Author: Emily Henry
Publisher: Penguin Books
First Published: 20 August 2020
“I’ve never met someone who is so perfectly my favorite person.”
I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. Thank so much to the team over at Penguin Books and NetGalley for sending a copy my way!
He doesn’t believe in happy endings.
She’s lost her faith that they exist.
But could they find one together?
January is a hopeless romantic who likes narrating her life as if she’s the heroine in a blockbuster movie.
Augustus is a serious literary type who thinks true love is a fairy-tale.
January and Augustus are not going to get on.
But they actually have more in common than you’d think:
They’re both broke.
They’ve got crippling writer’s block.
They need to write bestsellers before the end of the summer.
The result? A bet to see who can get their book published first.
The catch? They have to swap genres.
The risk? In telling each other’s stories, their worlds might be changed entirely
I was completely enchanted from the opening page. I didn’t think I was going to love Beach Read this much, even though I had an inkling that I was going to enjoy this book. I was not expecting it to pull such an emotional punch. My emotions were all over the place — one minute I was laughing the next I was crying. I couldn’t put this book down! The only reason I didn’t finish it in one sitting was that I needed sleep.
The premise of Beach Read is what drew me to this book. College rivals, January Andrews and Gus Everett, meet up again years later when they find themselves in neighbouring beach houses for the summer. Both are struggling to write their next book. Between trying writing, their banter and getting to know each other, the pair decides to place a bet. Gus, the gloomy literary author, will write a happily ever after while rom-com writer, January will try her hand at writing the next literary masterpiece. The pair takes weekly research trips to discover more about each other’s genre. Gus takes January along to interviews with ex-members of a local cult, while January runs a crash course in all things romance.
January loved everything about love. She grew up watching her loved up parents who had the perfect meet-cute and who supported each other through thick and thin. She found herself a dream man and a college romance that was is the stuff of novels. However, family lies and secrets shatter her thoughts on love — her perfect fairy tale life is destroyed.
Emily Henry has created two complex and completely flawed characters. She unravels and challenges them as the narrative unfolds. We get down to the core what makes Gus and January tick, which helped explain their actions and the cause of their rivalry. The story is told solely in January’s point of view, which I loved. It was refreshing since a lot of romances tend to in dual point of view, where you see the story from both love interests. Being solely in January’s perspective helps to build a lot of the tension in their relationship since we can’t know exactly what Gus’ action means or what he’s thinking.
Gus was the perfect mysterious, grumpy hero — and we all know that grumpy heroes who are secretly the biggest marshmallows are my absolute favourite love interests. Gus was not an asshole, despite being the quintessential broody artist and January’s rival. Thank god for that!
There is a slight second chance feel to their relationship. The pair almost hooked up during a college party. Beach Read isn’t your typical hate to love romance. I think Gus’ awkward and blunt nature came across to January that he was dismissing her writing. So she becomes defensive of her work and strives to bet him. There is a lot of banter and heavy tension between the two. While they do snap at each other, it is snarky but good-natured banter.
This book had everything I needed — an enemies to lovers trope, captivating storytelling, complex characters, cults and an intriguing bet. I highly recommend Beach Read for those who love compelling contemporary romance. I adore these characters so much. I will be rereading this story for years to come. I cannot wait to read more from Emily Henry.