during this book was absolutely what I needed in the moment.

I would recommend any of Cat Sebastian's works to folks seeking queer historical romance, and was grateful for the opportunity to read this one early.

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Conventional wisdom tells us that the 1950s were a terrible time to be queer. That's probably true, but that doesn't mean that there were no queer people or that they didn't find ways to be happy, and that's at the heart of this book. Nick and Andy learn, over its course, how there are still people who just love them and want them to be happy no matter what, and as they figure that out, they find a route to their own happiness as a couple. It's warm-hearted and hopeful, like all of Cat Sebastian's books.

I at first wasn't sure that I loved the style it's written in. The book is in the present tense, which I always find a bit tricky, and it's divided into parts, alternating between Nick's and Andy's third-person narration. Ultimately I do think it worked; the present tense helped to relay the immediacy of their lives and I liked being able to get into both characters' heads.

Long story short, I will read anything Cat Sebastian writes. Between a setting I'm ambivalent about and a tense I typically don't enjoy, this novel made it clear to me that if she writes it, I will read it and put aside all other things I should be doing until I've reveled in the happy ending.

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I related a lot to both Nick & Andy for different reasons. I sometimes feel like the biggest grouch & Nick gave me major Ron Swanson vibes, as in I’m doing my thing so please leave me alone 😂 Meanwhile, Andy was a chaotic mess & my gemini moon feels that HARD.

I loved how these two balanced each other out but just keep in mind this is a veryyyyy slow burn!

Something that stood out to me was the relationship between Nick & his teenage nephew Sal, who was in the midst of his own rebellious teenage mentality, especially against his father (Nick’s brother who is a cop, yikes).

Overall, I appreciated seeing this queer representation in the 50s & I can’t wait to continue reading more from Cat Sebastian! Highly recommend The Queer Chronicles of Kitt Webb if you haven’t read that already too

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Follows a reporter and the son of the newpaper's publisher in a grumpy/sunshine love story in late 1950s New York City. This is a romance that will stick with me. The characters are incredible, they're set soundly and believably in their time and environment, and their relationship is oh so lovable. Sebastian doesn't lean on drama drama's sake and maintains interest wonderfully throughout all the same. I loved every second of this book.

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Cat Sebastian excels at making the mundane not only meaningful, but spectacular.

I basked in every description of domesticity, every tie fixed or comfort food prepped during a harried week. I would read 100 scenes of Andy and Nick cohabitating and taking solace in each other, in a world that can so often be hostile to queer joy. This book packs an emotional punch in a number of ways, but the 1950s homophobia feels increasingly more present than past, as state sanctioned violence against queer communities is stirring up across the United States once again. And while that reality is distressing (understatement of the year), the comfort offered by We Could Be So Good is a timely reminder that we’ve always been here, we’re not going away, and our revolutions come in many forms, including but not limited to carving out places of sanctuary with our loved ones, sharing space, support, and lasagna recipes. There is so, so much to love in this book, but more than anything, I love it for delivering the reminder that joy is revolutionary when I most needed it. An absolutely stellar and uplifting read that I look forward to revisiting time and time again.

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This has to be one of the cutest books I've ever read! Of course, having read and loved many Cat Sebastian books, I expected nothing less, but this really is a new favorite.

Nick doesn't plan on befriending Andy, the rich son of his boss, when Andy starts working at the newsroom. However, Andy is so prone to accidents (like losing his keys) that Nick can't help but take him under his wing. Andy really doesn't want to inherit the family business and is having a bit of an existential crisis.

The romance in this book is incredibly tender. There are a lot of interesting historical details and insights into queer history for while the 1950s were a rough time for men in love with other men, there are glimmers of hope. Its wonderful to watch both Nick and Andy learn more about themselves and to watch them become a part of a found family that even includes a hapless stray cat. I really hope this becomes a series and that we get books for some of the side characters because I loved them!

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I read this book in one sitting - while I was supposed to be reading an entirely different book. I picked it up meaning to read a chapter or two while I ate lunch -- because it's easier to read on a kindle than a paperback while eating -- and the next thing I knew I was turning the last page. I can't remember the last time I did that.

