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You Spin Me

You Spin Me

a Beauty and the Beast inspired nostalgic romantic comedy

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Grab your parachute pants and your hair spray because we’re going back to the ’80s! Struggling actress Jessica is turning 30 and still holding out for a hero — until she calls into DJ Callihan’s radio show! As the two strangers connect over late-night phone calls, the end of an era doesn’t feel so lonely…

Book Description

★★★★★ “A beautiful, emotional story about two damaged souls making a connection over late night phone calls.”- Goodreads review

Some scars go further than skin deep…

1988 doesn’t end well for me. In just one week I turn thirty, get fired from my day job, and lose the role of Ophelia to a younger actress. Jessica Abraham does not give up on her dreams without a fight, and I manage to score a part at a theater outside Boston.

But when I learn that my costume could be taken from Cosmo’s “Don't'' columns, I'm not so sure this career move will work, because I won’t be able to rely on my carefully managed physical charms. Only my craft will count.

One night, my confidence is at its lowest, with snow lengthening an already long commute, the soothing voice of the DJ for the alt-rock radio show is the only thing keeping me together. Making it home just in time to win his trivia contest, begins a nightly ritual, where I call just so he'll know I'm home safe. The more I learn about him, the more I want to know.

I just wish he'd agree to meet me in person.

In this heartfelt, slow-burn, sweet and sexy, Beauty and the Beast retelling, it may be the end of a decade, but it’s the beginning of a love story.

Look inside

JESS

When I get home from work at four-thirty in the afternoon on December 1, 1988, having spent the day teaching dance and aerobics to rich kids at a posh private school, it’s already dark outside. It’s as cold inside my apartment as it is outside, which means the furnace is on the fritz again.

My thirtieth birthday just gets better and better.

No messages on the answering machine, which means no auditions for me tomorrow. Nobody told me that ad agencies go into hibernation from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. I was really hoping for a chance to book something this month. Even doing background in a commercial would help pay the bills.

At least my heating oil charges will be low. Just as I find the super’s number in my day planner—which I should have memorized by now, I have to call him so often—the phone rings and I pick it up, hopeful for some good news. “This is Jess.”

“Hey, it’s Will. Happy Birthday.”

Will’s my best boy friend. Not boyfriend. We’ve played lovers at Shakespeare Boston too many times to count, but he’s as much of a brother as my real brother is. Plus, he has a pretty serious girlfriend.

“Thanks, but can you keep that under your hat? Last thing I need is everyone in town asking how old I am now.”

“So, old woman, did you get a call?”


“You mean about Hamlet?”


“Well, yeah. Duh.”

“Uh, no. I didn’t.” But he probably did. “Are you telling me you’re playing the Prince of Denmark?”


“I am.” The pride in his voice is laced with concern. “But I didn’t get to ask about the rest of the cast. Did you check your machine?” “I’m standing right here looking at it. No messages.”


“Maybe they haven’t called everyone yet.”


“When did they call you?”

“This morning.”

Which means there’s little chance I’m in the show. Pacing, swinging the phone cord, I have to work hard to keep the bitterness out of my voice as I congratulate him. “I’m really happy for you, Will.”

Part of being an actress is rejection. I’ve been lucky enough to avoid it at Shakespeare Boston. Until now, it seems. “Either way, it’s fine. Ophelia’s no Juliet. I mean, the part’s a challenge but mostly because there’s not a lot to work with. You just have to choose which kind of crazy to play her.”

“Well, you’d be great. I don’t know what they’re thinking.”

“That I just turned thirty? That I’m too ethnic for what they’re going for? Both, probably.”

“I can’t see anyone at Shakespeare Boston saying you’re too ethnic.”

Noting that he doesn’t say anything about the fact that I’m aging out of ingenue roles, I have to force the corners of my mouth up so I don’t sound angry. “Sometimes it’s about the picture, Will. And there are a lot of girls in town who can play Ophelia.”

“Yeah. I... it’ll be weird if you’re not around.”

“Well, maybe it’ll force me to stretch my wings. Good thing I sent out my headshot to all the theaters this fall like a good little actress.”

“Speaking of which, I heard there’s an open call up at Chichester Rep tomorrow.”

“An open call? Waiting all day for a two-minute audition where if you’re lucky they’ll be eating something smelly, and if you’re not, they’ll be asleep?”

“I’m going. Every audition is another chance to perform.”

“Make me barf, man.”

“Jess—”

“I know, I know. Kidding. Sort of.”

Sucking it up, I get the details. Chichester is a bit of a haul, but Thursday is a shorter teaching day for me, so I can probably get up there before the five o’clock deadline. Unfortunately, Will and I can’t drive together because he has to bartend in the afternoon.

”Well, I should go. I have a class.”

While I do teach dance some evenings at a studio nearby, I don’t actually have to tonight, but I can’t take more of Will’s sympathy right now.

“I’ll make this quick, then.” He clears his throat. “Are you in town for New Year’s?”

“No. My family always spends it down in Florida with my grand‐ parents. Are you having a party?”

“Yeah, but it’s more than that. We’re... kind of making an announcement.”

I know all the colors of this man’s voice, so I can tell this is good news. “Since I can’t be there, will you tell me now?”

“If I do, you have to keep it to yourself. Kate wants this to be a big surprise.”

