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How to End a Love Story Book Club Questions with Discussion Guide (PDF)

Book club questions and discussion guide for How to End a Love Story by Yulin Kuang, a spicy romance book which you won’t be able to put down.

This novel has been selected as Reese’s April 2024 book club pick, but it’s also a book that will make your group members smile while still providing ample opportunities for discussion.

how to end a love story book discussion guide

If you haven’t yet read the book, skip down to the Summary & Review sections at the bottom to read a synopsis of How to End a Love Story. We’ve also included reviews from our readers to help you decide if it’s right for your book club.

What’s Included in This Guide: Online & Printable Versions

Everything you need for a successful book club meeting for How to End a Love Story is included below. You’ll find discussion questions, food and drink ideas, and more!

We also have an optional printable How to End a Love Story book club kit with book club questions to take your meeting to the next level. This blog post is customized to How to End a Love Story and includes the following:

  • Character List
  • Discussion Questions
  • Quotes from the Book
  • Themed Icebreaker Ideas
  • Printable Bookmarks
  • Extra Info: Author facts
  • Themed Food & Drink Ideas
  • Book Covers from Around the World
  • Custom Journal Page for Meeting Details
  • Themed Notes Page
  • List of Additional Book Club Resources

About the Author | Q&A with Yulin Kuang

Book Club Questions | Additional Recommendations | Book Club Kit (PDF)

About How to End a Love Story

how to end a love story reeses book club pick

How to End a Love Story is a romantic book about two people, Helen Zhang and Grant Shepard, who have a complicated past. They haven’t seen each other in thirteen years, since a tragic accident linked their lives forever.

Helen and Grant are thrown together in the writers’ room. Their old feelings resurface, making things messy but also exciting.

The book explores themes like grief, forgiveness, love, and self-acceptance, and is about whether they can move beyond their history and find love again.

How to End a Love Story by Yulin Kuang

Release date: April 09, 2024
Genre: Asian American Literature & Fiction
Hardcover: 382 pages
Publisher: Avon

How to End a Love Story Book Reviews

how to end a love story book review 1

“How to End a Love Story is one of the sexiest, smartest, funniest, and most effective novels I’ve read in a long time. Yulin Kuang’s voice is strong, sure, and singular—I’ll read anything she writes. An absolute star.”
— Emily Henry, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

“Screenwriter and director Kuang will break readers’ hearts and then put them back together with her brilliantly written debut romance… an exceptional love story replete with all the witty banter and electric chemistry any romance reader could ever crave.” — Booklist (starred review)

“I was hooked on the very first page of How to End a Love Story, the absurdly delicious debut from Yulin Kuang. The chemistry between Helen and Grant is pure magic, as is Yulin’s gorgeous writing. I need seven other books from her ASAP. Don’t miss this one!” — Carley Fortune, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

“Impossibly tender, funny, sexy, and heart-wrenching, How to End a Love Story is a gorgeously original romance — and so much more — that will leave you laughing, sobbing, and desperately wishing that it would never end. This is the kind of glorious gut-punch of a book that you’ll want to share with all your friends, and reread over and over. I fell in helpless love with Helen and Grant’s unforgettable story, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” — Lana Harper, New York Times Bestselling Author

How to End a Love Story Characters

These are the key characters that bring How to End a Love Story to life. Keep this list handy as a quick reference during your discussions—it’ll help keep track of who’s who as you delve into conversations. 

  • Helen Zhang: Helen is a driven and successful author who finds herself at a crossroads in her life. She has achieved fame and recognition for her young adult novels. However, she struggles with imposter syndrome and writer’s block. Helen is portrayed as intelligent, deeply reserved, and also affected by a tragic accident involving her sister, which Grant Shepard was indirectly involved in. Her journey in the novel is about navigating her career aspirations, which means confronting her past, while at the same time she needs to find courage to embrace new beginnings in Los Angeles.
  • Grant Shepard: Grant is a screenwriter who has carved out a career in Hollywood, and is trying to move on from the guilt and trauma of the past. He is depicted as charming, outgoing, and well-liked by those around him. Despite his affable nature, Grant carries emotional baggage from the accident years ago that connects him to Helen. His character arc revolves around seeking redemption, reconciling with his past actions, and grappling with his feelings for Helen as they work together on the TV adaptation of her novels.
  • Helen’s Parents: Helen’s parents play a significant role in the story, particularly in how they perceive Grant due to the tragic accident. They are portrayed as traditional and deeply affected by grief, struggling to accept Grant’s presence in Helen’s life. Their disapproval adds tension to Helen and Grant’s relationship.

