Book Review: Beach Read

Emily Henry

Rating: 5 out of 5.

published: 19th May 2020
spoilers? no


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.

I tried to imagine cabin fever. I tried to imagine this getting old: that smile, those rumpled clothes, the language only Gus and I spoke, the joking and crying and touching and not touching.

Galley provided by publisher

The moment I finished Beach Read, I went back and reread the best bits. Nothing I have read since has had that same feel to it. I am in, you might say, a kind of book slump thanks to this book. Not where I don’t want to read anything but this book, but one where it’s the only thing I can think about while reading.

It is, frankly, a little distracting.

Beach Read follows January, an author with writer’s block, who travels to Michigan to clear out (and sell) the house that belonged to her father. The one that she did not know about until his mistress showed up at his funeral with a key and a letter, that she still hasn’t opened. Her neighbour, surprisingly, turns out to be her one-time college rival, Gus.

Honestly, I think I would rank this book as one of the best I’ve read this year. And not just because it’s one of fourteen 5-star ratings I’ve given (out of 155 157 books. No, I will not be taking questions). It really is that good.

Like, so good I don’t know what to say about it besides some incoherent screaming and a general sense of begging you to read it. But let’s give it a go.

Things I loved about this book

  • They become really good friends before anything happens romantically. And they’re like. Good friends who are physically affectionate. And who talk. And I just! I JUST! Don’t! Have! The! Words!
  • They talk. They communicate like the adults they are! So, okay, there are a couple of points where they delayed communication, but they never miscommunicated, really. And also the whole scene at the end. Yeah.
  • There’s no alpha male bullshit from Gus. I love not having to suffer through that.
  • They are both of them the softest. I had to put the book down just to breathe through everything once or twice. Particularly when they kept getting interrupted by people!!
  • It just made me want to go back and reread straightaway. I can count on one hand the number of books where I’ve wanted to do that recently.

And, having written this review, I am once again filled with the urge to reread this book.

So, I’m going to go away and try fight that. You should go away and preorder it.

6 thoughts on “Book Review: Beach Read

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