“Oh my god. You’re not.”

“We are. We’re engaged.”


“Damn, Will. I didn’t think you had it in you.” “I didn’t either, but when it’s right, it’s right.” “Well, congratulations. That’s awesome news.”

“Nineteen eighty-nine. I think that’s a good year to get married.”

“I have to go, but... good job, man. She’s a keeper. And congrats on Hamlet again.”

“Thanks. Bye, J. Let me know if they call.”

Proud of myself for mustering the goodwill to wish my friend well when I’m losing out on every front, I stare at the phone on the wall for a few minutes. I am truly happy for him and Kate. They’re great together. I mean, a part of me is a weensy bit jealous since I can’t seem to find a guy I’d actually want to spend more than a few nights with.

Maybe it’s like that Groucho Marx joke. I don’t want to be a member of a club that’ll have me as a member.

At the same time, it kind of pisses me off that I’m too old to play Ophelia, but Will’s not too old to play Hamlet.

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Customer Reviews

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Elizabeth T.
This Sticks to The Soul

You Spin Me is a friends-to-lovers, grumpy/sunshine romance with a totally fresh twist. This rad retro romcom takes you back to ’88 with radio spots, classic rock references, pop culture nostalgia, and (of course) a smattering of Shakespeare.

Callahan is a radio disk jockey trying to find his hook before his job is phased out. Jessica is an actor/dancer trying to find her new place as she ages out of ingenue roles. Cal & Jess meet over the radio and instant chemistry sparks. They build a fast friendship via late night phone calls. As their friendship blossoms, they encourage each other to take professional risks and overcome their fears.

This retro fairytale explores and pays homage to the arts. Karen White’s occasional use of ballet vocabulary to describe Jess’ everyday actions creates beautiful imagery. You Spin Me features another unique style of chapter breaks with radio ads and DJ plugs.

I love Karen White’s unique wit, imaginative premise, dynamic characters, and appreciation of the arts! Her exploration of body imagery, childhood trauma, and neurodiversity is thoughtfully and beautifully done. Brimming with friendship, heartache, love, and comedy, You Spin Me is an absolute gem!

Vanessa Edwin and Eric Michael Summerer give outstanding performances as Jess and Cal!! They each brought their A game to portray these complex, emotional, endearing characters. From Cal's radio spots and Jess' auditions to their explorations of the characters' pasts, Eric and Vanessa give delightfully fun and emotionally raw performances.

k
kgagnon
This retro slow-burn romcom captured my heart and never let go.

Jessica is an actress who is feeling her age when a younger actress wins the role she wanted. When she is cast in another play as a character who is frumpy and unattractive, it goes against all her hard work to be noticed in this industry. One night on her drive home, she calls into a radio show contest. Cal, the DJ, feels an instant connection to her voice, and asks her to call again. They really enjoy their talks and begin to have feelings for each other. Jessica wants to meet Cal to see if he is as alluring and sexy as her image of him from his voice, but is afraid of what he will see. Cal also has his own reasons for wanting to hide behind his microphone. They are falling hard for each other thru their calls, but will they be able to live up to their expectations in person? What happens when their hearts are so invested, but they aren't brave enough to show their true self? I love Cal and Jessica together. They are smart, and funny, and their strength to overcome their past trauma was extraordinary. This is a beautiful, emotional, and compelling story about two people who are both scarred and broken, but working hard to be whole, happy, and loved. Grey touched on some very sensitive topics with honesty and empathy, helping us to understand and care deeply for these characters.
Vanessa Edwin, and Eric Michael Summerer were so perfectly cast to narrate this fun and emotional romance. They completely captured these complex characters and made me feel all the hope, heartbreak, vulnerability, love, and passion they possessed. I was completely mesmerized by their storytelling making this romance even more captivating.

R
Rellim
Cal & Jess

Karen Grey continues to deliver my favorite aspects of romance in You Spin Me. Authentic and fully developed characters, laughs, tears, sexy scenes, and a wonderful HEA. While the story stands on it’s own – there’s references to events and characters from previous books, the Boston Classics series is best enjoyed in order.

I loved the contrast of Cal & Jess both being concerned about how people react to their looks versus the person inside but for opposite reasons. Much of Cal’s body was burned in a fire when he was a young child and he’s come to expect strangers horrified or pitying reactions. Jess was “blessed” with amazing genetics which gives her a body many admire but then make assumptions about her based on that.

By calling in to the radio station where Cal is a DJ, they get to know each other and build an amazing friendship that is developing into something more. But both are afraid of what happens next. With the story taking place over several months, I love that Grey gives us a lot of time to get to know them as individuals and as a couple. While it is a difficult road for this couple and there are a few misunderstandings – I appreciated that nothing drags out too long.

I like the way that Grey had Cal & Jess understand, accept, and deal with the challenges that each of them brings to the relationship. Overall a fabulous and enjoyable story.

I loved the book, but the narration is amazing. Vanessa Edwin and Eric Michael Summerer are absolutely perfect as Jess & Cal. They both do a fantastic job with voices, emotions, and accents. Summerer’s DJ voices are particularly spot on and the impersonation of Bobcat Goldthwaite had me rolling. I was completely immersed in the world Grey has created and I want her to write another book for Cal & Jess just so I can hear more of them by Edwin & Summerer.