I knew I would love it from the beginning; that was a given - it's a Cat Sebastian book. But I wasn't prepared for how much I would love it, or for how many feelings it gave me.

This book is devastating in its quiet queer joy and relentless hope while living in the face of prejudice and hate. It's about a queer couple in the newspaper publishing world of New York City of the 1950s. It's about the slow realization of feelings, and the inevitable and infinitesimal merging of lives, and the way you can breathe easier when you have a community of people like you who understand you and know you. It's about the comfort and happiness to be found in the little things in life. And it's so soft and domestic, even with the uncertainty and the lies and the hiding. Which takes skill.

I teared up several times, enough that it made it difficult to keep reading. I *felt* the truth in this story viscerally. Times may have changed (somewhat) but I could still understand the hesitance and the fear and defiant joy that make up a queer existence.

In some ways it was starkly different than Cat Sebastian's other books, and yet in other ways it felt familiar. She straddled the line between quiet joy and simmering rage at the realities of queer life. It was intense and healing and beautiful. I didn't want it to end.

I was bracing myself for tragedy as the book progressed, and I'm so glad that isn't the sort of story Cat Sebastian is telling here. That instead she is telling a story of people who just want to live their lives, and who find the courage in themselves to do so despite the fear and threats. Like Nick, I was dreading reading about another queer tragedy.

The characters were beautifully drawn and felt so real. I came to care about them so much and feel like they were my friends. It was masterfully done. The setting also felt incredibly, painfully real. It was 100% believable.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Avon for providing an early copy for review.

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This book is so good. I could tell from the first page that I was going to love it and I tried so hard to read it slowly so I could savour it—but I just couldn't put it down. It's wonderful.

Nick and Andy are amazing; their journey from reluctant workplace friends to best friends to lovers (with plenty of mutual pining in between) is a delight to read.

The story doesn't shy away from the politics and struggles of the times and it's so well researched but it's joyous and comforting too; a truly beautiful depiction of queer characters finding love and forging a life for themselves in unforgiving times.

I already know it's a book I'll read again and again. I loved it!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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“He can believe that the future they have is worth more than his fear, and he can do what it takes to make that future as safe and happy as possible.”

Cat Sebastian has been a must read since I picked up a copy of The Queer Principles of Kit Webb last year and discovered my love for historical romance. Having read most of her books at this point, there was no doubt that I would enjoy WCBSG; but I wasn’t prepared to fall in love with it.

It’s both moving and delightfully funny; with the right amount of pining and mild, mostly fade-to-black spice that fits the tone perfectly. Nick and Andy are endearing from the very beginning, and while romance is the focus, their friendship remains the heart of the story. Sebastian is able to expertly balance Nick and Andy’s relationship together while letting them exist as individuals outside of the romance. She also incorporates a fair amount of well-researched (and timely) queer history seamlessly into the narrative. It’s rare that a book manages to hit all the right notes for me, especially in the romance genre, but this low angst (despite the heavier topics), best friends-to-lovers, slow-burn did everything right. It was an absolute joy to read.

ARC provided by NetGalley/Avon

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DNF @ 25%

The premise of this one sounded so good, but I struggled with the execution.

25% in and not much happens. I didn't feel connected to any of the characters. There wasn't much plot or action, just one day to the next. The writing felt very matter of fact where the author was telling me rather me really feeling and understanding the characters and the actions. Lots of details. Very slow.

Overall, this one just didn't work for me.

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I usually don't get in my feelings this much but I found myself both loving the story and hating the feelings of claustrophobia that I felt as well. This is a historical queer romance and while I loved the story the era that Nick and Andy lived in meant that they had to hide who they were in public, they couldn't hold hands in public, they had to figure out how they could live together with it being suspicious and I hated that aspect of the story because it meant that they could be together in the confines of their home or with very select friends and some relatives. I loved Nick and I loved Andy and I loved how they became an us and it was such a sweet, hopeful story despite the rigid way they were restricted by the society that they lived in.

