Book Review: Beach Read by Emily Henry

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book that has a book on the cover Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy: A...

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book that has a book on the cover

Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy: A book that's published in 2020, A book recommended by your favorite blog, vlog, podcast, or online book club (SheReads, Booksparks), A book with at least a four-star rating on Goodreads,

TW: Infidelity, abuse, child abuse, death, cancer

When diving into Beach Read, I expected a lot of light and fluffy reading, and while I definitely got that, it was also a lot deeper and darker than I expected. It was a great mix of rom-com with something a little darker mixed in, which led for an absolutely perfect reading experience.

January Andrews is a writer of love stories with happily ever afters. Unfortunately, happily ever after doesn't seem to be working for her right now. She's broke, broken up with, and for the summer, she's moving into a cottage her dad used to stay in with his mistress. What's more is her college nemesis, Augustus Everett, is a great literary author, and her new next door neighbor. So to make the summer a little less painful, they make a deal - January will write the next great literary novel and Everett will try for a happily ever after. And part of the deal is - don't fall in love. 

I saw so many amazing reviews about Beach Read before reading it, and typically I find that most books don't live up to the hype when there's a lot of hype. But I gave into the hype and added it as a Book of the Month add-on in May because so many people were talking about it (bookstagram made me do it!). But this novel really surpassed the hype I'd seen. And honestly, I don't feel like any of the reviews I've read, or even the book's synopsis, do it justice.

I enjoy rom-coms, in movie or book form, but there's such a stigma surrounding romance stories, and generally I find any kind of romance or rom-com to be pretty dang predictable. But this book was so much more than that. Yes, it's rom-com, and very predictable, but it also has some incredibly deep and dark themes.

There are themes of illness and death, cults and childhood trauma. Both January and Everett are deep, developed characters. So it's not all fluff (not to say all fluff would be bad). But the story is much like the plotline itself - a mixture of literary, romance, comedy, drama.

I did find the first chapter or two difficult to get into, but once I was into it I really enjoyed the characters, the story, the setting. While there is a bit of steamy sex, neither of the main characters are used only for sex, nor seen only as sexual objects - they're both whole, well-rounded beings, and that was refreshing and emotional.

"Again and again he told me I wasn't myself. But he was wrong. I was the same me I'd always been. I'd just stopped trying to glow in the dark for him, or anyone else." - Beach Read, Emily Henry

Beach Read is a surprisingly haunting rom-com. The story is dark and deep at times, with developed main characters, as well as some diversity in the supporting characters. I was surprised by the depth of the characters backstories, and enjoyed the emotional rollercoaster the story sent me on. I would absolutely recommend this book.

Goodreads rating: ★★★★★

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