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Katalina Gamarra Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Ben and Beatriz (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Katalina Gamarra

Katalina Gamarra

Katalina Gamarra attended Drew University, a private university in Madison, New Jersey. She earned her BA in English and was recognized for both her creative writing and her academic expertise. She was also given an award in Shakespeare Study.

Before her vocation as an author, she worked as a literary scout, manuscript reader, galley critiquing, and as a bookseller. A native of Los Angeles, now she lives and writes in Boston with her husband, cat, and dog.

As evidenced by her university award in Shakespeare- she calls him “Billy Shakes”- her first novel is a reimagining of Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing. The writing of this book shares her love of Shakespeare but more importantly, it is a reflection how she worked through the struggles and issues of being a person of color and her feelings of being unwelcome in a WASP family. She came to realize how vital it is to keep fighting for one’s beliefs and to have the courage to prioritize your own respect over the sometimes harsh and unfair expectations of your own family.

Ms. Gamarra had to come to terms with the shift of being a welcome millennial of color during President Obama’s leadership to the rude reception and the crushing disappointment of how easily the progress of acceptance was undone under the influence of the party of trump.

In Ben and Beatriz, Ms. Gamarra gives you the lives of Beatriz Herrera and Ben Montgomery. These two characters are opposites in every sense of the notion. Their commonality is their sense of being trapped by family expectations that fly in the face of the values they are silently holding deep inside.

Beatriz Herrera is fierce and quick witted with a keen intellect. After the 2016 elections, she felt like her identity of being a biracial queer woman had been violently erased. The fact that her BFF cousin, Hero, has asked her to do something she absolutely doesn’t want to do, underscores her sense of depression. Her loyalty of Hero has her spending a week in Cape Cod, a bastion of WASP-ishness.

There she comes face to face with Ben Montgomery, a cliche of richness and the picture of what you thing when you hear rich, hot, Harvard guy. He’s tall, blonde, ripped, and wears maroon cashmere has a few Rolexes to choose from. And she has history with him.

Ben, the second son, is attending Harvard. He is doing the typical rich-boy college experience- sleeping around and frequently and predictably using his privilege. He harbors secrets like his love for Jane Austin and his doubts about the politics and policies of his very WASPish family.

In his freshman year at Harvard he meets Beatriz, a queer Latina woman, who had to work her ass of to get into Harvard. The never-ending obstacles make her tired and angry. Her race and her bisexuality coupled with a learning disorder and the memories of past traumas have created a stressful environment at Harvard. She is determined and keeps pushing forward.

Of course since they are complete opposites of each other they ended up sleeping together. And Beatriz has hated him since that one hookup. Ben doesn’t know why she does. It makes him insane because he was too drunk so he can’t remember what happened. Instead he calms himself down by snapping pencils and reading Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice.

There is one person Beatriz can’t stand even more than Ben. It’s his older brother John, who’s a walking talking WASP dick. He belittles Ben, is condescending to Ben’s college roommate and friends and looks through Beatriz like she’s the invisible domestic help. It’s going to be a long week and Beatriz wants to take the next train back to Boston.

Now at the Cape Cod mansion, Beatriz sees Ben’s public WASP image on full display with she has no interest in digging to what is underneath Ben’s well coiffed facade. Her caustic comments to him makes him wild- not in the way either expects. The heat between the two begins to unravel preconceived notions of each other and the resulting hookups are morphing into something real.

Besides giving us an entertaining romance between opposites, Ms. Gamarra reveals more of the character’s whiteness and queerness. Both characters reveal mistakes and show off their bad behaviors. Ben and Beatriz displayed their “dickish” behaviors. They correct each others grammar and pronunciations, which is rude to do to someone you just met.

Beatriz and Ben each think they are doing the other a solid by filling in the gap in their education. Neither gets extra points for graciously apologizing or admitting to their privilege or racist ideas with each other. They show their anger and lose their tempers with each other. This is presented as normal behavior and personal growth steps the both are experiencing in this condensed situation.

“Happy are they that hear their detractions and can put them to mending.” — Williams Shakespeare in Much Ado About Nothing.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Katalina Gamarra

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