- STAR RATING: 4 stars
PAGE LENGTH: 361 pages
- DATE PUBLISHED: May 19th 2020
- PUBLISHER: Berkley
CONTENT WARNINGS: Confinement, panic attacks, fire
IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: Book Lovers by Emily Henry, People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.
They’re polar opposites.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.
Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.
I am now all caught up on the Emily Henry adult contemporary romance novels! And I have to say, my ranking of them goes as follows: Book Lovers, People We Meet on Vacation, and lastly, Beach Read. Now they’re all solidly 4 stars and higher, so don’t go thinking I didn’t enjoy Beach Read. I just enjoyed it less than the other books!
Let’s get into the why:
First off — Beach Read is profoundly about grief, over everything else. Grief of relationships not being what you thought, grief of a father who passed away unexpectedly, grief of a non-childhood. Grief, grief, grief. I am a-okay with books being about grief, but when I pick up a book called Beach Read, it’s not really what I’m expecting. Like at all. And it took over halfway through the book for the characters to even end up on a beach! (I was very confused as to why this book was even titled what it is for a good chunk.) Secondly, Gus just seems like a garbage-slob of a person all of the time? He is kind, but not nice, and it’s not my favorite sort of leading man in a romance novel. He reminded me of Nick from New Girl, but if Nick was about a million times less funny, and dealing with some serious childhood trauma.
January was extremely relatable, however. (The give-up pants made me laugh so much.) I loved her character, and I rooted for her the entire novel. I wanted her to succeed in everything she wanted so very badly. I wished that she could have had the chance to just shout at her dad. She deserved it. As for the romantic relationship, I understood why January liked Gus, but I didn’t believe it as much as I did in Henry’s other books. I am probably an outlier in how I feel about this. They are just so, so different, but dealing with so, so much trauma it seemed like a bad bedrock for a relationship.
Overall, though, another solid book from Emily Henry. Four stars.
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PS – Don’t forget my Sabriel Read-a-long starts next week!