Review: Beach Read, Emily Henry

There are no spoilers in this review.

Beach Read, Emily Henry

Publishing on May 19th, 2020 by Berkley.

Buy Beach Read on AmazonBook DepositoryIndieboundBarnes & Noble .

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.

☂️ TRIGGER WARNINGS: click here to see them.

mentions of past abuse, mentions of breast cancer and chemo, adultery, death of a parent, emetophobia, mentions of a cult, grief.



Just a thought before starting: Beach Read is an adult book. Thought I’d put it out there, since I usually review YA books!

  • You might think that Beach Read, from its title and cover and promising synopsis, is a swoony, lovely romance. Well, it is, but not only. Beach Read is a well-rounded contemporary filled with great romance and banter, but also with complex family issues and deeper, heavier themes and I urge you to take a look at the trigger warnings before fooling yourself.
  • My favorite thing about Beach Read was the romance. I loved how it slowly developed from being polar opposites to slowly getting to know each other, peeling off the layers (metaphorically and, well, really) and slowly falling for each other, too. The banter was on point, the chemistry was sparkling off the pages and in every single one of the characters’ interactions and I loved it SO much.
  • Both of the main characters in the story are incredibly flawed, as well and wonderfully human.
    • Told from January’s POV, a romance writer with her inspiration lost after the loss of her father, Beach Read got me from the very first page and captured me, in its writing and in January’s story. I loved how wonderful she was and how, from page one, I rooted for her and wanted her to be okay. I loved her personal growth so much!
    • I also really enjoyed Gus. He wasn’t an easy character to figure out, but I found out all of his complexities as January did and I grew so fond of him, too.
    • The thing I loved the most about it all was that both of the main characters were writers! I loved the insight into their writing process and research and it just made my heart happy to read about writers.

  • Something I really liked about Beach Read was how the author managed to balance romance and heavier themes perfectly, putting them all together in one complex, human, heartwarming and heartbreaking story all at once. From dealing with grief and realizing you didn’t know someone you were close to as much as you thought you did, to escaping with writing and discovering new sides of yourself you didn’t know about.



  • I didn’t like that I was fooled by this pretty cover into thinking this would be a fun and fluffy romance. It felt like being hit by a thunderstorm when I started reading and the deeper I got into the book, especially in those intense moments dealing with heavy topics, too. Honestly, it is not a book’s flaw, at all, it’s a bit of a marketing flaw for me. Just something to be ready for before picking up this book!



If you’re looking for a realistic adult contemporary book about grief, healing, forgiveness and second chances, with an A+ romance filled with chemistry and wonderful banter that’ll have you smiling for days, I will definitely recommend you to give Beach Read a try!

Final rating:  4 drops!

A million thanks to Penguin Random House International, Berkley & NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.

Did you read Beach Read? Do you want to?

Do you have any recommendations of hard-hitting contemporary reads? Let me know in comments!





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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

47 thoughts on “Review: Beach Read, Emily Henry

  1. What a lovely review! I have this on my TBR and since I’ve been loving adult contemporary books, I’ll definitely read it soon. It’s so nice that you warned the readers of the heavy themes included in the book, since like you, I hadn’t expected it at all. Last time I read a book that promised to be all fun and games and turned out to have a tragic plotwist, I was very affected by it.
    I’d recommend you The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez for a hard-hitting contemporary!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh thank you so, so, so much, I’m so happy you liked this post, thank you! ❤
      I hope you'll get a chance to read it soon and will love it. I didn't expect it to be so hard-hitting, so I think a warning was in order here ahah 🙂
      thank you so much for the recommendation! 😀


