• Birds of California

  • A Novel
  • By: Katie Cotugno
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 7 hrs and 49 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (397 ratings)

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Birds of California

By: Katie Cotugno
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
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Publisher's Summary

Sparks fly and things get real in this sharply sexy and whip-smart romantic comedy set against the backdrop of a post #metoo Hollywood from New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno—escapist fun in the spirit of Beach Read, The Kiss Quotient, and Red, White and Royal Blue.

Former child actor Fiona St. James dropped out of the spotlight after a spectacularly public crash and burn. The tabloids called her crazy and self-destructive and said she'd lost her mind. Now in her late twenties, Fiona believes her humiliating past is firmly behind her. She's finally regained a modicum of privacy, and she won't let anything—or anyone—mess it up.

Unlike Fiona, Sam Fox, who played her older brother on the popular television show Birds of California, loves the perks that come with being a successful Hollywood actor: fame, women, parties, money. When his current show gets cancelled and his agent starts to avoid his calls, the desperate actor enthusiastically signs on for a Birds of California revival. But to make it happen, he needs Fiona St. James.

Against her better judgment, Fiona agrees to have lunch with Sam. What happens next takes them both by surprise. Sam is enthralled by Fiona's take-no-prisoners attitude, and Fiona discovers a lovable goofball behind Sam's close-up-ready face. Long drives to the beach, late nights at dive bars . . . theirs is the kind of kitschy romance Hollywood sells. But just like in the rom-coms Fiona despises, there's a twist that threatens her new love. Sam doesn't know the full story behind her breakdown. What happens when she reveals the truth?

©2022 Katie Cotugno (P)2022 HarperCollins Publishers

Editor's Pick

A deliciously meta plot-narrator pairing?
A rom-com about a former child star performed by former child star (and award-winning narrator) Julia Whelan—the meta nature of this audiobook drew me in from the start. And it was Whelan herself who first put this on my radar—and highlighted the irony—when she was a guest on Audicted earlier this year. In Birds of California by Katie Cotugno, child star Fiona has been flying under the radar for years, only to be dragged back into the spotlight by her former costar Sam for a revival of their old hit show. I’m expecting this listen, set in a post-#metoo Hollywood, to tackle the weight of the moment while crafting a love story for the listener to root for. And with Julia Whelan acting as our guide through the Golden State, I have complete faith in the journey. —Katie O., Audible Editor

What listeners say about Birds of California

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Does anyone edit books anymore?

I am opening my mouth, then closing it, while I scrub my hands through my hair, his hair, his beard, the back of his head, my tee shirt as my mouth quirks and his twists up at the corners. OY! If I had a dollar for every “scrub” in this book I’d be listening for free for months to come. This book is terrible. Tropes on steroids YET because of Julia Whelan’s peerless narration, I got through it. Thank you, Julia for making the unbearable less so.

29 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Would have loved a stronger female lead...

I liked the book. I didn't love it. This is in NO WAY a rom com in my opinion. I don't understand how it can be characterized that way in the least little bit. The subject matter is raw and painful. The female lead is very damaged, but she is also so overly dramatic and nasty throughout so much of the story that it's hard to like her even though she has moments of depth and softness. Yes, she has suffered a terrible wrong - something horrible (something that many women have and continue to wrongly suffer) - perhaps made worse by the fact that she's a public figure. However, does that give her license to throw tantrums and act out for the next 10+ years? Her utter inability to cope for more than 10 years post-trauma (even with professional therapy) is sadly ugly and not a bit inspired. It takes the mostly unrealistic love of the male lead who is too good to be true (patient, wise, loving and a fairly masochistic) to get her unstuck, The story just seems like a fairly tale. And yes, she is redeemable and worthy (most people are), but ugh, she is just not very likable. (And just as an aside: most Teslas do not have leather seats - and none dating back to 2019 or newer do. Also, when you speed away in a Tesla, you do not step on the gas! And are Teslas really so ridiculous? You may think Elon is, but his ideas aren't, and thank goodness for non-gas vehicle alternatives!).

24 people found this helpful

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Only Julia Whelan

The ONLY reason I finished this, is because it was Julia Whelan narrating it. The story itself is not at all entertaining.

17 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Pathetic lead

I had to force myself to finish this book. The storyline was okay. The female lead character was pathetic. There are lots of great romance audibles out there. Don't waste your credit.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Surprised

I accidentally found this book. Although I’m thinking now it wasn’t an accident because if Julia Whelan is narrating, then I’m listening. So it was probably in my recommendations or whatever.
I just fell in love with this book. I liked the characters, it was funny, it was sweet, sexy, and little emotional. I wish I had a little more time with them. I wish I didn’t devour it.
Julia is amazing as always.

7 people found this helpful

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Hard to stop listening

Really my only complaint is that the ending seemed a little rushed. I wanted just a little more time with them.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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I was holding out for more

Super cute book with full bodied characters, “witty” banter that was actually witty, and believable interpersonal conflict that demonstrates true trauma response, recovery, and growth. Without that depth in character psyche, so many similar stories seem like they simply lack any real plot. I honestly just wish there was more to the ending; I would have happily listened to an additional hour or two to learn what happens next, because I think it’s worth telling and worth hearing. Felt almost like a cop out to end where it did. Yes, the whole story would have changed scope, so to speak, but I wanted it, even though I respect the author’s choice to stop before that.

3 people found this helpful

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My favorite narrator

Like I think all books should be read by Julia Whelan! She just knows how to grapple you into story. I really did enjoy this book! The story was just sighhhh! Love it!

2 people found this helpful

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Fun, enjoyable and well read

It was a fun read, and a great performance. it's a perfect weekend read.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved this story so much

Great plot, great characters, great reader. Everything we want in an audible book. Thank you

1 person found this helpful