Review: “Beach Read” by Emily Henry

The next thing I knew, this book was all over my Twitter and Instagram feed.

Content warning: grief, death of a family member, brief discussions of physical abuse

Title: Beach Read
Author: Emily Henry
Publisher: Berkley
Release date: May 19, 2020
Genre: Contemporary, romance
Length: 361 pages (paperback)
Synopsis: (via 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.”

Oh, this book wasn’t what I expected it to be. From the synopsis, you’d think it’d be light and heart-warming. In a sense, it is the latter but it’s also so much more. I thought it was a New Adult romance and while there are some sexy times, it doesn’t fit that genre as a whole. We get a lot more time with the characters and how this book discusses grief and how to deal with the loss of that loved one after finding out a life-shattering secret. Then how to continue even loving that person, wondering if everything they’ve done is a lie. That’s be the life of our main character, January.

Then you have Gus, who is broken in his own way and trying to figure things out. And the thing is… you have two broken and hurt people who strike up this bargain. And throughout the book you sort of forget the deal they made with each. You come to enjoy their banter and how easy they are with each other. How open yet afraid they are with one another. Their lives come together at the exact time they need it and that’s what I find most wonderful about this story. Sometimes it isn’t about forever, but rather about the here and now, the short of it.

I also found myself tearing up while reading the last couple of chapters. So there’s that. You can have the sad, morose moments but you can also have the giddy romantic moments too. Gus and January and just two people trying to figure out how to keep on living when life drops bombs on their entire world.

Also, can we talk about how quietly romantic Gus is? I definitely think it’s what January needed.

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