Why Kristina Forest’s ‘The Neighbor Favor’ should be your next beach romance read

Summer days may be dwindling, but it's always a good time for a great read by Black romance writers like Kristina Forest.

There are many ways to bask in the last bit of sunshine before sweater weather returns. However, a relaxing day at the beach consistently soars to the top of many lists; the serene setting provides a perfect opportunity to get lost in stirring tales of love. 

The best romance novels weave passion and love into fantastic storytelling. Whether the love between the main characters is intense, subtle, or somewhere in between, the author’s words and narrative evoke emotion from the reader, often sparking a desire for that feeling. That’s because every avid romance writer and reader have one thing in common: a fascination with love. 

Kristina Forest, Black romance writers, Black beach reads, Black authors, Black books, Black romance novels, theGrio.com
“The Neighbor Favor” by Kristina Forest is perfect for romance fans. (Credits: cover: Penguin Random House; author photo: Steven Forest)

For romance author Kristina Forest, that fascination was sparked at 17 years old by the novels of Sarah Dessen. She recalls reading Dessen’s books and thinking she wanted to see similar stories with main characters that resembled her and her friends. From the moment Forest decided to pursue a career in writing, that was her goal.

“For my whole career, I’ve been writing about Black girls and Black women falling in love, and it’s what I know,” she told theGrio. “I think many of us, especially in the romance space, [are] just focusing on creating stories to make people feel good.”

Forest writes books inspired by her life and the lives of her friends. After writing three young adult romances, this year, she ventured into adult romance with her latest release, “The Neighbor Favor.” The book, which debuted in February, follows the love story of two deeply introverted bookworms, Lily Greene and Nick Brown. 

“When they meet … they’re not at their best, but as they encourage each other to be better and to want better for themselves, they’re falling in love, and they try to work on their communication,” Forest explained. “It’s a book about two book nerds who are very introverted and have a connection, and it makes their lives better.” 

Lily and Nick’s love story begins with passionate email exchanges and is powerful enough to make anyone’s heart flutter, replete with moments that will make the reader swoon, laugh and tear up. While the story is centered on the couple’s budding romance, Forest hopes their story shows readers that everyone deserves love. 

“Lily and Nick are both very hard on themselves and think that they don’t deserve good things,” she said. “They both help each other see that they do deserve to have happiness and to be happy. That’s the overall theme: [Everyone] is deserving of love, and we should all embrace that.”

Looking for more beach romance reads to escape in? Check out the following Black authors:

Kayla Grant theGrio.com

Kayla Grant is a multimedia journalist with bylines in Business Insider, Shondaland, Oz Magazine, Prism, Rolling Out and more. She writes about culture, books and entertainment news. Follow her on Twitter: @TheKaylaGrant  

TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. TheGrio’s Black Podcast Network is free too. Download theGrio mobile apps today! Listen to ‘Writing Black‘ with Maiysha Kai.