“Beach Read” by Emily Henry (Spoiler-Free Review)

Summary: 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.

Beach Read is not a book I would normally read.

I typically favor thrillers, historical fictions, or some manner of creepy existential literature. However, in light of the grim atmosphere that has become our reality, I thought it would be a good idea to partake in a light-hearted romantic comedy to ensure that I maintain some semblance of sanity.

Beach Read isn’t a groundbreaking read, but it packs its far share of gut-punches and unexpected twists. 

The dust jacket tricks you into thinking this is going to be a standard love-to-hate relationship, however, this isn’t the case. While January and Augustus are at odds with each other philosophically (January is optimistic and Augustus tends to be pragmatic bordering on pessimistic), there is no true animosity between the two characters. In fact, they click pretty early on in the story and it quickly becomes clear they both have the hots for each other.

One of this story’s greatest strengths is it relies on the authentic chemistry between the two characters and the realistic obstacles they face to keep the readers invested, rather than shoe-horning in contrived plot-devices. 

The characters themselves are a joy, especially Augustus. Normally in this type of story the damaged male character is completely humorless and prickly to the point of being unbearable. Augustus, on the other hand, is not only likable, he is genuinely hilarious. There were certain passages from the book that literally had me laughing out loud.

All in all, January and Augustus’s romance is healthy, but not in a boring way. They both carry their own baggage, but they don’t truly engage in any toxic behavior that sometimes plagues the romance genre.

Henry should be commended for her ability to take typical romantic novel clichés and turning them on their head. There were so many times in this book that I thought I could predict the story’s direction, only for her to sweep the rug out from underneath me.

If I had to nitpick, I guess I could say she could have gone a bit darker in some areas, but that might have conflicted with the story’s overall tone so it might be best that she avoided this tact.

All in all, it’s incredibly difficult to find anything bad to say about this book.

It was a funny, witty, (and sometimes heart-breaking) romantic read that you should definitely check out.

10/10

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