We hope this character list is a helpful reference as you prepare to discuss the book.

Book Club Questions for How to End a Love Story

how to end a love story book promo
  1. HOW TO END A LOVE STORY features Asian protagonists navigating life in LA’s entertainment industry. How does Yulin Kuang incorporate cultural elements into the story? Consider Helen’s reflection on her identity, “Mom, you spent two and a half decades telling me to focus on school and work and not to think about boys. Maybe the reason I’m not married is because I’m such a guai nui.”
  2. Reflecting on Helen and Grant’s personal growth throughout the novel, what were the pivotal moments or decisions that defined their development? Did you find their evolution believable?
  3. Yulin Kuang mentions that “North and South” by Elizabeth Gaskell is a formative text for her. How do you see the influence of classic literature, particularly works like “Pride and Prejudice,”  in this novel.
  4. Discuss Helen and Grant as characters. How does Yulin Kuang use their backgrounds and personalities to explore the love and growth, as well as vulnerability they experience between each other?
  5. Helen is portrayed as a deeply introspective and sometimes self-doubting character. Did you see any aspects of yourself in Helen’s personality or struggles? How did her journey resonate with your own experiences of navigating personal insecurities and growth?
  6. Grant and Helen navigate a complex relationship marked by tragedy and unresolved emotions. Discuss how their past influences their present interactions. Consider Grant’s sentiment, “If loving Helen—even if it was never really his right to love her in the first place—means he gets to carry some version of her with him forever.”
  7. Were you surprised by any plot twists, or did you find the story predictable? How did the author keep or lose your interest throughout the narrative?
  8. As a writer herself, how do you think Yulin Kuang’s background in film and storytelling influences her novel? Are there aspects of her writing style that stood out to you?
  9. Can you identify a moment in the story where you strongly empathized with Helen’s struggles or felt a personal connection to her character? How did Yulin Kuang’s portrayal of Helen’s internal conflicts enhance your understanding of her journey?
  10. In what ways does HOW TO END A LOVE STORY distinguish itself from traditional romance novels in terms of themes and character development? Did the heavy themes and nuanced character portrayals enhance or challenge your expectations of the romance genre?
  11. The novel is described as heavy and emotionally charged, particularly in its exploration of trauma and personal growth. Which scenes or moments had the greatest emotional impact on you? How did the author effectively convey these emotions through the narrative?
  12. Were there specific scenes or interactions between characters that particularly moved you? How did these moments contribute to your emotional engagement with the story?
  13. The novel references a variety of cultural and literary touchstones, from Nora Ephron films to French cinema. How do these references enrich the story and characters?
  14. The novel incorporates nostalgic elements, such as high school memories and shared experiences. How do these nostalgic elements deepen your understanding of Helen and Grant’s present-day relationship?
  15. Helen’s relationship with her parents, particularly her mother, plays a significant role in shaping her views on love and self-worth. How did these familial dynamics impact Helen’s character development and her approach to relationships with others, especially Grant?
  16. Some readers mentioned unexpected twists or soap opera-like moments in the romantic dialogues. How did these elements affect your engagement with the story? Did they add depth to the characters’ relationships or detract from the narrative?
  17. Yulin Kuang mentions blending realism into the romance genre. How does this affect your reading experience? Do you find it enhances the story’s depth?
  18. The novel shifts between different perspectives, including those of the characters and the writer’s room. How does this multi-perspective narrative style affect your understanding of the story?
  19. Both Helen and Grant undergo significant growth throughout the novel. How did their interactions with each other contribute to their personal development? In what ways did they challenge each other to confront their pasts and strive for a better future?
  20. Explore the relationship between Helen and Grant. How does their initial “trauma bonding” evolve throughout the novel? Do you think their relationship is portrayed realistically?
  21. Yulin Kuang’s voice as an author is distinct and witty. How does her voice contribute to the overall tone and atmosphere of the novel?
  22. The novel concludes with significant emotional resolutions for Grant and Helen. Were you satisfied with how their stories were wrapped up? Analyze the themes of closure and acceptance in the final chapters. Discuss whether the ending resonated with the characters’ journeys and the overall narrative.
  23. After completing the novel, how did your perception of Helen and Grant’s relationship evolve from beginning to end? Did your initial impressions of the characters change as you learned more about their backgrounds and personal struggles?
  24. Reflecting on your own experiences, did you find any parallels between Helen and Grant’s relationship and real-life situations? How did the novel’s themes resonate with your personal reflections on love, grief, and identity?
  25. The novel’s title, HOW TO END A LOVE STORY, suggests a reflection on closure and new beginnings. How did the conclusion of Helen and Grant’s story leave you feeling? Did it provoke any thoughts about the nature of endings and beginnings in your own life?