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What do you say about a book that completely rewires how you think and feel about historical romances? It feels too big and impossible to even put into words how much I loved We Could Be So Good. Cat Sebastian is a superstar at writing compelling histroms with emotionally-driven plots and deeply relatable characters - and WCBSG is possibly her best yet. It absolutely blew me away

We Could Be So Good is a gorgeous friend-to-lovers story that captivated me from the very first page and kept me hooked until the end. It’s soft and saccharine sweet in the best possible we best iterations of the grumpy/sunshine trope that I’ve read in years and I absolutely adored it. This has everything I love in a romance: hurt/comfort, domestic bliss, so much PINING, friends to lovers, “oh god, he’s hot,” and a beloved bi-awakening. It handles all of these tropes masterfully and with so much ease that you don’t even realize that’s what’s happening until it does.

Despite its mid-century setting, it feels horrifically modern and timely - touching on police corruption and the prosecution of queer people. As is often with Cat Sebastian novels, there are wonderful discussions on power imbalances and wealth discrepancies between these characters. WCBSG is also deliciously anti-cop and I devoured it. Could not get enough.

Very little actually *happens* in this story, but that’s, honestly, what’s so great about it. You get to spend almost all of your time with Andy and Nick, and it’s WONDERFUL. There’s something deeply human about these characters - about recognizing each others flaws and accepting them unconditionally. You never doubt for a SECOND that Andy and Nick care for each other. From Nick taking Andy under his wing, both professionally and personally, to their quiet and casual affirmations of character. To soup and just being happy. Their relationship is mundane and domestic, and yet represents the ultimate dream - stability with those you love.

I truly cannot recommend this book enough. I have a feeling that I’m going to come back to this story again-and-again because I can’t stop thinking about it. I finished it and immediately wanted to pick it back up. I cried solidly throughout the last 10-15% because I was just so overwhelmed by how beautiful the story was. The climax and conflict resolution at the end is so heartwarming and endearing, you feel the love radiating between these characters. I wish everyone the safety and comfort provided by Andy and Nick. With We Could Be So Good, Cat Sebastian fully solidified herself as a must-read author for me. I’m anxiously awaiting more mid-century reads from Sebastian in the future.

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Avon Publishing for the advanced copy. All opinions are my own.

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Thank you to Avon and Harper Voyager for this early Netgalley copy of “We Could Be So Good” by Cat Sebastian.

Nick Russo, jaded newspaper reporter for The Chronicle, meets Andy Fleming, the clumsy yet cute son of the publisher, and sparks fly. The only problem? It’s the 1950’s, and being queer isn’t exactly smiled upon in society—in fact, it’s practically illegal. Do they even stand a chance? And if they do, is their love worth the risk?

I’m a sucker for a period piece and a slow-burn romance. This book balanced a fluffy love story with period-accurate conflict well, and made for a read that wasn’t too depressing or too “easy.” For those looking for a happy ending despite the subject matter, know that all loose plot threads do tie themselves up here before the end.

This book was full of humor and great characters, some of whom surprise you with their true intentions. The plot is rather silce-of-life without much action, but it is executed well. While most of the book has a lighthearted tone, there is also substance. I’ve never read a Cat Sebastian book before, but I enjoyed this one enough to consider reading another.

I recommend this book for readers looking to read a queer historical romance without all of the darkness and sadness that one might usually consist of. “We Could Be So Good” isn’t pretentious or trying to be something it’s not—it’s just a love story between two men who come to believe they deserve a happy ending despite what society tells them.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – GREAT

CW: period-accurate homophobia

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All the stars, kudos, and love for this book! As an ardent fan of Cat Sebastian's work, this is my new favorite novel. The characters are carefully and lovingly crafted, with their thoughts, words, and actions making them come alive (and permanently move into my head rent free). Andy and Nick are a delight! Each moment spent reading this book felt like being surrounded by the best of friends. The historical setting is interesting, and I liked learning about queer culture during that time, the epic highs and lows of newspaper publication, and all the day to day details of what it was like to exist before cellphones and internet.

While the friendship and romance between Andy and Nick is the heart of the book, there's also a strong focus on family. Nick struggles with the tension of keeping his queerness a secret from his family and not wanting to lie to them about his life. Andy, anxious and lonely, keenly feels the lose of his mother and the distance from his father, and longs for a family that will cherish him. My very favorite part of their story is seeing how much Nick and Andy care for each other, from little things like cooking meals and going to buy groceries, to supporting each other in hard times and fighting for their HEA.

