From the Back Cover
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’ve been looking forward to Emily Henry’s adult romance debut BEACH READ since it was first announced. The basic summary is what first intrigued me: two writers in neighboring beach houses fall in love after attempting to write the other’s genre? Yes, please! I’ve been getting more and more into contemporary romance lately, and this book sounded exactly like my cup of tea. I’m sad to say I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would, but, with my impossibly high expectations aside, I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a sweet summer romance or the perfect beach getaway book!
“If you think the story has a sad ending, it’s because it’s not over yet.”
I’ll admit BEACH READ was a bit less climactic than I would’ve hoped for. As an enemies-to-lovers romance, there is a great amount of tension and history between January and Gus at the beginning of the book, but that important moment of transition from “enemies” to “lovers” was missing for me. I absolutely adore books like BEACH READ–it almost feels like a grown-up version of the Sarah Dessen novels I devoured as a teenager–and I loved getting to know January’s new neighbors. Unfortunately, though, her relationship with Gus just never fully “clicked” in my reading experience, which I think can be partially attributed to the story’s overly-complicated plot.
With BEACH READ, Emily Henry presents a multi-faceted story, but there was almost too much going on, which prevented each individual plot line from being fully fleshed out, or at least explored enough to make them feel relevant. This is a pretty typical feeling for me whenever I read a romance novel, because I’m so used to reading literary fiction, where there’s less of an emphasis on plot. But at almost 400 pages, BEACH READ is an especially thick romance, and there are so many individual stories to follow: January and her mom, her ex, her dad and his mistress, her best friend, and her agent, and then Gus and his parents, his ex, and his aunt, all of which takes away from the main relationship between January and Gus.
“If you swapped out all my Jessicas for Johns, do you know what you’d get? Fiction. Just fiction. Ready and willing to be read by anyone.”
Despite my issues with the plot development, I still enjoyed BEACH READ and I think it makes a great summer read. The romance, though it left me wanting more, was still cute and swoon-worthy, while the small-town Lake Michigan setting whisked me away. With a simpler, neater plot, BEACH READ could easily have been a five-star read for me!