You, Again

A Novel



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September 12, 2023 | ISBN 9780593790243

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About the Book

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • “This gender-swapped When Harry Met Sally retelling is for anyone who craves romance novels with realistic and flawed characters. Ari and Josh circle each other for years in the kind of delicious, slow-burn tension that only comes from a well-executed enemies-to-friends-to-lovers arc.”—NPR

“Fresh, witty, and utterly romantic.”—Ali Hazelwood, author of The Love Hypothesis


Can they stop hating each other long enough to fall in love?

When Ari and Josh first meet, the wrong kind of sparks fly. They hate each other. Instantly.

A free-spirited, struggling comedian who likes to keep things casual, Ari sublets, takes gigs, and she never sleeps over after hooking up. Born-and-bred Manhattanite Josh has ambitious plans: Take the culinary world by storm, find The One, and make her breakfast in his spotless kitchen. They have absolutely nothing in common . . . except that they happen to be sleeping with the same woman.

Ari and Josh never expect their paths to cross again. But years later, as they’re both reeling from ego-bruising breakups, a chance encounter leads to a surprising connection: friendship. Turns out, spending time with your former nemesis is fun when you’re too sad to hate each other—and too sad for hate sex.

As friends-without-benefits, they find comfort in late-night Netflix binges, swiping through each other’s online dating profiles, and bickering across boroughs. It’s better than romance. Until one night, the unspoken boundaries of their platonic relationship begin to blur. . . .

With sharp observations and sizzling chemistry, You, Again explores the dynamics of co-ed friendship in this sparkling romantic comedy of modern love in all its forms.
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Praise for You, Again

“This is a When Harry Met Sally retelling that spotlights two enemies-turned-friends-turned-lovers over the course of a decade in New York City. It’s raunchy and lovable and laugh-out-loud funny.”—USA Today

“This gender-swapped When Harry Met Sally retelling is for anyone who craves romance novels with realistic and flawed characters.”—NPR, “Books We Love in 2023”

“[Kate] Goldbeck . . . upends gender norms [and] approaches the love story here with a frankness that hallmarks many of the norms and challenges of millennial dating. . . . Much of that is welcome, whether it be the wider range of sexual identities on display or the multicultural make-up of the cast of characters that feels distinctly more like the reality of a bustling metropolis.”—Entertainment Weekly, “Our Favorite 2023 Fall Romance Novels”

“This is a romance sung in perfect pitch! A spectacular debut!”—Christina Lauren, New York Times bestselling authors of The Unhoneymooners

“If the cover alone isn’t enough to hook you already—When Harry Met Sally vibes blended with that absolutely perfect aesthetic for the autumn season—then perhaps the conceit of Goldbeck’s debut romance will achieve the rest . . . There’s no doubt in our minds that Nora Ephron herself would approve.”Paste Magazine

You, Again is a knockout. Ari and Josh are my favorite type of couple—funny, flawed, and complicated, with prickly exteriors hiding tender hearts. I’ll be first in line for anything Kate Goldbeck writes from now on.”—Ava Wilder, author of How to Fake It in Hollywood and Will They or Won’t They

“This book is raw and sexy and radically vulnerable, and I’m already desperately missing Ari and Josh.”—Rachel Lynn Solomon, New York Times bestselling author of Weather Girl and The Ex Talk

“It’s funny and sharp, crackling with wit and chemistry, a clever homage to all the best parts of romantic comedies while making them feel new.”—Alicia Thompson, bestselling author of Love in the Time of Serial Killers

“This is a luxurious contemporary romance to savor. Every character is as sexy as they are gloriously messy. I’m officially a fan and can’t wait to see what Kate does next!”—Rosie Danan, author of The Roommate

“The humor is sharp, the dialogue is equal parts poignant and fun, and the romance will make you giddy.”—Tarah DeWitt, author of Funny Feelings

“An edgy, modern, slow-burn love story, with nipple piercings.”—Georgia Clark, author of It Had to Be You

“This debut romance ticks all the boxes of a must-read, with plenty of bite giving it edge.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“The influence of When Harry Met Sally is clear, with Goldbeck updating the classic for the modern day. The result is witty, emotional, and deeply romantic.”Publishers Weekly
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You, Again


“Excuse me, sir?” Ari stands her ground, feet shoulder-width apart, on the sidewalk in front of the Brooklyn Museum. “I know that someone who waited ten minutes for a six-dollar cold brew has the time to stop and talk to me about protecting the second-largest bobcat habitat in New Jersey.”

Always best to start with a provocation. None of that “do you have a moment?” crap. No pedestrian in this city has “a moment” for a canvasser.

The tall man in sunglasses, expensive jeans, and a dark sweater—slightly hunched from the weight of a large backpack— slows down, not quite to a full stop. He glances at her neon vest and binder, realizing his mistake a half-second too late.

“I’m on a f***ing call!” he snaps, angling his body to route around her.

It’s fine. Ari is used to people faking calls to avoid engaging with her. She takes a step to the right, blocking his path again.

She needs one more donation to make quota, so Tall Sweater Nightmare Man can give her twenty seconds to make the case for the bobcats.

“Can I have a sip?” She reaches toward his cold brew cup with a minimalist Blue Bottle logo. “I’ve had a super long day out here.” This trick—passed down from Gabe, her coworker-with-benefits—works about twenty percent of the time, which is a phenomenal success rate in the business of pestering strangers for (no) fun and (little) profit.

“Un-f***ing-believable!” He lifts the cup out of her reach and jaywalks across Eastern Parkway, turning his head to look back at her and scowl.

Or maybe to ensure she’s not following him.