Quotes From How to End a Love Story

The following quotes from the book would each make a great talking point as part of a book club discussion. Be sure to bring any quotes you highlighted along the way as well.

“You don’t have to be completely healed to be everything I want. To be mine. I want every part of you, you silly infuriating woman. I love the parts of you I haven’t even met yet.”

“I’d rather have a fraction of you than all of someone else.”

“If I was writing one of those science-fiction novels Dad used to read to us, I’d start by inventing time travel and going back to our last fight in my bedroom. I’d come knock on your door and I’d tell you I’m sorry, and I love you. And then I’d push that lever back even farther, and I’d find our grandparents and I’d teach them how to say those things to our parents first.”

“What are you doing?” she murmurs, as he drops back into his swivel chair lazily. He presses the felt tip of the marker to her inner right thigh and starts writing. “Giving you my address,” he says.”

“I didn’t like myself very much back then,” she says. “And I worry, when I see people who knew me then, that they still see me the same way. So I make up mean stories about them in my head and they become less important, and it doesn’t matter because I’ll never see them again.”

“You could keep me your dirty little secret, come to me tasting like other men, I’d still take you back every fucking time,” he says, a muscle ticking violently in his jaw. “I’d rather have a fraction of you than all of someone else.”

“She loves her parents, she does, but it’s a prickly, complicated love, and suddenly Helen is swept up in a hopeless feeling that maybe all she’s capable of is prickly, complicated loving.”

“Mom, you spent two and a half decades telling me to focus on school and work and not to think about boys. Maybe the reason I’m not married is because I’m such a guai nui.” Such a good girl. It’s one of the only Cantonese phrases she knows, the one her parents and her grandparents would say to her as a compliment—when they were in front of their friends, when she did something they approved of, when they were reassuring each other in hushed tones after the funeral that Helen would never do something like this.”

“You don’t have to be completely healed to be everything I want. To be mine. I love every part of you, you silly, infuriating woman. I love the parts of you I haven’t even met yet.”

“It’s suffocating, being loved by you.” … “You don’t leave me an inch of space to breathe.”

How to End a Love Story Popular Highlights

Here are some popular highlights of the novel by Kindle readers:

She could never quite shake the feeling that she wasn’t a particularly vital member of any group—she wasn’t the fun one, or the good-at-planning-things one, or the model-hot one.” (highlighted by 280 people)

Helen tries to remind herself that her least favorite thing about herself is how much she cares about what other people think. And that they probably aren’t thinking about her anyway.” (highlighted by 282 people)

Maybe being bad at things in front of other people is the secret glue of friendship.” (highlighted by 313 people)

Familiaris Book Club Decor Ideas

Drawing inspiration from the book, here are our ideas:

  • Use fresh flowers as a centerpiece, which symbolize growth & renewal.
  • Incorporate elements such as vintage book covers or framed quotes from the novel. This will spark discussion and nostalgia among book club members.
  • Also, a cozy atmosphere with soft lighting is a must! Use plush cushions to remind of intimate moments between Helen and Grant.

How to End a Love Story Book Club Food Ideas

When asked in an interview about book club food, Yulin Kuang replied, “Think of dishes that resonate with layers of complexity and symbolism, like a delicate sushi platter representing the intricacies of Helen and Grant’s relationship, or perhaps a selection of dim sum to reflect the blend of Asian heritage and modern challenges in the story.

