Thursday, June 18, 2020

Book Review: Beach Read by Emily Henry

Pages: 361
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: May 19, 2020
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."

January father left her a beach house in his will, but this isn't just any vacation home. This is the home he shared with his mistress, whom she just found out about at his funeral.  Talk about bad timing, right?  January, a romance author, plans to spending the summer at the beach house, cleaning it up and then ultimately selling it at a profit.  She couldn't possible stay at this house, could she? Things are even more stressful when January suffers from writer's block and she has her publishers breathing down her neck.  To top it off, she finds out her next door neighbor is Augustus "Gus" Everett,  a literary sensation, and her college crush.  The more she hangs out with Gus, the more she realizes they still have a bit of a rivalry going on not to mention he is currently suffering from writer's block as well.  However, they are polar opposites. Where January believe in true love and happy endings, Gus is all about keeping things real and at times dismal when it comes to life and literary fiction. Knowing this, they make a bet---Gus has to write a romance novel and January has to write literary fiction.  While they are writing the summer away, they each teach one another about their respective genres and even include "field trips" to further their understanding.  This ends up being a cathartic experience for both Gus and January who are both dealing with some longstanding emotional baggage. As you might expect, sparks fly between the two making Beach Read by Emily Henry one of my favorite novels of 2020.

Readers can't really blame January for her angst in Beach Read. Not only did her father die an untimely death (after her mother beat cancer!), she also finds out he lived a double life.  We find out why this is as the story unfolds, but either way, it's a lot for her to process.  January can't hide from it though, she has to face it by living in her father's beach house.  January is suffering from writer's block and having some sort of existential crisis as a writer. She is a romance writer, which should be all about happy endings, but after what happened with her father, she is feeling uninspired. This is where Gus comes in.  

Gus lives next door and while they started off a bit rough (and that's putting it mildly), they get to know each other again in Beach Read.  Their relationship develops through a love of literature, but they also tackle some ongoing issues they have by writing novels from a different genre.  Gus, who is a hardcore realist, and doesn't really believe in a one true love, has to deal some emotional scars he has from his last relationship.  While writing literary fiction, January is able to process some issues  of her own as well as the trauma from the past year.  

But January and Gus's relationship isn't all about writing in Beach Read.  While writing is the glue that holds them together, they have a genuine connection and their romance was definitely a slow burn. I love a slow burn and Henry does it very well.  Their discussions, the witty banter, and the behind the scenes look at writing a novel was all very memorable.  I enjoyed every second of it!

If you are a looking for a smart beach read that has a lot of heart, but also explores some important issues in women's fiction, explores second chances, as well as the importance of mental health, you'll appreciate Beach Read.  It is one of my favorite beach reads of the summer and I recommend it, especially if you are a bookworm. 


  1. I think this one sounds super cute! Now all I need is some sunshine and I can start reading it! :)

    1. I think you'll like it! I look forward to your thoughts on it and I hope you get some sunshine! Thanks for dropping by!

  2. I love that the main characters are authors themselves!

    1. Yes! It's so much fun if you are a bookworm. I think you'd like this one, Angela! Thanks for visiting.


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