TITLE: Beach Read
AUTHOR: Emily Henry
AGE RANGE: Adult
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.
“Let me guess: Everyone lives happily ever after. Again.”
I know everyone has already raved about this, but let me go ahead and chime in: I loved this SO much. I enjoy a good fluffy rom-com as much as any other romance reader, but the true key to my heart? A slow-burning, angsty romance with legitimate obstacles and flawed humans doing their best to muddle their way through, and that’s exactly what this story gave me.
“Are you worried it’s a slippery slope from getting into my car to going down the Slip ‘N Slide on my roof and competing in my heavily publicized Jell-O wrestling matches?”
My heart absolutely ached for these two, even when I was literally laughing out loud over their banter (which feels like Emily Henry just sat down and recorded an actual couple flirting and picking at each other — it’s so authentic). There are just so many layers to the people in this story and I enjoyed every single moment of it.
“I’m a very tall five-four, actually,” I said. He narrowed his eyes and shook his head at me. “You’re as small as you are ridiculous.”
Even the most minor side characters felt fleshed out and truly important (including The Other Woman, in a turn of events I couldn’t have predicted but appreciated endlessly), but the star of the show for me was January herself, who has to be one of the most lovable romance narrators I’ve ever read. Her insecurities feel reasonable and relatable, yet her passion for life and others never fails, even when she can’t always see it in herself.
He never looked away from any of it. Maybe he thought someone had to bear witness to the dark, or maybe he hoped that if he stared into the pitch-black long enough, his eyes would adjust and he’d see answers hiding in it.
Not to mention, Gus is a tremendously lovable hero, especially once we see behind the walls he holds up and realize why he is the way he is. No spoilers but, the brief speech he gives near the end about how he behaved in college, and what his life was really like at that time? It broke my heart. He’s such a grumpy, misunderstood softy (my #1 favorite love interest archetype) and I adored him.
“That’s what you do. For your readers. For me. You make beautiful things, because you love the world, and maybe the world doesn’t always look how it does in your books, but… I think putting them out there, that changes the world a little bit. And the world can’t afford to lose that.”
Most of all, though, watching January and Augustus learn to live their lives and be as happy as they could be, in each moment, despite everything? I needed that right now. Emily Henry, thank you so much for putting this beautiful story out into the world. I can’t wait to reread it over and over again.
grieving lost parents, discussions of cancer & treatments, references to parental abuse, descriptions of cult, vague reference to infant death, mentions of infidelity, mentions of divorce
This was worth every bit of the hype it has received, and then some. A beautiful, funny, at times heartbreaking tale of two people finding their way not only to happiness and each other, but also to healing and forgiveness.
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT? YES!
— destiny ♥
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I just started reading this last night and got about 100 pages in and I’ve felt so many emotions already! I wish that I had tabbed it from the beginning because there are so many great quotes and funny moments!
I’m so glad you’re loving it!! <3
Ugh this book is SO FANTASTIC!!! And love everything you said YES. This book BROKE me
Yessss, it was so good! I’m so glad you loved it too!
I am so glad you enjoyed this one too! This book has ALL the hype and totally deserves it, it was so good!
It really does! I feel like this is one of those rare super hyped releases that genuinely deserves it. <3
Ugh I just love this book, for all the reasons you mentioned. It’s just SO GOOD?! And I’m gobsmacked and ahhh. Lovely review xx
Great review! I loved this one, too, and I agree with you–the way The Other Woman was handled was so refreshing.
Thank you! I was so impressed with her character progression there at the end and the explanation for everything. Like yes, of course it was still an affair and nothing excuses that, but it was kind of relieving to learn how different it was from what January spent the first majority of the book thinking. ♥
Heard mixed reviews on this ! Glad you liked and enjoyed the book !
Thank you, I really did!
I need to get on this train and read this book! I’ve been hearing so many good things and this hit the nail on the head!
It was so good! I hope you love it as much as I did when you read it ♥
I hope so too! I know when it first came out, a lot of people were hyping it but they weren’t talking about any the heavier things that happen in the book. So now I’m not as hesitant about it!
ooh I love slow burn angsty romance- really like the sound of this! I’ve got it on my kindle and am really looking forward to reading it 😀 Awesome review!
Same and this definitely fits the bill IMO! Like it’s a pretty solid gradual build-up physically, but emotionally? Super slow-burn. Ahhh. *wistful sigh* haha thank you!! Enjoy!
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I’m not a romance reader AT ALL but this review really makes me want to pick this book up. It sounds like it’s so much more than just a romance and that there’s a lot of substance to it. Great review!
I will say that this is hands-down the kind of romance book I would recommend to people who don’t usually read romance! It doesn’t rely on the rom-com aspects OR the over-the-top dramatic aspects as much as most romance books do (which I love, but I know isn’t for everyone LMAO), and it explores so much more than just the pairing itself, so I feel like it could be a winner for you if you decide to try it! ♥ Thank you!!
[…] Destiny @ Howling Libraries wrote a review about Emily Henry’s Beach Read. I didn’t think I could get any more excited about the book, but Destiny’s review did just that! […]