2021 FAVORITE READ: People We Meet on Vacation Review

imageSummary (from the publisher): Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

My Rating: 5/5 Stars 

My Thoughts: 

Let’s be honest: I knew I was going to love Emily Henry’s People We Meet on Vacation before I even picked it up. Beach Read was one of my favorite books of 2020, and it’s among my all-time favorite contemporary romances. I just click with Emily Henry’s writing style so much, with People We Meet on Vacation as no exception. I feel kind’ve intimidated writing this review because I know you’ve likely seen so many reviews (deservedly) filled with love and praise already, but I hope I can add something unique to my review and encourage you to pick up this summer must-read if you haven’t already! You might be wondering why I didn’t pick up People We Meet on Vacation closer to release date, but I wanted to save reading it so I could really enjoy it, which happened to land on back-to-back beach and pool days for me (aka the perfect settings to read any summery/vacation book). 

People We Meet on Vacation follows best friends Poppy and Alex, who have gone on summer vacations every single summer for the past 10 years… up until two years ago when something happened while they were in Croatia that caused Poppy and Alex to stop talking for those two years. When travel magazine writer Poppy finds herself in a work rut, she reaches out to Alex to give their vacation tradition another go and head to Palm Springs.

People We Meet on Vacation was a wonderful read for literally all of its elements. I just click so much with Emily Henry’s sense of humor, which always shines through especially in the dialogue. Poppy is just so strange and funny, and I just loved how she owned her quirkiness. I loved her from the moment she pretends to hit-on Alex in BAR in the very first chapter. I got her jokes so much and I loved Alex’s wit and sarcasm right back. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that made me grab my page tabs, but I bookmarked so much of Alex and Poppy’s conversations. I also predict Alex is going to be everyone’s new favorite fictional boyfriend (I know he’s mine) because he’s just so wholesome and sweet.

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SUMMER MUST-READ: Beach Read by Emily Henry

Summary (from the publisher):

48079190._UY2048_SS2048_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.

 

 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Beach Read has deservedly found it way into nearly every corner of the book blogging community.  So many of my bookish friends have loved this contemporary romance, myself included!

Since there have been a ton of Beach Read reviews floating around the book blogosphere, I’ve decided to forgo my usual review style to explain why you need to actually pick up this must-read beach read of summer 2020.

It’s much more complex than the title & official synopsis suggests. Beach Read does meet its synopsis: Augustus, a literary fiction writer, and January, a romance writer, are both in writing ruts and decide to challenge each other by writing a book in the other’s genre. But Beach Read goes beyond this competition.

I don’t want to include too many spoilers, but both January and Gus have experienced some hardship and loss. After the death of her father, January is left with his beach house in Michigan. January is struggling to cope with his death, his hidden past, and the manuscript of her latest romance novel that is due to the publisher by the end of the summer. January decides to spend the summer at the beach, packing up the house and writing her novel. Early on in the story, it’s revealed that January’s grumpy neighbor is none other than Augustus, a best-selling literary fiction author AND January’s college rival.

There’s a ton of exploration into the two main characters’ past, loss, and their college history. As Gus and January move from enemies to lovers (you really don’t believe that the synopsis says no one falls in love, right?), the two reveal more about their family and relationship history. Somewhat unrelated and a bit random I admit, Gus is also doing a lot of research on cults for his book. The two spend a few of their literary fiction research nights on that subject and interviewing people with heavy histories of their own.

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While there is heaviness and depth, there is plenty of humor. I wouldn’t say that Beach Read is a rom-com (sidenote that I agree with the growing sentiment that publishing is using ‘rom-com’ too much to describe contemporary romances), but Gus and January have such incredible chemistry that leads to a lot of laugh and a few jokes at the other’s expense (in the most light-heartedly way possible).Read More »