There are no spoilers in this review.
Beach Read, Emily Henry
Publishing on May 19th, 2020 by Berkley.
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 HAD A HARD TIME WITH…
- 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!