Whoever You Are, Honey by Olivia Gatwood

“But what if all of this pain has been caused not by a person, but by the things people won’t say out loud to one another, all the assumptions we make to fill the silence, until it’s too late? Lena thinks of everything she fails to say out loud, how so much of her life has unfolded because she was silent about what hurt.”

If “Stepford Wives of Silicon Valley” sounds like a Bravo show you’d tune into, you’re going to love our summer Booktails pick. Whoever You Are, Honey by Olivia Gatwood is an eerie and contemplative look into the importance and complexity of female friendships in a hyper-digital age. Set in the familiar landscape of coastal Santa Cruz, this debut novel takes us on a darkly funny and evocative journey through the lives of two women with questionable pasts and a deep longing for connection.  

At the start of Whoever You Are, Honey, we meet Mitty and her elderly roommate Bethel.

This oddball pair live in a dilapidated bungalow sandwiched between the ultra-minimalist mansions that continue to pop up as the tech elite flood their neighborhood. For ten years, Mitty has found refuge in their secluded existence after a traumatic event in her adolescence forced her to move away from her hometown in Arizona. 

Mitty and Bethel’s world has remained much the same since Mitty’s mother dropped her off at Bethel’s doorstep, but their lives are about to be irrevocably disrupted when a new couple, Lena and Sebastian, move in next door. Sebastian is a renowned tech founder working in artificial intelligence and enjoying his seemingly luxurious life with Lena, his spellbinding girlfriend. 

Like Mitty, Lena is burdened by her past, or rather, the gaps in her memory.

She’s increasingly uneasy about her fragmented recollections and the control Sebastian exerts over their life. As the two women forge an unlikely bond, they embark on a journey of self-discovery, confronting the dark shadows of their pasts that have long held them captive.

Gripping, lyrical, and seductive, Whoever You Are, Honey dissects relationships between women and unpacks their ability to navigate the expectations of our digital world as they help each other heal and grow. Gatwood has made a flawless transition from poetry to fiction with this story full of messy and complicated emotions. Gatwood is a thrilling feminist voice for this ever-evolving age of technology. 

Whoever You Are, Honey by Olivia Gatwood will be on sale 7.2.24. Pick up (or preorder if you’re reading this in June) your copy now from Bookshop Benicia

Summer Hydration Tonic

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 2 oranges juiced
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 1 tsp butterfly pea flower powder (optional)
  • Large pinch of salt
  • Sparkling water
  • Optional rim and garnish: I love orange zest mixed with salt for the rim and a thyme and pansy edible bouquet as a garnish

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients except sparkling water in a picnic-worthy glass and mix well. Top with sparkling water and have some fun with the garnishes! You can always add your favorite gin or Seedlip to this “mocktail” to really get the garden party started.