Wild Things: A Novel
NEW YORK TIMES EDITOR'S PICK • Two best friends. One huge crush. A year that could change everything...
A warmhearted, hilarious queer rom-com about what happens when a group of friends are actually brave enough to live the dream and give up their dreary city apartments to buy a house in the country together. • “Real Emily Henry vibes but gay. Joyous, funny, sexy, and romantic—a triumph!”—Kate Sawyer, award-winning author of The Stranding
“Buoyant, charming, delectably wistful, and quietly earnest—not to mention, British enough to beguile even the subset of Americans who cuddle up to The Great British Bake Off on a Sunday afternoon.” —Casey McQuiston, The New York Times
"A delightful romance, complete with DIY home repair, a beautiful queer found family, and backyard hen.” —Ashley Herring Blake, bestselling author of Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail
El is in a rut. She’s been hiding in the photocopier room at the same dead-end job for longer than she cares to remember, she’s sharing a flat with a girl who leaves passive-aggressive smiley face notes on the fridge about milk consumption and, worst of all, she’s been in unrequited love with her best friend, effortlessly cool lesbian Ray, for years. So when a plan is hatched for El, Ray, and their two other closest friends—newly heartbroken Will and karaoke-and-Twilight-superfan Jamie—to ditch the big city and move out to a ramshackle house on the edge of an English country village, it feels like just the escape she needs.
Despite being the DIY challenge of a lifetime, the newly named Lavender House has all the makings of becoming the queer commune of the friends' dreams. (Will has been given a pass as the gang's Token Straight.) But as they start plotting their bright new future and making preparations for a grand housewarming party to thank the surprisingly but wonderfully welcoming community, El is forced to confront her feelings for Ray—the feelings that she’s been desperately trying to keep buried. Is it worth ruining a perfectly good friendship for a chance at love?
A VINTAGE ORIGINAL.
Praise for Wild Things: A Novel
A TOP 10 MOST ANTICIPATED ROMANCE OF SPRING 2023 (Publisher's Weekly)!
ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF THE YEAR: PASTE • ELECTRIC LITERATURE • LGBTQ READS
“Buoyant, charming, delectably wistful, and quietly earnest—not to mention, British enough to beguile even the subset of Americans who cuddle up to The Great British Bake Off on a Sunday afternoon. Eleanor blunders through love and sex with the exasperated, self-effacing vulnerability of Hugh Grant in Notting Hill. The friends’ slug-filled cottage is like living in the England half of The Holiday, if Jude Law were a butch lesbian devoted to refinishing the floorboards. Kay writes with a breezy but grounded crispness, like a bike ride through the country. . . . Wild Things is an excellent romantic comedy. It is not a sunny sky, but a sunbeam: energy focused into a patch of hopeful light.”
—Casey McQuiston, The New York Times
“Laura Kay could teach a masterclass on the low-key, wholesome, slightly messy queer rom com. . . . Wild Things is a friends-to-lovers romance, yes, but also a heartwarming exploration of found family. Kay breathes life into the book’s characters, all of whom are flawed and lovable and distinctly themselves. . . . Recommended for fans of droll British humor, readers of In at the Deep End and Queenie, and watchers of Fleabag and Feel Good.”
“Wild Things is one of my favorite books of 2023. It captures the pleasure/pain of a huge, heartfelt crush, and it also beautifully evokes the warmth of a loving community. I would love to stop by ‘the commune’ for a cup of tea with them all. A totally gorgeous read.”
—Beth O’Leary, author of The Flatshare
“Every few months, my pandemic pod of queer nerds jokes about leaving Brooklyn behind to build a rural commune that we lovingly refer to as Mount Gay, so I was the ideal audience for this book. . . . While there is a slow burn romance, the real love story is among this quartet [of friends], as they figure out how to build a home together.”
—Natalie Zutter, Paste
“Not only does a great story with found family await you, but so does a sweet friends-to-lovers romance.”
