Monday, August 8, 2022

Ben and Beatriz: A Novel by Katalina Gamarra

(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)

about book:

Which of his bad qualities did she fall for first?

Harvard senior Beatriz Herrera does not have a post-graduation plan. What she does have is a shaved head, a sharp tongue, political views that skew so far left she’s this close to eating the rich, and deeply rooted trauma from the results of the 2016 election.

Still, she would do anything for her sweet, opposite-from-her-in-every-way prima, Hero. Even if it means watching Hero and her boyfriend, Claudio, make googly eyes at each other all spring break. And even if it means spending that week at the Cape Cod mansion of Claudio's best friend and Beatriz's worst nightmare: arrogantly attractive playboy Ben Montgomery. Ben is everything Beatriz can’t stand: he’s white, he’s rich, his taste in literature is the embodiment of toxic masculinity, he’s already got a post-grad job lined up in Boston’s Financial District (with a cushy loft that's paid for, of course), and he’s a walking reminder of the steamy night they spent together four years ago, during their very first week of college. A night that cemented her disdain toward him forever—not that she plans on telling him why.

When a night of drinking games takes a terrifying turn, Ben and Beatriz are forced to put aside their dislike for each other to save someone’s life. What follows--over the course of several months--is an unraveling, as both of them learn how wrong they've been about the other, and a rebuilding of something new and surprisingly tender. But does a country so bitterly divided have space for this kind of love story?

my thoughts:

What a clever and fun retelling of Shakespeare's, Much Ado About Nothing! I just LOVED Katalina Gamarra's new novel, Ben and Beatriz! Talk about a smart and modern story!

Ben and Beatriz are both students at Harvard. She's queer, strong, and independent; whilst Ben is a privileged playboy. They hooked up freshman year, but that was ages ago and let's just say they aren't fans of each other. Except, now they are forced to spend their spring break together. Turns out Hero, Beatriz's most favorite person in the world, is dating Claudio, Ben's BFF. Ugh. So, yep, the foursome will be wiling away their spring break days at Ben's Cape Cod mansion. Talk about a nightmare turned into reality. Or at least, that is how Beatriz views the trip. Ben isn't too thrilled either. However, the more time they spend verbally sparring with one another, the more the sparks between seem to fly. Yep, turns out that opposites most definitely attract and maybe spring break won't be as awful as Beatriz first thought it would be.

Gamarra has written a terrific rendition of one of Shakespeare's beloved plays. There is romance and strife throughout the story that will make you smile, cringe, cry, and laugh. The characters are relatable, unlikeable, and flawed. And, the story itself is unputdownable. Ben and Beatriz is an entertaining and engaging story that will give you all the feels on a rainy summer day. I truly enjoyed every minute I spend with this book! What a treat!

I'd happily recommend Ben and Beatriz to anyone and everyone looking for their next great read - check it out!

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!

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