Peter Seth
What It Was Like is a story about all kinds of love - the obsessive first love of two unforgettable teenagers as well as the layers of love that can lie in tortuous wait between parents and children, a love as deep and hidden as an ominous quarry. If indeed you’ve ever wondered what kind of parents J.D. Salinger and Patricia Highsmith would have made if they had gotten together, then look no further than Peter Seth, their literary progeny.
— Kevin Sessums: author, Mississippi Sissy, and editor in chief, FourTwoNine magazine

What It

Was Like


“It’s really a very simple story. What happened was this: I met this girl and did a very stupid thing. I fell in love. Hard. I know that to some people that makes me an idiot and a loser. What can I say? They’re right. I did some extremely foolish things; I’m the first to say it. And they’ve left me in jail and alone.”

So begins one of the most compelling, emotionally charged, and affecting novels you are likely to read this year.

It is the summer of 1968 and a young man takes a job at a camp in upstate New York before starting his first semester at Columbia University. There, he meets Rachel Prince, a fellow counselor who is as beautiful as she is haunted Their romance will burn with a passion neither of them has ever known before…a passion with the power to destroy.

In the tradition of Endless Love and Gone Girl, What It Was Like is an intimate, raw, and revealing journey through the landscape of all-consuming love. It announces the debut of a remarkable storyteller.






Very unusual and quite compelling ... It's a real page turner and I didn't want it to end.

– Alexandra

Loved it! This story captures how obsession can make a totally 'together' teen make totally bad choices. Although it was fiction, it really made me feel as if it were a true story right up to the final page.

– Terri G.

WOW!!! I just finished this book and what a page turner. This is the debut novel from author Peter Seth and I couldn't put it down. ... It starts off like other typical novels that you have read but that's where it ends. Just when you think you know where the story is headed, it changes directions. It's a roller coaster ride to the very last page. ... I highly recommend this book but offer this warning ... be careful because you won't want to put it down until the last page is turned!

– Book Bug

*****(Five stars) -- I got an advance reading copy of WHAT IT WAS LIKE, and the next thing I knew I was immersed in reading this delicious page-turner that I couldn't put it down. I loved the vivid characters, the juicy detail and the whole absorbing world that Peter Seth created -- beautifully evoking the thrill, passion and turmoil of young love. He is a master storyteller and I can't wait to read more of his work. If you like great writing (with just the right amount of heartbreak mixed in), I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of this book.

– Melissa C

I could not put this book down, reading into the early hours. Rivetting!! And when I read the last word I was astounded. Is what I read a fictional novel? Or is it based on truth? Was it an autobiography? Or is this debut author a masterful, first-rate storyteller that has my head reeling still? Outstanding!! ... My prediction ... in the coming days, weeks, months, this book will become a best-seller!!! And Peter Seth will be a familiar name in the literary world!! An extraordinary read!!! Bravo Mr. Seth!!

– Cheryl "Mash"

What a debut! WHAT IT WAS LIKE by Peter Seth will take the reader back through time to 1968. For young adult readers, this will be a snapshot of the past with a theme that is easily related to. For those who lived this era, it is a guided tour down memory lane with the vivid descriptions and attitude of the times. For suspense lovers who love the unknown turns ahead and the ending that you could not see coming, you have met your next great intrigue through the words of Peter Seth. Mr Seth writes with a crisp and clean style that moves along at high tension throughout. His plot is well-designed, his world is 3-dimensional and his characters jump off the pages, begging to tell their story through amazing dialogue and action. Powerful reading with brilliant plot twists that had me glued to each page as I was crossing genres with this author!"

– Dii (from Florida)

I started reading WHAT IT WAS LIKE on my Kindle last Saturday and three hours later I suddenly realized I was still standing at my kitchen counter in my underwear. I highly recommend this book.

– MaxWebber

A pitch-perfect portrayal of the zeitgeist of the late-60s, the book moves easily and organically from genre to genre. It starts out as an innocent love story at a summer camp, then gradually becomes a riveting story of emotional addiction between our two young lovers. ... Peter Seth is a born writer and has knocked it out of the park in his first book.

– Mark Watt

If you didn't live there and do that, you will feel as if you have after reading WHAT IT WAS LIKE. Peter Seth deals with class and obsession, two of my favorite subjects, with tremendous authority. He inhabits the main character so thoroughly, you begin to see the world through the young man's eyes and his adventure becomes yours as he hurtles along toward ... well, I'm no spoiler. Read the book and find out yourself.

– Laurie H.

5+ Stars! WOW! WHERE has this author been hiding??? This is an outstanding book! ... This book captures your attention from the second you open the cover and start to read the first page, to everything in-between, and all the way to the end! ... I'll admit I have read some great psychological thrillers, but this book -- this book TRUMPS THEM ALL.

– LaurieHere

Splendor In the Grass. FINALLY. A book that portrays how it FEELS to be in young love. Great surprise twist. I am not an avid reader, but the book was recommended and I couldn't put it down.

– Bonnie Curtis

From the first page of the Editor's Note to the very last page, WHAT IT WAS LIKE is a mesmerizing page turner that won't let you put it down. It is a story of obsession and passion and what can go terribly wrong with that combination. Peter Seth's novel paints a vivid picture of the time and place his characters live in. This is an amazing first novel.

– Edward Russell

I couldn't put WHAT IT WAS LIKE down -- a page-turned from the start with beautifully drawn characters and a mesmerizing story of doomed obsessive love. The relationships between parents and children and the meaning of friendship and the unfortunate consequences of hiding the truth are powerfully brought home in this compelling story from talented writer Peter Seth.

