Beach Read by Emily Henry

REVIEW: Beach Read by Emily Henry

Publication information: May 19th, 2020 by Berkley

Description (from Goodreads):

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.

Two sentence review: A surprisingly touching, oh so romantic novel perfect for the upcoming summer days. If you are looking for sparking chemistry and fully developed characters, this unputdownable gem is a stellar choice!

January and Augustus are polar opposites. Or so it at least seems on paper. January is a romance writer and for most of her life has believed in soul mates, meet cutes, and all that jazz. Augustus, on the other hand, is one of those brooding literary fiction types who likes to write about the darker side of life. They knew each other in college and since they both became published authors January has, in her mind, placed Augustus into the position of a rival. When their paths cross, their facades start to unravel and they come to realize that maybe they are not that different, after all.

While the premise of Emily Henry’s adult debut is nothing new, Beach Read was like a refreshing breath of air that managed to drag me out of my months long reading slump. January and Augustus feel like real people with real struggles and as I read more about them I became convinced that having either them as a friend would be freaking awesome. I love reading about characters like them – they are multidimensional, extremely well developed, and capable to making mistakes. January is more than just the eternally optimistic romantic kind or the woman whose only mission in life is to find love while Augustus is more than just a broody hero hiding his feelings deep down. Both are vulnerable as a result of surprising events in their personal lives, but both are also open for something new, even if they don’t perhaps admit to it for themselves.

I read Emily Henry’s young adult debut, The Love That Split the World, years ago but still remember the beautiful way in which she describes the characters she writes about and the mastery with which she slowly, sometimes even agonizingly, builds the kind of slow-burn relationships we all love so much. Another thing I also fell in love with while reading her debut, and which repeats here, is the way Henry writes about families and familial relationships. Yes, Beach Read is a love story between January and Augustus, but in addition to that it is a story about a woman forced to encounter family secrets that drastically change the way in which she remembers her childhood and about a man dealing with trauma from his past and realizing how that influences the ways in which he approaches relationships and trust in the present.


Rating: 5 out of 5.


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(note: review copy from Netgalley)