How to End a Love Story Book Club Beverage Ideas

For beverages, consider serving:

  1. Signature Cocktails: Cocktails that blend sweet and bitter notes to symbolize the complexities of relationships in the book.
  2. Asian-inspired Teas: Green tea and jasmine tea selections, echoing Helen’s cultural heritage and the tranquil moments of self-reflection in the novel.
  3. Mocktails: Another idea would be a non-alcoholic mix of citrus and herbs. This could represent Grant’s journey towards personal growth (and resilience).

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Get a Printable Version of the Book Club Guide?

Yes! We have a printable version of this novel, prepared just for you so you can use it with your book clubs. You’ll find it at the bottom of the post.

Is There a How to End a Love Story Audiobook?

Yes, there is an audiobook version of How to End a Love Story by Yulin Kuang.

Narrated by: Andrew Eiden and Katharine Chin

Publisher: HarperAudio

Released: April 09, 2024

Listening length: 11 hours and 06 minutes

Language: English

The Audiobook is available on platforms like Audible, ranking on the best sellers list under Multicultural Romance and Asian American Literature. You can get it for for free with Audiobook membership trial.

To read or listen to the audiobook? Our reader’s suggestion: “I absolutely love this love story! I highly recommend reading it instead of listening to the audiobook—or try both to get your own vibe. Initially, it felt long and drawn out just listening to it, but when I read it, I fell in love at the same pace as the characters. It’s the perfect balance of not too cliché, yet still satisfying those rom-com expectations. Granger is a likeable character, and Helen is in a compelling dilemma between desire/love and approval. I’ll definitely be buying this and adding it to my romance section on the bookshelf.

Is There a How to End a Love Story Movie?

Right now (summer 2024) there is no official movie adaptation of How to End a Love Story. However, considering the book’s popularity and its selection as a Reese’s Book Club pick, we wouldn’t be surprised if there were discussions or plans for a future adaptation.

What Are Some Other Books Like How to End a Love Story?

There are many, but some books you might enjoy that we’d recommend are:

  • Beach Read by Emily Henry – A romance about two writers with a complicated history who end up working together over the summer.

  • The Hating Game by Sally Thorne – An enemies-to-lovers romance set in a workplace.

  • You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle – A romantic comedy about a couple who engages in prank warfare while planning their wedding.

  • Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren – A second-chance romance about childhood sweethearts who reconnect years later.

  • One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid – A story about a woman caught between her fiancé and her presumed-dead husband.

If you’re looking for more suggestions, scroll down below for some recent book releases with similar themes to How to End a Love Story, along with their synopses.

Are There Other Books by Yulin Kuang?

We honestly can’t wait for that! With the huge success of this book, we would be surprised if Yulin didn’t continue writing.

Right now however, while she may not have other published books, Yulin Kuang is known for her work in other creative fields. She is a writer and director, and is mostly recognized for her short films and web series. Some of her notable works include:

  • I Ship It (a musical web series and later a TV show on The CW)
  • Kissing in the Rain (a popular web series)
  • Tiny Feminists (a series of short films)

Is How to End a Love Story Spicy?

Yes, very much, the novel includes spicy scenes and several (steamy) moments. For which we would also say are integral to the development of the romance between Helen and Grant.

For the spiciness level on a scale from 1 to 5, we’d give it a solid 4 stars!

What is the Age Rating for How to End a Love Story?

This book is generally suitable for mature audiences (aged 18 & above), due to its mature themes, emotional depth, as well as (obviously!) spicy content.

It is classified as a New Adult novel, which can include themes that resonate with young readers (think, late late teens to early twenties), but it is also enjoyed by older readers who appreciate complex romantic narratives.

Yulin Kuang Author Biography

yulin kuang author

Yulin Kuang is a screenwriter and director, whose credits include The CW’s I Ship It and Hulu’s Dollface. She was once fired from a Hallmark movie for being ‘too hip for Hallmark’ and is the adapting writer/director of Emily Henry’s Beach Read feature film for 20th Century Studios, as well as the screenwriter of the forthcoming People We Meet On Vacation film for 3000 Pictures.

Yulin’s own debut novel, How to End a Love Story, was Reese Witherspoon’s May ‘24 Book Club Pick and has been featured on Vogue, Elle, People Magazine, NPR, and more.

