Member Reviews

I absolutely loved this book! I read it in between heavier lit fiction books and found this book to have a beautiful balance between a light hearted, butterfly inducing romance and understanding the seriousness of the topic. I also loved that it showed a gay relationship and how they were, in fact, ABLE to exist in the 1950s and be HAPPY. I feel like the author did a good amount of research to be able to know how people hid them and behaved and found loops. I adored that, in the words of Nick, it wasn’t all “doom and gloom” and that happy endings could happen. Personally, I’m a big lover of the slow burn sort of romance so that’s something that I would’ve wished would’ve taken longer- but I know not everyone is a masochist like me lol! I also think the author could have made Andy’s realization a little bit of a “bigger” moment, if you will, but I know that isn’t everyone’s experience with coming out and in a way it was refreshing to see that side of the spectrum. Overall great read and would absolutely recommend! 4 stars!

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This book could have been so good. The story was quick and engaging, but never got past cutesy. The author missed an opportunity to flesh out the police evidence thread and it ended too neatly, too easily. A HEA shouldn't come at the expense of true conflict. Cat Sebastian is very good, but she needs to trust her audience to handle real conflict.

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The writing style made me feel disconnected emotionally to both characters.

Kinda felt like Broke Back mountain meets Madmen.

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This is a book I didn't know I needed. I strictly read contemporary romance, but Newsies is one of my all time favorite musicals and I am a journalist so I had to check this out.

Cat Sebastian can write. I don't mean she can string together sentences. I mean she can move you and move mountains with her prose. And that is hard to come by. It's even harder to make it accessible, make it historical, and make it queer in an inclusive way.

I loved the pining and I loved the romance and found family of it all. I loved the weaving of historical events and proper journalism coverage in with the realities of being queen in the city at this time. I highly recommend. And I loved the meta point of Nick refusing to read a queer story because he fears the ending. This book, and the book Andy reads celebrates queer joy.

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This was a real favorite for me. I loved the setting, a newspaper in New York City in the 1950s, and the friends to lovers story. Nick's grumpy exterior and mother hen attitude combined with Andy's slightly disastrous but incredibly sincere charm made them excellent foils, and so much fun to read. Their different attitudes towards the paper and their sexualities were contrasted really well, letting them learn from each other without sacrificing their individuality. The supporting characters were interesting and really served well to create an atmosphere that isn't devoid of tension, but is full of kindness and love. There's very little conflict between the two main characters, but given the weight of the external conflicts like 50s homophobia, it adds up to a happy ending that feels earnest and real but also earned.

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4.5 stars

Oh my goodness, I ADORED this. Cat Sebastian keeps getting better with every book she writes, and this one filled my heart so full. I loved both of the MC's and their characterization; both felt so fantastically full and dynamic. And their relationship and interactions made me want to scream because it was just so GOOD!!! (How do you write chemistry this amazing??????) I also really loved how the MC's are situated within their families and community, and how those parts of their lives are just as important to them as their romance.

Truly, I just really enjoyed this book to pieces. I will absolutely pre-order and will re-read again. Strongly, strongly recommend, especially if you're looking for a queer historical romance set in an atypical historical period.

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In late 1950s New York, cautious Nick and absent-minded Andy meet at the progressive newspaper where Nick is a respected reporter and Andy will soon take over as publisher from his father. In spite of their different lives, the two become friends and eventually roommates. If there’s something more possible between them, the danger of saying something might be too great. But maybe it’s worth the risk.

Sebastian has brought a slice of history vividly to life, rendering the politics, queer culture, and daily realities of this place and time in loving detail. I am sad to leave Nick and Andy and their friends and family behind.

Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for the ARC to review. All opinions are my own.

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This book has one of the BEST prologues I've ever read. Which probably seems like a weird thing to open with, but I very rarely get so attached to not just one but two main characters so fast. Instantly, I was rooting for them, and it made me feel at the beginning of chapter one the same way I usually feel about 100 pages into a book I really enjoy...completely invested and absorbed into the story and characters. It was almost physically painful to put this book down to go to work, and work was the only thing that managed to make me take a pause.

The two main characters are both lovely, and while there is certainly tension and stakes...this book is ultimately so sweet and romantic that I can already tell it's going to be a comfort read for me in the future, even though I legit cried at one point (not because of anything upsetting that happens, I was just...genuinely moved)

I have read other books by this author but this is by FAR my favorite. Please please do yourself a favor and give it a go.

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Heartwarming!!! I just loved this book. It’s a story of self-discovery and blossoming love. Cat Sebastian has this way of writing that makes the reader feel like they’re taking a peek into the lives of real, living, breathing people - witnessing their everyday victories and struggles. I couldn’t get enough!

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This is such a soft, earnest, sexy, and delightful book. Sebastian doesn't avoid the very real issues of being a queer man in the 1950s/1960s, but instead provides excellent historical context within a completely satisfying story.