– Hollace Davids

I haven't been this captivated by a story in ages. It brought back memories of the time when first love was so powerful that nothing else mattered. Most of us don't suffer such extreme consequences but reading this was both pain and pleasure. I couldn't stop reading but was sad when the story ended. Please do yourself a favor and read this book!

– C3

Well, this is a surprising little story. This is supposedly an account of actions and inactions written by a convict for his lawyer. Of course, you know something bad happened or he wouldn't be a convict but ... it's not what you think. Even after you real that part in the story and know what happened, there are still surprises around the corners. The narrator is an interesting character as are the others in the story. It's hard to put down. Very tight writing. Worth a look.

– Cindy Lacy

Rarely have I been swept-away and enthralled by any fiction as I have with this magnificent first novel by the prodigiously talented Mr. Seth. I was forced from a sound sleep to wake in order to find out what happens next. It puts me in a special place -- and makes me feel what it really was like. May this be the first of many engaging works by this disciplined yet imaginative artist.

– bookmaven

I'm not a fast reader, but I read the entire book in less than two days. It has the immediacy of obsessive passion along with finely tuned wisecrack humor. I loved the narrator's voice, wide and foolish at the same time. ... One of the most enjoyable reads in a long time.

– Jaime

I loved this book! I purchased it for a few friends also and we read it at the same time and talked about it every night. We were sorry when we finished it because we didn't want it to be over. It wa a fascinating read that stays in your mind to mull over long after it's finished. Buy it and buy it for a friend and prepare to be toroughly engrossed and entertained!

– Rayanne Weiss

A gripping tale of seduction and betrayal, love and hate. It is well written and reads even better. I love fiction driven by description and dialogue and this offers both with a mysterious power to hold the reader and convey the ironies of life and love.

– Karin Shields

I haven't stopped thinking about this novel since I finished it. ... [Seth] explores obsessive love and the pressures of being a high-achieving teenager with sometimes uncomfortable prescision. Most of all, he superbly enters the mind of a sometimes quite unlikable narrator, deftly walking the narrow line of retaining our sympathies while still exposing the character's flaws.

– Max Thornton

This is one of the best written books I've read in a long time. ... This was one of the most suspenseful thrill rides you will find anywhere. The author has a way of painting a vivid picture of landscapes, and describing characters in a way that makes it easy for the reader to relate, like (or hate), and visualize the person as if they are in the room with you. ... Needless to say, readers are going to love this book.

– Scott Stewart

One of the most enjoyable novels I have ever read. The author's way with words was really spectacular. ... Mr. Seth knows how to get into the inner life of the people he meets and convey this knowledge to the reader in a beautiful and stirring way. His language just flows and it was very hard to put down because of the magnetic and mysterious quality of his characters.

– Temi Snyder

Oh my goodness! This is an interesting book -- you won't be able to put it down and you will keep thinking about it for days after you finish it.

– Jennie B.

A very taut, beautifully constructed thriller with a teen narrator who will convince you of his innocence then knock your socks off with his treachery. I liked the writing, the story, and couldn't wait to get back to it every night. I am a slow reader and I read this fast. Get it!

– marcus

This book came to my rescue when I was sick. I looked forward to reading it and sort of forgot my illness. I found the writing to be clear and straight-forward and the plot thoroughly compelling.

– Vee Bee

I have to say that I really got lost in this book. I kept thinking that it seemed so real. I even flipped back to the copyright page to make sure that it was fiction. Lol. This book was that realistic for me. ... I really liked this book. It is a great first novel!!!

– Patty McCormick

I really liked this book and I could not put it down. I was on a plane ride and spent almost the entire time trying to read as much of it as possible.

– Deon Reed

I could go on and on about the plot, but I encourage everyone to experience it for themselves by reading this very worthwhile book. For me it is the style in which it is written that drew me in. The narrator is so present and makes you feel deeply and personally connected to the story.

– Samuel S

This book creeped me out and stuck with me in a way like none other. ... Very well-written. Full of suspense and keeps you on your toes and guessing.

– Kaitlin

This book is amazing - I literally could not put it down! A real page turner. Don't be fooled how quickly you get absorbed -- there is a depth and artistry here that will pull you in and stay with you long after you have finished reading it.

– Katherine James

Seth provides the reader with an intimate view of the naive protagonists's journey into the state of limerence and self-destruction; it is heart breaking reading. Seth is an excellent story teller whose words paint a portrait of pain and love, in this instance the two emotions inseparable.

– Carol -- Reading Writing and Riesling's Reviews

A highly enjoyable page turner that begins as a nostalgic coming of age summer camp romance and segues into James M. Cain territory. ... A smashing good read from a talented new writer.

– Jeff Sakson

The voice of the narrator is strong and I tore through the book, just waiting to see the tragedy I knew was coming. Definitely worth a read.

– Erin

I was the world's rudest houseguest the weekend I brought along WHAT IT WAS LIKE. From the opening chapter, I could not look away until I had read through to the stunning (and heartbreaking!) final pages. Peter Seth has done a wickedly skillful job of storytelling.

– Kate Klimo, author of The Dragon Keepers and The Dog Diaries

Nothing like anything else I have read, this stark and frightening tale will stay with me for some time to come.

– Cayacosta72

I like the way Peter Seth writes and I particularly like the depth he gave to the narrator, despite the fact you wanted to shake some sense into him. He hit the nail on the head in capturing the summer camp experience -- many of the events and activities he talked about actually happened at the summer camp I attended when I was younger.

– Larry from ItsEitherSadnessorEurphoria

Seth's story telling skill is highly polished. The story is easily readable and carries the reader along quite effortlessly. While the story may have dragged at me, the storytelling kept me going. Hundreds of pages of personal and professional agony that I still wanted to plow through. I'm not sure there's any higher praise you can offer an author.

– Jay Phillippi