When Gabe told their improv class about the “lucrative opportunities” with ProActivate, he’d assured them that they’d become accustomed to constant brush-offs, the lack of eye contact, the utter rejection. “It’s good practice for comedy,” he’d said. “And it pays better.”

Everything pays better than comedy.

But at least onstage you can flop in front of dozens of people at once. Ten efficient minutes of agony. On the street, it’s like extending your hand every thirty seconds and getting one of those extra-painful envelope paper cuts in return.

Something, something . . . the definition of insanity.

Ostensibly, Ari moved to New York to pursue comedy. When she met Gabe, one of the charismatic leaders of the sketch comedy theater where Ari had planted her flag four months ago, he’d spun tales of casting agents frequenting open mics and late-night encounters with Daily Show writers. He’d become a hero and a crush.

What Gabe neglected to mention is that most of those encounters occurred while he worked the register at the noodle place down the block from the studio.

On the drizzly walk home, she keeps an eye out for one last chance to make her donation quota. The woman with the promotional umbrella, letting her Yorkie pee on a flower bed? The stocky man with a gingery beard and thick-frame glasses, waiting in the doorway of a bar on Washington Avenue? But neither feels likely. Resigned, Ari turns to head toward home.

When she responded to Natalie’s posting on Craigslist, looking for someone to sublet the “cozy” second bedroom in her “Prospect Heights–adjacent” apartment, Ari quickly discovered it was actually a twenty-five-minute walk from Prospect Heights. “The room is technically considered a closet,” Nat had explained when Ari came to look at it, “but there’s already a lofted twin bed in there and a desk would totally fit.”

The desk didn’t fit. But living with Natalie was definitely preferable to Ari’s last living situation, which was a futon in a friend’s cousin’s living room.

Especially tonight. Natalie spent the weekend in the Hamptons and she won’t be back until late. The apartment will be luxuriously empty: the perfect opportunity for Ari to use her noisiest vibrator.

That was the plan, anyway.

“Guess who met quota standing outside Whole Paycheck?” Gabe is leaning against the front door to her building, under the awning, just out of the rain. He has the classic good looks of an Eddie Bauer catalog model or someone who poses for stock photos, with his wavy-but-coiffed hair and twinkling brown eyes. “Like shooting fish in a barrel. How’d you do?”

Gabe pushes off the brick wall, his neon ProActivate vest tucked into the back pocket of his jeans. He’s always a big hit with the leashes-and-strollers crowd.

“One short,” Ari replies, fishing her keys out of her pocket.

“Bummer.” He holds up a Blu-ray of Inception. “Wanna finish it?”

It’s a flimsy pretense. They’ve been “watching” Inception for the last three weeks, in fourteen-minute increments. Last time, they’d paused after a particularly horny round of “F***, Marry, Kill.” (Ari: Hardy, Watanabe, Gordon-Levitt. Gabe: Cotillard, Murphy, DiCaprio.)

“Natalie’s out,” Ari says, forcing her key into the lock. “I was planning on—”

“Perfect.” He holds the door open. “I have a date in Boerum Hill later.”

When they get in the apartment, Gabe pulls off his shirt before Ari gets the disc in Natalie’s Blu-ray player.

It’s convenient, this thing with Gabe. He’s easygoing, open to trying new stuff. Proficient at undoing her bra with one hand. They both want sex and to not be boyfriend-girlfriend in equal amounts. He’s the first man Ari’s been with who doesn’t take it as a huge personal failing if she introduces a vibrator into the equation.

And after dealing with face-to-face rejection all day, it’s nice to be wanted.

At 1:06:47 into the movie and two pairs of underwear on the floor, the intercom buzzes in three shrill bursts.

“Did you order takeout?” Gabe asks, breathing hard. He flops back onto the sofa. “A sandwich actually sounds amazing right now.”

“How would I have done that?” Ari sits up. “With my third hand?” Two more buzzes trill through the apartment, followed by one sustained buzz.
Ari rolls off the sagging couch and stumbles to the intercom. She punches the talk button: “Yeah?”

The response is a garbled mix of static, a low voice, “food,” and “Natalie.”

“Buzzer’s broken,” she says. “I’ll come down.” Ari tugs her tank top over her head. “Natalie orders these macrobiotic meals,” she tells Gabe, who’s already back on his phone. “Must be the delivery guy.” She picks his boxers up off the rug, scanning the floor. “Crap. Where did my underwear go?”

“Underwear is overrated.” Gabe heaves himself off the couch. “I’m gonna jump in the shower.”

Ari pulls on his boxers, shoves her feet into her sneakers, and jogs down the stairs to grab the meals from the delivery guy. When she reaches the ground floor, she sees a hulking shadow through the window at the top of the heavy door at the entryway. But as she begins to open the door, the shadow takes on a familiar shape.

Tall Sweater Nightmare Man is standing under her awning, holding a reusable shopping bag of produce that looks like an eighteenth-century Dutch still life.

He’s pale and lanky—mid-twenties?—with dark hair and a longish face that’s oddly proportioned.

But not in a bad way.

His eyes move back and forth across the slice of her face that’s visible between the frame and the door.

Ari clears her throat. “Can I help you?”

About the Author

Kate Goldbeck
Kate Goldbeck grew up in a literal village and dreamed of living in New York, even though her parents warned her that the apartments on Friends were not realistic. In college, she studied film and art history—limiting her employment prospects to “film museum.” Since earning a master’s degree at an engineering school, she’s designed award-winning museum exhibits and immersive experiences all over the world. She adores bantering with her partner, falling asleep to British audiobook narrators, and scratching dogs behind the ears. More by Kate Goldbeck
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