She is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, and is repped by UTA, Kaplan/Perrone, and Root Literary.

Q&A about How to End a Love Story with Yulin Kuang

Q: So, what’s your elevator pitch for How to End a Love Story?

Yulin Kuang: Um, yeah. So, the elevator pitch, I would say, is it’s about a screenwriter and a novelist who knew each other 13 years prior in high school, and their lives are kind of connected by this really terrible tragedy. Then, 13 years later, they’re in the same TV writers’ room for the adaptation of Helen, the novelist’s show.

Q: I love romances starring writers—they’re always so meta. What drew you to that dynamic?

Yulin Kuang: I know, right? I love a meta component. I feel like they’re always telling us to write what we know, and so then we end up with all these books about writers and TV shows about writers, and I can’t get enough of them. It’s so good.

Q: I read in an interview that you wrote How to End a Love Story while drafting Emily Henry’s People We Meet on Vacation screenplay and also adapting her Beach Read book to film. How did you manage all of that?

Yulin Kuang: I wrote this at a time when everything else I was working on was an adaptation—like “People We Meet on Vacation,” “Beach Read,” and even a “27 Dresses” reboot that didn’t go anywhere. I was really happy because I got into film because I was so obsessive about books that I wanted influence over their adaptations. So, I was living my dream, but I did have this moment where I was like, “Do I have anything original left within me?” So, it was kind of like excavating that and seeing what I would tell if I didn’t have to convince anybody else to let me tell it first.

Q: In your book, do you feel that the main characters, Helen and Grant, are trauma bonded?

Yulin Kuang: At the start, for sure, right? Like, I think they’re definitely kind of trauma bonded. And I think that is still a bond in some ways. I don’t think that is… I don’t want to discount that because I think having a quippy name for it makes it easier to dismiss somehow. But it is like, this is somebody who understands you in a way that others cannot. And then I think from there, I wanted to have them start to actually fall in love with each other as people. And so hopefully, by the end, yeah, they’re probably still trauma bonded. They’ll probably be trauma bonded for their entire lives. But then I also think that they’ve fallen in love enough with who they are as people that it is a love that encompasses a lot of bonds.

Q: Was there a specific moment when Helen and Grant’s relationship transitioned from shared history to genuine love?

Yulin Kuang: It happened so smoothly that I actually… I guess I was about two-thirds of the way through the book, and I was like, “Well, they are really, really in love.” And just as a person who does the same thing as you do and is interested in craft, I actually rewound and went back, and I was like, “When is the moment where it went beyond their shared history into them really liking and loving each other beyond that?” Like, I was actually trying to find, and there is no moment. It just… It was so… You know, it was just so smooth. It was like water, you know? They came together so nicely.

I think I was trying to, like, talk around it, like, um, where if they don’t call it love, but it’s so clear to the reader that it’s love, then it feels more like how falling in love has, I’ve experienced it. I guess, because, um, you know, there, yeah, I don’t know. I feel like the times I have fallen in love, which are very limited, it was kind of a thing of, I was aware of it maybe as it was happening, but I was also kind of trying to avoid it, you know?

Q: Was Helen’s avoidance in admitting her feelings a deliberate characterization choice?

Yulin Kuang: Yeah, I think there were probably a lot of chapters where Helen is just kind of avoiding admitting to herself that she’s in love with him. And then also the way everyone else sees it, it’s obvious, you know, to everyone else. Like, almost the found family in the writer’s room is like a reader proxy because they are witnessing what we’re also witnessing.

Q: What are your thoughts on the perceived limitations of the romance genre?

Yulin Kuang: I think there’s a tension between what is prestige and what is popular. People love romance, but when it ends with a happily ever after, it’s docked some sort of point in the minds of people outside of romance. It annoys me because there’s so much room for both light and fluffy and deep and sad in romance.

Q: You have a background in fanfiction. How has that influenced your writing?

Yulin Kuang: Fanfiction provided a training ground for a lot of people in romance. I came up in the and LiveJournal era. It’s so ID-level storytelling because it’s about exploring dynamics and playing in different worlds.

Q: What have you taken from your career as a screenwriter into writing novels?

Yulin Kuang: There’s a real economy of language in screenwriting, and you’re always thinking about not boring the audience. I try to keep my novels propulsive and moving, keeping the reader engaged.