  2. That’s so interesting–you’re totally right, based on the marketing of this book alone I wouldn’t have thought it dealt with many difficult topics! Thanks so much for the heads up!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review! I have a copy of this to review from NetGalley as well so I’m glad I’ve seen your review – I’m looking forward to reading it, but it’s good to know it’s not the light, fluffy contemporary its cover makes it look like it is before going in. You’ve made me more excited to pick it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful review, Marie! I’m so glad you enjoyed this book.
    Unfortunatelyyy, this one was a miss for me. I thought the romance and characters were delightful as well, but I felt like Henry’s resolution for January’s issues could have been better written and wasn’t really explored, despite the way they impacted January’s character. Still glad this one was a hit for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review, Marie!! I’ve been seeing this book all around the book community, and the cover has seriously been drawing me in. I’m honestly so glad that I read your review and saw the trigger warnings before I dived in because like you said, it seems like it would be entirely like a contemporary romance but I’m really glad to know that it gets serious, sad, and hard-hitting too. 💛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so, so much, tiffany and I’m so happy this could be useful ❤ I had no idea either and I was a little thrown off by the heavier themes in the story, too.
      Thank you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have to admit that I was angry after I started reading this one because of the marketing they did of this one. It wasn’t the rom-com it claimed and that was what I wanted to read. I had to put it aside for a day and come back with new expectations. Luckily, I was able to fall in love with it. I know a lot of romance readers who could not get past it.
    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I completely get what you mean! I was thrown off as well by this book and its heavier content, I didn’t expect that when I first started it. I’m happy you could still enjoy it later on! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This book was NOT what I thought it was going to be. I was mad, at first, but then I switched gears. I labeled this women’s fiction in my mind, and let myself take this journey with January. I have to say, the last quarter of the book hit me so hard emotionally. I was sobbing. The book was well written, even if it wasn’t what I was expecting, and like you, I thought the romance was wonderful. The dialog was fantastic in this book too. I sort of expect snappy banter between two published authors, and it was there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I so get what you mean. It wasn’t what I was expecting at first, either, so it was a bit frustrating, but I quickly got carried away by the story and its characters, too 😀
      Thank you, Sam! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great review Marie! 🙂 I have the book on my TBR and it’s good to know that it’s not only fluffy romance. Based on the title alone you would think it’s a light book, add in the fun cover and you would never know the heavy topics until you read it. Thanks for warning us 😉
    Can’t wait to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. i love this review so much, marie! so many people have loved this book and while i’m usually not a romance reader, i might have to pick it up 👀 i just love that it’s about writers and has a lot of good banter!! but yeah, i’ve definitely been misled about it being a super cute, fluffy, all-happy book. i’m really grateful that i saw something on twitter about it featuring cancer, because cancer is pretty much my only trigger in books and it would’ve been disastrous for me to have gone in without knowing 😭 thank you for always including trigger warnings!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve heard such amazing things about this book, but I’m honestly scared to give it a try! I’ve read a book before by this author and didn’t love it, so that’s the first thing that makes me hesitant to pick it up. But honestly, the bigger issue for me is what you mentioned about this being a heavier read. I tend to read romances for the light and fluffy aspects, so I’m hesitant to pick up something that mixes that fluffiness with darker themes. But on the other hand I’ve heard such great things, that I’m super intrigued! So maybe when the timing is right I’ll finally pick it up! This is definitely the kind of book that I need to be in the right head-space for!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no! Which book did you read, if you don’t mind me asking? 🙂

      I understand that. I was expecting something light when I first picked it up and was surprised by the darker themes it tackled, too. I think it’s a book you need to be ready for, given that it’s not all fluff, but I hope you will enjoy it when you feel like it’s the right time for you 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I read The Love that Split the World, and honestly was just super confused by it. I had purchased a copy, but I gave it away because I just didn’t care for it.

        And I’m definitely going to be keeping this book on my radar, so that I can pick it up when I’m in the right mood to give it a chance!


  11. I am actually pretty excited by the thing you didn’t like! 😂 I was kind of wary of a fluff-only situation, I think I am just not in the mood for it (I rarely am, but especially at the moment) so I wanted something that was a little more intense, so I am definitely going to be giving this one a go! Thanks for the great review!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. i’m glad you mentioned that this book is not really a fluff piece, even though by judging by the cover, I would have thought it was! This still seems right up my alley. I added it to my TBR list! Maybe I’ll bring it up in my book club (I created one, and it’s literally a dream come true!) Great post Marie xx

    Melina |


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