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First and foremost, Cat Sebastian has been added to my very recently established list of Authors Who I Can Trust to Deliver a Book I Will Enjoy Reading. The fact that my physical body protested and forced me to sleep is likely the only reason I didn't finish <i>We Could Be So Good</i> in one sitting.

<b>The Things I Liked</b>
1. <i>Grumpy/Sunshine pairing.</i> Nick has his reasons for building up a very thick protective shell. He's gay in the 1950s when being gay is a crime. His brother is a police officer who protected him when he was caught with his literal pants down and arrested. He knows what he stands to lose if he's not careful. Andy also has reasons to build a protective shell, but chooses to live with his heart on his sleeve, and is determined to chip away at Nick's shell until he can slip in through the cracks.

2. <i>The absolute pining.</i> Nick loves Andy, but Andy's engaged. He has to find a way to be okay with only being Andy's friend. Then Andy's dumped by his fiancé and comes to realize that he's in love with Nick, but Nick doesn't believe him. The yearning! The angst! The wistful looks!

3. <i>Exploration of Living Queer in America.</i> As I write this, the state in which I live has 20+ anti-LGBTQ bills before the legislature, and it's not alone. Several states across the U.S. are blatantly attacking LGBTQ people, their rights, access to healthcare, libraries for daring to carry queer books, etc. Frankly, it's not easy being a queer person right now. In fact, it's downright stressful, depressing, saddening, and SCARY. And while the U.S. has clearly come quite a ways since the 1950s, in some ways, things haven't. Some people are forced to remain secretive about their sexual orientation or gender identity because it's unsafe to live openly. And, as Nick experienced, it's EXHAUSTING to have to spend so much time and energy watching your words or actions lest they expose you. Which leads me to...

4. <i>Finding Community.</i> I loved reading Nick's relationship with other queer people grow. He spent so much time guarding his secret and reinforcing his protective walls that he missed out on communion with people who accepted and loved him, and understood what he stood to lose should his sexuality be exposed. Only after Andy starts chipping away does Nick allow himself to trust others with his authentic self. Only then does living as a queer person feel just a little bit more bearable.

The small bit of criticism I have is that many of the problems and conflicts seemed to be resolved easily due to the privilege of wealth. The author does address this in text, and it's not something that really bothered me all that much, because after spending time hanging out in the late 1950s political/legal world, knowing that Nick and Andy are going to be okay no matter what's thrown at them is pretty essential. At least for me.

The thesis of this book seems to be summarized in one line: "Maybe the trick is to put fear in its place so it doesn't take over," and it seems to be a timely message. The political and cultural climate for queer people in many locations across the U.S. is far from hospitable. It's easy to let yourself live in fear. But is living a life of fear really living? This book would argue no. This book felt like a call to action in the form of a warm blanket fresh out of the dryer.

ARC received from publisher via Netgalley.

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In the late 1950s, star reporter Nick should not have become fast friends with Andy, the newspaper’s owner’s son, but he can’t resist Andy’s endearing charm. When Andy splits from his fiancee, Nick offers to let Andy stay at his apartment despite knowing that it could open himself, a gay man, up to suspicion. Andy is on his own journey discovering that he is bi and falling in love with his best friend, Nick. The pairs friendship moves naturally into one of a loving partnership.

This book is perfect. I am a massive fan of Cat’s Cabot series (also mid-century and queer) so I have been looking forward to it and it exceeded my wildest expectations. Cat just knows how to write the loveliest, softest, disaster (in the best way) queer characters. Nick and Andy were just absolutely wonderful. They are an opposites attract couple. Nick is a gruff, Italian American who is a big softy who wants to keep everyone fed and happy underneath his hard exterior. Andy is earnestly chaotic and has a warmth to him that no one can resist. In addition to our main men there are wonderful side characters, many of which are also queer. I also loved the cameo by Twitter’s favorite cat, Jorts.

At its heart this book is one about both family and found family. Both Andy and Nick have complex relationships with their families, but like most families, there is still a lot of love. Andy’s father is accepting of Andy but years of being uninvolved in each others lives keeps things strained. Nick’s family is closeish, but with a brother who is a cop he knows he must be cautious. Together Andy and Nick form their own family starting with the solid basis of friendship. I loved seeing their circle of friends slowly grow as they become more confident in themselves and their relationship.

I can’t wait to read this book again. I highlighted so many passages, many of which touched me deeply, that I know that this book will be one that I return to again and again. Thank you to Avon and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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This was pretty slow and meandering, but Nick and Andy are sweet and likeable protagonists. Cat Sebastian is a wonderful writer, but there isn't actually much story happening here.

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“I don’t know how we’ll make it work but I want it anyway.” // “…I want to be with you, and that’s all there is to it. The rest is details.”