Q: What are some of your romance touchstones across books, TV, and movies?

Yulin Kuang: There’s a book I really admire, North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. It’s quite formative for me. It takes the plot of Pride and Prejudice but adds a realism that’s different from Austen’s social satire, which we all love. Gaskell, on the other hand, blends social commentary with emotionally realistic portrayals, which I find compelling. This is something I’m drawn to and see reflected in your work as well. It’s like you infuse realism into magical realism, similar to how I loved The Night Circus.

Moving to movies, I’m a huge fan of Nora Ephron—I even named my car after her. When Harry Met Sally left a lasting impact on me. Additionally, I’ve enjoyed many French films, such as Priceless (Hors de Prix), starring Audrey Tautou. It’s about a woman seeking a sugar daddy in hotels but ends up accidentally seducing the bartender. When she discovers he’s not wealthy, she tries to back out, but it’s too late. The bartender then finds his own protector and becomes a kept man. It’s very French and delightfully absurd, yet it also nods to historical romances. This film always stands out to me for its intelligence, sensuality, and fun.

Q: Did writing during the pandemic help or hinder your process?

Yulin Kuang: Oh, absolutely, it made it easier. I think it also really crystallized for me what I was trying to do creatively. You know, if tomorrow isn’t promised, we don’t know what’s going to happen next, and we only have time to sing one song, what’s the story that I want to tell?

Q: “How to End a Love Story” dives into the world of TV writers’ rooms. How much of that was inspired by your own experiences?

Yulin Kuang: I work in features primarily at this point, but I did work in a TV writers’ room once. It was kind of a weird experience where my first room was for my own show—I was a 27-year-old with her own TV show. I wasn’t ready, but I learned a lot. The writers’ room chapters were a chance for me to revisit that time and talk to my younger self a little bit.

Q: Helen and Grant’s personalities are distinct in the book. Could you talk about how you developed their characters?

Yulin Kuang: Helen is the overachiever, editor-in-chief of her school paper, while Grant is the popular homecoming king, student body president—those kinds of things. High school is such an influential time in anyone’s life that it’s hard to say it doesn’t impact you.

Q: Speaking of high school, who were you in high school?

Yulin Kuang: I was the sort of All-American, presenting teen—National Honor Society, dance team, pom-pom squad. I presented as a normal person but was actually an alien—very strange, didn’t go to parties, couldn’t wait to come home and research old Hollywood.

Q: Let’s talk about the slow-burn romance in “How to End a Love Story.” Why did you decide to take that approach?

Yulin Kuang: I’ve always loved historical romances, which get at that yearning and the feeling of “it’s illegal if we touch.” I wanted to write a contemporary that felt like a historical in those ways with those stakes.

Q: The book balances sexy romantic elements with exploring trauma and grief. Why was it important for you to marry both themes?

Yulin Kuang: I think the best romances really understand that you want to go on this journey from something that can be deeply sad to that happily ever after. The best romances are truthful, and they show that you can be a sad person and still be funny.

Books Like How to End a Love Story

Summer Ever After by Jane Crittenden

Can love bloom again under the heat of the Spanish sun?

Ten years ago, while travelling before starting a cookery apprenticeship, Alice fell head over heels for Barcelona: the food, the sun and the gorgeous Andy Hall…Family tragedy sent her back to London, but now, finally, she’s been given the chance to return. Only to find herself working alongside none other than Andy, the only man to ever break her heart.

The decade apart has changed them both, though he still has his frustratingly good looks—and is Alice imagining it or does the spark that always existed between them still burn just as brightly? Not ready to risk getting hurt again, she focuses on exploring the culinary delights of the city, and begins to remember a life she once dreamed of…

As Alice rediscovers a world of possibilities under the hot Spanish sun, could there be a second chance for Andy and the love they used to share? Perhaps the vibrant flavours of Barcelona might just be the ingredients for everlasting love?

Bridesmaid For Hire by Meghan Quinn
bridesmaid for hire book

Sometimes the wedding of the century calls for desperate measures.
And sometimes those desperate measures are to pretend the person you hate most is actually your boyfriend.

