Review: Beach Read by Emily Henry

Posted August 8, 2020 by Kate

I received Beach Read back in April with the BOTM box, and it’s been all over Instagram ever since with people loving it! Admittedly, it took me farrrr too long to read this. I meant to read it back in May, but finally made it happen at the tail-end of the reading rush at the end of July! Ooops… :)

Review: Beach Read by Emily HenryCheck out on Goodreads
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Source: BOTM

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.

Beach Read appeals because it follows two neighbors, both writers stuck in the slump of their career. They are college nemesis(es?) and are shocked to find the other person, their old rival, as their new neighbor. Did someone say dislike-to-friends-to-lovers? HECK YEAH! Not to mention one of my other tropes: Let’s Make a Deal.

They decide that because they’re both struggling with writer’s block, to switch genre’s! The first person to sell a book in the other genre (so she has to write “coldly horny” literary fiction – which is my favorite description ever, thank you Ms. Henry! – and he has to write a “sappy” romance) – wins an endorsement from the other writer as well as the bet. To supplement this competition, each of them gets one day a week for field trip training to teach the other person the ways of their new genre. i.e., totally fake dates in disguise!!


“I’ve never met someone who is so perfectly my favorite person.”


I *WAS THERE* for the Premise/Tropes

I totally loved the premise of this one. That competitive deal, the enemies-to-friends thing so works for me! Not to mention it was an enjoyable poolside read, as it takes place in two beach houses in a vacation small-town. I’m actually still really conflicted about how I felt about this one. On the one hand, it had everything that I loved. But on another, it was a strange juxtaposition as it was such a rom-com-y premise, but the narrative read more like a women’s fiction than a rom-com. Which I both was pleasantly surprised by, a tad disappointed about because it would have made a hilarious rom-com!

Can we talk about how they held up letters to each other in their windows like that Taylor Swift music video??? *HEART EYES*

It had substance

But I had no problem reading this one in one sitting for the Reading Rush, because though I went in expecting something hilarious and sweet, I got a captivating romance that effortlessly juggles and works through friendship, cancer, betrayal, regrets, and dysfunctional family secrets! January, the main heroine, had a tough relationship with her father who’d recently passed away, and I loved seeing her work through that.  Er, maybe “loved” is the wrong word there LOL but you know what I mean!

The characters were so incredibly well-written

The January/Gus relationship definitely stole the show here. Rivals from college, Ms. Henry stopped just short of giving them a real hate/love relationship, but I loved the subtle tension their competitive history built. The book itself is very laid-back, but also quite snarky and saucy as the characters banter with one another. I loved Gus, as Ms. Henry proves that broody and sweet can work together in a way that doesn’t make the hero an ass. We love to see it :) So while I thoroughly enjoyed this one, it did drag a bit in the middle for me and I wasn’t falling-over-in-love-with the story like everyone else seems to be.

Ms. Henry really unraveled both characters in a way where we got down to the crux of who they were. While it was told entirely through January’s perspective, the mix of her goading, and slipped secrets and admissions from Gus allow us to understand him, too, in a way that it almost slipped my notice that it wasn’t a dual-perspective story. He may have been a bit of a grump, but he was so lovable and sweet, that I just swooned sometimes at his heartfelt musings to January.

It was honestly more than I expected

Raw and hurt, but witty, relatable, and often awkward, January and Gus left everything on the pages. The title of this one is more than a bit ironic, considered that Beach Read offers more depth and substance than the title suggests. It was a welcome surprise, even if it was an unexpected one.

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Have you read Beach Read? What are some of your favorite summer reads? Let me know in the comments down below, I’d love to hear from you!


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