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Rock the Boat by Beck Dorey-Stein

Rock the Boat

“[A] witty, heartfelt debut novel about a belated coming-of-age.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)

Old friends discover how much has changed (and how much has stayed the same) when they reunite in their seaside hometown for one unforgettable summer—from the New York Times bestselling author of From the Corner of the Oval

Read an Excerpt

Part I

Road to Nowhere

Kate Campbell opened her eyes but couldn’t see a thing. It was the middle of the night and, like a young Miss Clavel only less French and more ginger, she knew something was not right. Recalling the details of the previous evening, however, she realized it was just the opposite—­nothing was wrong, and everything was finally about to be extremely right.

Kate smiled in the dark as all the evidence accumulated to form an arrow pointing at a singular fact: Thomas would propose to her in the morning. Wriggling back under the covers, Kate grinned as she imagined what everyone would think besides It’s about time. Of course it was about time; it had been twelve years.

Despite—­or maybe because of—­the countless, candid conversations they’d had about how and when to get engaged, Kate was shocked that Thomas would spring this on her. It was impressive, really, to still surprise someone after more than a decade of dating (never mind those two rocky breaks when he was stressed in med school, or those six months his first year of surgical residency, or this second fellowship). They’d agreed forever ago that the only real incentive to marry would be if...

Excerpted from Rock the Boat by Beck Dorey-Stein. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


“Lively [and] intelligent.”People

“The perfect . . . read for anyone who craves a smart story with a happy ending.”Oprah Daily

“It’ll hit you right in the feelings. Beck, will you please write a sequel?”HelloGiggles

“Whip-smart and perfectly capturing that delicate balance between your younger and adult selves, Dorey-Stein’s book will have you—gasp!—craving a reunion with your high school pals.”E! Online

“Sharp, irreverent, and compulsively readable—about how the best stuff in life is always what you didn’t plan.”—Lauren Weisberger, New York Times bestselling author of The Devil Wears Prada and Where the Grass Is Green and the Girls Are Pretty

“Beck Dorey-Stein’s buoyant first novel is about finding out who you are and what matters most when everything tips sideways. It’s about rediscovering what love costs and finding your way back to the people who truly mean home. Funny and effervescent, hope and heart-filled, Rock the Boat is a breath of delicious and utterly fresh air.”—Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife and When the Stars Go Dark

“Brimming with wit and warmth, and peopled with a terrifically vibrant cast of characters, Rock the Boat is a delightful, whip-smart page-turner with an expansive heart.”—Claire Lombardo, author of The Most Fun We Ever Had

“What a cocktail of a book, topped with frothy, delicious wit. Beck Dorey-Stein nails the pathos and comedy of that slippery, sideways path to (sigh) adulthood. We can be awful to the people we feel safest with—those who love us and who have known us the longest—and Dorey-Stein captures that truth beautifully. I’m wildly grateful to have discovered a novelist who delivers this amount of sheer pleasure on a page.”—Judy Blundell, author of The High Season
Rock the Boat is the warm, wonderful escape I’ve been wishing for. A novel with gorgeous sentences and complex, kind characters set in a Garden State beach town—what more could you want? Mix yourself a Paloma and sink in. . . . Dorey-Stein’s debut novel is sheer delight.”—Amanda Eyre Ward, author of The Jetsetters
“A witty and endearing escape.”Booklist
“The author perfectly captures what it means to come home again and rediscover yourself in the process.”Kirkus Reviews

Beck Dorey-Stein
Photo: © Lawrence Jackson

Beck Dorey-Stein

Beck Dorey-Stein grew up in Narberth, Pennsylvania, and taught high school English for three years before serving as a White House stenographer from 2012 to 2017. Her first book, From the Corner of the Oval, was a New York Times bestseller. She now lives on the coast of Maine.


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