Buckle up, gays, Cat Sebastian has done it again! WE COULD BE SO GOOD is a triumph, a queer historical romance set in 1950s New York City that is by turns heartbreaking and hopeful. The two main characters are an utterly delightful pair: Nick Russo, a secretly gay reporter taking on the entire police force (including his brother) with his thinly veiled corruption stories, and Andy Fleming, heir to the newspaper, a walking bisexual disaster with an achingly good heart. They become friends over late nights in the newsroom and baseball games, arguing about subway lines and scheming against cops, Nick stubbornly looking out for Andy and suppressing his attraction while Andy slowly realizes his admiration and jealousy might add up to some other kinds of feelings for Nick. Sebastian hits all the beats: best-friends-to-lovers and idiots-to-lovers, “oh my god they were roommates” and workplace romance, bisexual awakening and the magic of rolled-up sleeves. The terror of being found out as gay in the 1950s is there too; Nick has lived a life of secret and brief liaisons, constantly looking over his shoulder and carefully avoiding even a hint of visible queerness. In classic Sebastian fashion Nick and Andy’s love story finds a way through that is both heroic and simple, leveraging Andy’s wealth while critiquing inequality. I adored how domestic their romance is - morning coffee and making each other soup, bringing home flowers and cuddling on the couch watching TV - and how that ties into the novel’s ending and Nick and Andy’s future. Oh and the queer found family! Working through family trauma! The silly stray cat! Trust me, you’ll want to get your hands on this one. Thanks Avon for the review copy! This novel is out June 6.

Content warnings: homophobia, threats of being outed, beatings, police violence

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I really enjoyed this, as I have essentially all Cat Sebastian books I've read.

The historic setting of a 1950's newspaper city desk was interesting - I could have done with even a little more on-the-job interaction with co-workers/work descriptions. And the constant fear and vigilance that gay men had to live with at the time is really very well portrayed.

A lot happens in terms of internal transformation of the characters, but not TOO much happens in terms of external plot dramatics (i.e. one of the main storylines that I thought would build to something more catastrophic is actually dealt with in a relatively quiet way) but I kind of liked this & enjoy the relationship between Nick and Andy & how it slowly builds, as well as the hints of implied degrees of acceptance (or not) amongst Nick's family members, and Andy's father.

The cat was maybe overkill (?) I get that it's a writerly device... but feel like I see this All. The. Time now.

A delicately written beautiful story. I'm definitely a Cat Sebastian auto-read fan.

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As always with Cat Sebastian, a delightful read full of feels and fun historical details! Despite already knowing that a Cat Sebastian book is "no plot, all vibes" I wasn't sure if I should be bracing for a more active plot, involving crooked cops or the newspaper going out of business or something. Fear not! The romance is the plot, as it should be. I wasn't really digging the first section — I don't think an introduction in vignettes really works. If you don't want to actually write the section, you can do it in flashbacks and have it feel less disconnected. Once the story actually got moving, though, it was a solid read! The historical notes at the end are really great as well. I really enjoyed the ongoing references to Mary Renault's <i>The Charioteer</i>, which I thought was depressing when I read it (in college, probably?) without appreciating that it was a much happier ending than queer books at the time got to have!

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The blurb for this sweet, delightful book is a disaster and doesn't begin to do it justice. I wish publishers would stop using "this is a mashup of x and y, perfect for x fans" as a strategy, since as far as I can tell the book has nothing in common with x, y, or z in this case. Describing Nick, a thoughtful and lonely man who's been afraid of having his sexuality discovered for his entire life, as a "scrappy reporter" is frankly bizarre.

Ok, on to the good stuff. Cat Sebastian is branching out into mid-twentieth century historicals and is doing a bang-up job. Her recent short works (the Cabots) are lovely but largely "just vibes," while this more substantial work is both a lovely romance and a slice of life piece about what it was like to be gay in late 1950s New York City. Spoiler alert: it was really hard.

Dual POV is a very traditional and popular approach to romance, but Sebastian takes a unique approach, giving each main character several chapters before alternating so readers have a strong sense of their emotions and perspective. There's no flashbacks, either, so we don't have to read rehashes of events, and are asked to extrapolate how Nick feels about something when we're in Andy's head and vice versa. I loved this so much as a strategy that I forgave the book for being in the present tense, something I generally don't enjoy. The third person limited POV was also a blessing here.

I didn't expect this book to start off with an M/F romance plot for Andy while he and Nick built their budding friendship, but it really worked, and made Andy's slow discovery of his own sexuality feel more authentic, given the societal expectations and social mores of the time.

This was a moving portrait of two men coming to terms with what they want and what they think they can't have: loving relationships, detentes with their families, meaningful and fulfilling careers, and the safety to fully be themselves. Funny and sad and warm-hearted, We Could Be So Good is a fantastic book. I have a feeling this will only become richer and more nuanced upon a reread.

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This isn't the first book I've read by Cat Sebastian, but it's absolutely my favorite! This wonderful story about Nick and Andy working at a newspaper together in the late 1950s made me laugh and cry. If I could give it more than 5 stars, I would.

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