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The Shore

A Novel

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Set over the course of one summer, this perfect beach read follows a mother and her two daughters as they grapple with heartbreak, young love, and the weight of family secrets.

Brian and Margot Dunne live year-round in Seaside, just steps away from the bustling boardwalk, with their daughters Liz and Evy. The Dunnes run a real estate company, making their living by quickly turning over rental houses for tourists. But the family’s future becomes even more precarious when Brian develops a brain tumor, transforming into a bizarre, erratic version of himself. Amidst the chaos and new caretaking responsibilities, Liz still seeks out summer adventure and flirting with a guy she should know better than to pursue. Her younger sister Evy works in a candy shop, falls in love with her friend Olivia, and secretly adopts the persona of a middle-aged mom in an online support group, where she discovers her own mother’s most vulnerable confessions. Meanwhile, Margot faces an impossible choice driven by grief, impulse, and the ways that small-town life in Seaside has shaped her. Falling apart is not an option, but she can always pack up and leave the beach behind.

The Shore is a powerful, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting novel infused with humor about young women finding sisterhood, friendship, and love in a time of crisis. This big-hearted family saga examines the grit and hustle of running a small business in a tourist town, the ways we connect with strangers when our families can’t give us everything we need, and the comfort to be found in embracing the pleasures of youth while coping with unimaginable loss.

Photograph by Rebecca Sanabria

Katie Runde grew up on the Jersey Shore, where her family ran various boardwalk businesses. She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and lives in Iowa City with her husband and two daughters. The Shore is her first novel.

"The Shore is a sharp and affecting novel, a wholly original exploration of what it means to love and lose set against a fabulously vibrant backdrop. Runde's writing is both deeply felt and deeply funny—often in the same breath." —Claire Lombardo, author of The Most Fun We Ever Had  

"The Shore was a joy to read. I loved the Dunnes from page one, and Katie Runde has so much to say about love and grief and growing up and the way we sometimes manage to learn who we are when we’re in the midst of losing the person we love most." —Rachel Beanland, author of Florence Adler Swims Forever

"How can a novel be simultaneously a delicious page turner that transports the reader to warm seaside days while also being a deft, deep meditation on illness, grief, and loss? The Shore is both, and I wept over this tender family story of mother, father, daughters, interwoven with fine renderings of a summer town, a summer economy, and the people who make it go and who still call it home when the tourists leave. This is a lovely, expansive look at the hard work of caregiving, saying goodbye, and keeping on." —Lydia Kiesling, author of The Golden State