Lovely, emotionally rich, and hopeful, this is a true comfort book that I plan to return to many times.

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Summary:
Life is good for Nick Russo in the newsroom, and even better after an unintentional friendship blooms with the publisher’s son, Andy. But when Andy gets engaged, Nick knows that he must keep his feelings for Andy at bay for the sake of their friendship, jobs and safety. But when Andy’s engagement is broken off, he finds himself on Nick’s doorstep needing stability and companionship. Being gay in the 1950’s is dangerous, but even more dangerous when you’re in love with your best friend.

Title: “We Could Be So Good ”
Author: Cat Sebastian
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3.75/5
🌶️ 1/5

Tropes:
Forbidden Romance
Friends to Lovers
Workplace Romance

My Thoughts:
I instantly fell in love with Nick and Andy and their grumpy/sunshine relationship. The author really helps the reader understand what it must have been like for gay men in the mid 20th century. From friends, to heartache to lovers, I couldn’t get enough of this book!

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When it comes to fiction, I feel like there are two main types of storytelling. The first is where you're pulled into the story and you feel like you're witnessing everything firsthand as the story unfolds around you. The second is where someone else is telling the story to you, relaying information secondhand as you listen in. For me this book fell very much into that second category. It felt like I was looking in through a window at best, seeing the story happen without being part of it. I didn't really bond with the characters or feel any direct connection to them. Of course I wanted them to be happy and I was rooting for the couple to make it, but I didn't really feel invested in the outcome. While I enjoyed the story, I was a bit bored most of the time, just floating from scene to scene.

Overall, it wasn't a bad story, but I'm not sure this particular method of storytelling was for me. I wanted more from it and was left feeling a bit disappointed with the bit I got.

3.5 Stars Rounded Down

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I feel like every review I write for a Cat Sebastian book starts the same: “I saw this on Netgalley/on Libby/on the library shelf, and I KNEW I had to read it because Cat is amazing and I’ve loved every single one of her books.”

So, yeah, I requested this on Netgalley because of course I did - historical queer romance is my absolute favorite, and the author describing this book as “Newsies meets…” (I don’t remember what she said here, but it doesn’t matter) solidified its place on my TBR. (I love the Newsies musical. Did I imagine Nick and Andy tap-dancing at one point? Maaaaaybe.)

So, the book. It’s 1950s NYC. Andy, the bumbling, scatter-brained son of the editor who starts working as a reporter in order to get some experience before taking over the newspaper meets the Brooklyn-born, rough-and-tumble Nick. They’re stuck together because of work, and Nick attempts to keep his distance - he’s a queer man, after all, and he can’t let just anyone into his life (especially with his history) . As the two become friends, though, he has to hide his feelings for Andy, and throws himself into his work, following a story of police corruption that is getting more and more dangerous.

I could write more about the plot, but I don’t want to spoil anything - I’ll just say that I loved the dual-POV, the gentle pining, Andy’s anxiety, the found family, the dumb cat, the historical accuracy, and the delightful ending. I want more of Nick and Andy, and I’m so grateful that I got to read this book!

I received a copy of this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Releasing June 2023.

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“We Could Be So Good” stands out among other similar stories thanks to its time period setting, dual narrators that span entire chunks of the book (rather than alternating every chapter), and following the journey of Nick and Andy through building their friendship before it turns into something more. Both characters were lovable and easy to root for as they navigated their relationship, work, families, and lives outside of each other. While there was some heavy historical context, it never fell into doom and gloom. This was a M/M love story that Nick himself would have enjoyed reading. :)

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sharing an advanced copy in exchange for this honest review.

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I am a big fan of Cat Sebastian's romances, and this book is no exception. We Could Be So Good was unexpectedly soft & sweet. Even though I knew Nick & Andy would have a happy ending, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop with a few of the plotlines or some kind of intense third act crisis to hit, but it never did. While the book does grapple with the realities of being queer in the 1950s, the crux of the plot is much quieter. It's about finding your family, chosen & not, and of course, the vulnerability of falling in love. What a lovely, tender little book.

Will definitely recommend this one to fellow romance readers! Thank you to NetGalley & Avon for the ARC.

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