These People Behind Us by Mary Camarillo - Cover Art

It’s the summer of 2017 in Wellington Beach, California, a suburban coastal town increasingly divided by politics, protests, and escalating housing prices—divisions that change the lives of five neighbors as they search for home and community in a neighborhood where no one can agree who belongs.

Real estate agent Lisa Kensington juggles her job, her shopaholic husband, a mother who knows how to push her buttons, and teenagers with ideas of their own. Ray Gorman, a haunted Vietnam vet, cares for his aging mother. Keith Nelson, an ex-con, lives in his car, parked near his parents’ house. Sixteen-year-old Josh Kowalski works through the shock of his father’s abandonment by slamming on a drum set. Jeannette Larsen, an aerobics teacher numbed by horrific tragedy, turns away from her husband and toward reckless behavior. In the end, they all discover that despite their differences, they are more connected than any of them would have imagined.

Preferred Independent Bookstore

Preferred Independent Bookstore

Book Details

Publisher: ‎ She Writes Press (October 10, 2023)

Language: ‎ English

Paperback: ‎ 305 pages

ISBN-10: ‎  ‎ 1647425654

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1647425654

Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 14.1 ounces

Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches

Reader Review

Mary Camarillo’s new novel, Those People Behind Us is set in 2017, in Wellington Beach, California, a politically charged time and place, but the citizens of the place – flawed, conflicted, mortal – reminded me of the citizens of another time and place, the characters of Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio. Once you eliminate the modern conveniences, both sets of characters are equally bound together by time and place and the loneliness that is at the center of so many American lives.

These people are peculiarly American, particularly Californian and you won’t forget them because you will recognize them. They share your flaws, your sins, your secrets, your mortality. Camarillo has created what is by now a rarity, fully rounded characters that invoke what Flannery O’Connor called “the mystery of personality.” Or as one of her country women put it, “That just goes to show you what some people would do.”

These characters will stay with you long after you’ve finished the book. Like a Wellington Beach sunburn or some grains of sand in an oyster.”

Lou Matthews, author of Shaky Town and LA Breakdown.

Download Mary Camarillo's Press Kit

Includes author bio and related images.

  1. One of the Los Angeles Times Book Club’s “Favorite Literary Escapes of 2021.
  2. Hollywood Reporter, July 2021, “Rights Available, New Books With Hollywood Appeal.
  3. Named a “2021 Debut You Should Add to Your TBR Pileby Frolic.
  4. Listed on2021Your Summer Bucket Listby Frolic.
  5. Listed on “2021 Under the Rader Selected June Reads for Youby Frolic.
  6. Listed on “2021 Most Anticipated 2021 Summer Fictionby SheReads.
  7. Named Best New Book to Read in Summer 2021by SheKnows.
  8. NamedBook to Read Based on Shows You Binge Watchby
  9. Listed on “Frolic’s Under the Rader Books for June 2021.
  10. Listed as on of “15 New Books to Read on Vacationby Brit + Co.

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