After years of working her tail off at her event-planning business, Maggie Mitchell is ready for a vacation. With nothing on her mind but R & R, she’s enjoying the warm weather of Bora Bora when in saunters Brody McFadden, her brother’s best friend and also her sworn enemy. Thanks to years of tension between the two—kicked off by a make-out session at her brother’s wedding that ended horribly—Maggie has sworn to stay away from the man. That is, until she finds out he’s in Bora Bora for his boss’s daughter’s wedding, hoping to use the trip to win a real future at the company.

Maggie promised herself she wouldn’t even think of work on the island, but as word spreads about the “wedding of the century” taking place in the midst of her vacation, she realizes offering her services as a bridesmaid and planner could bring her business to the next level. The only catch? She needs to pose as Brody’s girlfriend to get the job…while letting him stay in her peaceful bungalow.

Tensions rise, irritation flairs, and despite years’ worth of bickering behind closed doors, Maggie can’t quite squash the sparks building between her and her new fake boyfriend, especially when she learns the real reason their first kiss was cut short. But as the wedding day draws closer and everything starts to go wrong, it just might be Brody who sends Maggie’s business crashing down—and her heart along with it.

Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan
summer romance book

The romantic and hilarious story of a professional organizer whose life is a mess, and the summer she gets unstuck with the help of someone unexpected from her past, by the bestselling author of Nora Goes Off Script.

Benefits of a summer romance: It’s always fun, always brief, and no one gets their heart broken.

Ali Morris is a professional organizer whose own life is a mess. Her mom died two years ago, then her husband left, and she hasn’t worn pants with a zipper in longer than she cares to remember.

No one is more surprised than Ali when the first time she takes off her wedding ring and puts on pants with hardware—overalls count, right?—she meets someone. Or rather, her dog claims a man for her…by peeing on him. Ethan smiles at Ali like her pants are just right—like he likes what he sees. He looks at her like she’s a younger, braver version of herself. The last thing newly single mom Ali needs is to make her life messier, but there’s no harm in a little summer romance. Is there?

How to End a Love Story Summary

Helen Zhang and Grant Shepard are two writers with a complicated past, who unexpectedly reunite when they end up working together on the TV adaptation of Helen’s popular young adult novels.

Thirteen years ago, a tragic accident linked their lives forever, and neither has fully moved past it! Helen (now a bestselling author), battles imposter syndrome and writer’s block (don’t all writers go through this?) as she navigates her new life in LA, hoping to to make a fresh start. Grant, on the other hand, is a well-liked screenwriter, struggles with panic attacks and unresolved feelings from their shared past.

As they collaborate, old wounds and deep-seated emotions resurface, which only complicate their professional and personal lives. Helen’s parents – who have never forgiven Grant for his role in the past tragedy – are unaware of his involvement in her life again. Despite their (we’ll say interesting) history & the barriers between them, like in all good romance books, they are drawn to each other, and their connection only grows deeper.

How to End a Love Story Review

Our favorite read of 2024 so far! WOW! We absolutely adored this book. It’s a perfect blend of heartbreaking and hilarious. The writing is exceptional, from the detailed character development to the perfectly paced slow burn and chemistry. And let us tell you, the spice was definitely spicing!

We’re huge fans of angsty stories, and this one delivered in spades. The yearbook scene will forever be etched in our memory (iykyk), and by the time the characters finally gave in, we were about ready to combust. The tragic backstory and the obvious reasons keeping them apart created a constant pit in our stomachs as we clung to hope and fell hard for them.

We truly appreciated the raw vulnerability of the main characters. They were both a bit “messed up,” and they knew it. Their unresolved issues kept them from being fully healthy and adjusted together, which made perfect sense to us. This book is a fantastic example of new adult fiction.

We also LOVED that the characters are our age, graduated the same year we did, and had high school memories that mirrored ours. This added a nostalgic feel that we absolutely adored!

Now, we’re off to play In Your Atmosphere by John Mayer on repeat because we’re convinced it’s their song. We’re not ready to leave this story behind just yet. Five stars. We highly recommend this to fellow angst lovers!

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We hope you found this book club guide helpful!

As a reminder, you can get the guide in a print-friendly format for your book club meeting below!

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If you’re planning ahead to your next book club pick, consider selecting another book from our list of guides to make your meeting preparation easy and fun!

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Happy reading! ❤️