Title: Beach Read by Emily Henry
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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.
I saw this book as an April option from Book of the Month and honestly, I wasn’t initially drawn towards the concept. I only read adult romances a few times a year, so it’s not a genre I generally go towards. What drew me into picking this book as an add-on for the month was the cover and the simple fact that the two main characters were writers. I live for stories about people writing stories.
Other than the fact that I saw it on Book of the Month, I didn’t hear a lot about this novel. That could be because the book isn’t actually fully published until May 19th (so soon!), but I hadn’t even seen any reviews on the arc or anything.
In the book, we have January Andrews, a romance novelist, and Gus Everett, her “rival” from college. He writes literary novels, and has seemed to believe that his novels are far more deep than her “typical romance” novels. After January’s father dies, she moves to her dad’s beach house that she only just discovered exists. She needs to write a novel FAST. She’s broke and desperate for any cash she can get. When she arrives at the beach house, she finds out Gus is actually her new next door neighbor. Both suffering from writers block, they make a deal to swap genres for their next book, and go on ‘research’ outings together, which basically end up being dates.
The cover depicts a cute, light-hearted romance taking place on a beach, which I thought, “Hey, why not? I’m in a massive reading slump and could use something light!” That is not what I got.
While this was in fact a cute romance, there was nothing light-hearted about it. The author managed to integrate hard-hitting issues, such as loss of a parent, cheating, and interestingly enough, cults. That’s right. CULTS.
Looking at the ratings after I finished the novel (because I LOVE reading reviews of books after I read them…who knows what different perspectives you’ll relate to?), I was pleasantly surprised to see that a majority of the people who read this enjoyed it. I was one of those people.
The pacing throughout the novel was overall okay. There was a little bit in the middle of the book where I felt like the pacing of the relationship between Gus and January moved a little too slowly, but when it picked back up again, the pace was perfect all the way until the end.
As for the overall plot, I thought it was perfect. I think that Henry did a wonderful job of introducing all of the characters and created a perfect setting. I may be a little biased because I know exactly where the book takes place as I live four hours away from the setting in Minnesota, but I really felt like I envisioned the setting perfectly.
There is the enemies to lovers trope as well as the second chance romance trope (since they knew each other in college), which are both tropes I have recently learned I very much enjoy.
January is a character who is extremely easy to relate to. She has been through the worst in the past few years and everything she has ever believed about love is destroyed. We get to see her ups and downs throughout her adventures with Gus, who has been going through some problems of his own. Their insecurities and problems are what make this book so readable and changes the viewpoint of this being a purely romantic novel. The relationship between January and Gus was complex and messy and I loved every second of it.
The ending was satisfactory enough for me. The book does a sort of time jump and I think it was done very well. I would have enjoyed a little more of Augustus’ and January’s actual relationship, but I enjoyed seeing where it ended up.
After reading, I completed a CAWPILE review, which is created by Book Roast, and ended up giving Beach Read 4.5 stars. I definitely recommend this as a summer read. It does have the cute aspects of a romance but there is so much more involved in this novel.
Are you interested in reading Beach Read? Have you read the book already? Share your thoughts down below!