—Silvana Reyes Lopez, Book Riot, “25 of the Best Romance Books for Summer”
“A cheeky, queer love story—both platonic and romantic—that explores those years when you feel the openness of your future shrinking, and the relationships that help you survive them.”
—Arianna Rebolini, Bustle, “22 Beach Reads to Bring on Vacation This Summer”
“Brimming with both hilarity and heartfelt relationships, Wild Things is a delightful romance, complete with DIY home repair, a beautiful queer found family, and backyard hens. I adored El’s journey to realizing that only by taking risks can she really get what she wants, in both life . . . and love.”
—Ashley Herring Blake, USA Today bestselling author of Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail
“Wild Things filled my heart all the way up. El is the disaster bisexual of my dreams, and I fell in love with Ray, Jamie, Will, and Lavender House just like she did. I want to have a glass of wine (or three) with all of them. A hilarious story of queer friendship, queer longing, and queer triumph.”
—TJ Alexander, author of Chef’s Kiss
“Heartfelt, heartwarming and absolutely adorable, Wild Things by Laura Kay explores living and loving to your absolute fullest, and with each turn of the page, she encourages both her characters and readers to reach for the life they want and embrace the joyful ride.”
—Allison Winn Scotch, bestselling author of The Rewind
“Deeply felt and wonderfully whimsical, Laura Kay’s ode to getting wild is full of will-they-won’t-they spark and the resonance of life-changing questions. El and Ray’s is the perfect story of leaving everything you know and finding your meant-to-be.”
—Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka, authors of Do I Know You?
“Laura Kay has taken it to the next level—real Emily Henry vibes but gay. Joyous, funny, sexy, and romantic—a triumph!”
—Kate Sawyer, award-winning author of The Stranding
"A sparkling, witty read filled with the most down-to-earth, loveable characters. The comedic timing is pitch-perfect too."
—Lizzie Damilola Blackburn, author of Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband?
“Funny, moving, and inspirational. A gorgeous love story with a lot of wild and wonderful life lessons swimming in there too. A hoot and a half. As a fellow nervous soul, I was cheering Eleanor on the whole way. A love letter to friendship, fresh starts, and the joy of taking chances.”
—Marianne Cronin, author of The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot
“Wild Things feels fresh and exciting—a touching and realistic read with wonderful characters. I love Laura Kay’s writing.”
—Katie Fforde, author of One Enchanted Evening
“This book made my heart sing! A tale of unrequited love set on a queer commune, Wild Things has a great cast of characters, stacks of charm, and so much feeling. Laura Kay just gets better and better.”
—Matt Cain, author of The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle
“I completely and utterly adored Wild Things. It's perfectly observed, brilliantly funny, full of queer joy and such a timely exploration of what adult life could and should look like now.”
—Emma Hughes, author of No Such Thing as Perfect
“Fresh, fun, thoughtful and hopeful, a joyfully messy story of contemporary queer life.”
—Bethany Rutter, author of Welcome to Your Life
“A cute queer rom-com that feels like a warm hug. . . . Both compulsively readable and tremendously enjoyable.”
“This sweet LGBT slow-burn romance is balanced by well-developed secondary characters, snappy dialogue, and fun farm animals named after characters from Twilight. For readers who enjoy British contemporary romance authors with a wry sense of humor, like Alexis Hall.”
—Kristina Giovanni, Booklist
“Kay has a sharp eye for Millennial culture, and her humorous dialogue and fully fleshed-out characters make for a satisfying novel. A queer coming-of-adulthood tale with enough cheekiness to make growing up seem not so bad.”
“Kay spins a compelling story about creating queer family and falling in love with your best friend, while keeping a light tone throughout. Readers who want a true romantic comedy and enjoy the distinctly deadpan narrative voices of Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle or Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary will enjoy Kay’s U.S. debut.”
—Sierra Wilson, Library Journal