Gamarra debuts with an equally steamy and thorny adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing set in the early days of Trump’s presidency. Beatriz “Bea” Herrera feels lost in the wake of the 2016 election, uncertain where she—a queer, biracial Latinx woman—will fit into America after graduating from Harvard in the spring. Her solace is her cousin, Hero. So, when Hero asks Bea if they can spend spring break with Hero’s new boyfriend, Claudio, Bea suppresses her hatred for Claudio’s best friend, Ben Montgomery, and agrees. Ben is a rich, straight, white man from a conservative family—the antithesis to Bea in every way. The trip proves tumultuous as the quartet contends with Ben’s antagonistic brother and his frequent microaggressions against Bea—and, of course, Bea and Ben match wits. But beneath their verbal sparring, the pair can’t ignore their lingering attraction from a one-night stand three years ago. Gamarra uses their love story to explore race, colorism, sexuality, and privilege, crafting a romance between two people who are all too aware of their differences but still find a safe space in each other. Fans of the original sparring hearts love story will find this a worthy update on the classic. Agent: Larissa Melo Pienkowsk, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Aug.)
"BEN AND BEATRIZ should be required reading. I want to scream at the entire world to pick up this book and read it! At times, I was shaking while reading because it made me feel so seen. Gamarra's novel is an incredible love story, yes, but beyond that it's also a deeply complex study on racism and privilege that goes so far beyond the surface. Its approach to mental health, consent, and sexual identity is brilliant and compassionate and so, so authentic. We should be studying this book. AAHHH!!!" — Jesse Q. Sutanto, author of Dial A for Aunties
"Katalina Gamarra weaves together the wit, banter and joy Shakespeare fans will expect from a modern retelling and the exploration of the complex topics of race, sexuality, class and more all with sensitivity and amazing skill. A fantastic debut!" — Samantha Young, New York Times bestselling author of Much Ado About You
“It was an absolute honour to read Ben and Beatriz, from the brilliant, unique new voice: Katalina Gamarra. This book tackles hefty themes with serious wit—truly a romance for our times. Engaging, thrilling and totally fresh. Bravo!” — Lizzy Dent, author of The Summer Job
“Gamarra uses [Ben and Beatriz’s] love story to explore race, colorism, sexuality, and privilege, crafting a romance between two people who are all too aware of their differences but still find a safe space in each other. Fans of the original sparring hearts love story will find this a worthy update on the classic.” — Publishers Weekly
“This creative retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing explores contemporary issues like drug addiction, suicide, mental health, class divides, racism, and more, all while the love story progresses quickly. An opposites-attract romance grappling head-on with real-world issues while still offering indulgent escapism.” — Kirkus
In this reimagining of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, queer, Latinx Beatriz is sharp of mind and tongue and always there for beloved cousin Hero, which lands her at the Cape Cod mansion of rich, white playboy Ben Montgomery. Ben represents everything Beatriz hates, but he's beginning to question the values of his conservative family. After they join forces to circumvent a tragedy, Beatriz and Ben reach a sort of rapprochement that could lead to a different kind of love story. With a 100,000-copy first printing.
It's the last spring break for the Harvard Class of 2017, and sworn enemies Ben Montgomery and Beatriz Herrera are spending their vacation at Ben's family’s mansion on Cape Cod.
Accompanied by Ben's roommate, Claudio, and Beatriz's cousin, Hero, who've just started dating, the two try to put aside their dislike of each other on behalf of their friends. Appalled by Ben's family's ostentatious wealth and his obvious White privilege, Beatriz, a queer Latinx woman distraught over the 2016 election, grapples with her mysterious attraction to this person who symbolizes everything she despises. Ben, at odds with his brusque older brother, John, and increasingly worried about his hometown friend Meg, who works at McDonald's, also questions his place with Beatriz, a woman he's always found intriguing. Their mutual nerdiness—this spring break involves studying on the beach and playing Magic: The Gathering—as well as their physical longing turn the enemies to secret lovers quite quickly and intensely, leading both Ben and Beatriz to question their identities, their values, and their places in society. Told through Ben’s and Beatriz's alternating first-person narratives, with plenty of text messages interwoven through the scenes, this creative retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing explores contemporary issues like drug addiction, suicide, mental health, class divides, racism, and more, all while the love story progresses quickly.
An opposites-attract romance grappling head-on with real-world issues while still offering indulgent escapism.