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Review: Beach Read

Beach Read

Title: Beach Read
Author: Emily Henry
Genre: Romance, Contemporary Fiction
Page Count: 384
Published by: Berkley Books
Date Published: May 19, 2020
You can find it here: Bookshop.org


Romance author January Andrews’ once seemingly perfect life has been turned upside down. Her perfect boyfriend has broken up with her, she has lost her perfect apartment, she has a bad case of writer’s block, she’s broke, and her father has just passed away and, in the aftermath, revealing he has been having an affair.

Escaping to his “second home” in a small Michigan beach town, she is focused on closing up his house to sell and hopefully writing the book that is due to her publisher in three months. Unfortunately her next door neighbour happens to be Augustus Everett, acclaimed literary novelist, and nemesis from college who is also experiencing writer’s block.

After too many drinks at the local book club, they each agree to a deal: She will write a literary piece of fiction, he will write a romance novel. They will each take the other on “research” dates – from romantic evenings at a carnival (her) to interviews with former cult members (him). And of course they will keep a purely professional relationship …


While I thoroughly enjoy romance novels – they are my go-to for reading slumps after all – I am extremely picky about the ones I actually like.

I loathe when characters have catastrophic blowups over anything that could be solved over a simple conversation in real life. I hate when the strong leading lady is melted into a ridiculous puddle of literary mush by love. I hate when a novel is touted as “haters to lovers” but just … isn’t – you know what I mean.

I could go on, but you get my point. I’m picky.

Luckily, Beach Read doesn’t fall into any of these traps and is purely enjoyable. I found the banter between the characters really entertaining, humorous and smart. I loved the strength of January and Emily Henry’s conversation on the literary stigma that comes with writing “romance” novels and their relegation to secondary status to the *important* literary fiction.

Beach Read is smart and brings some deep topics including anxiety, grief and trauma.  Together, January and Gus form a strong friendship as the basis of their romantic relationship, my favourite to read.

Overall this is an excellent summer read, with a whip-smart heroine, funny dialogue, great enemies to lovers storyline, and surprising emotional depth and heart. If you’re a fan of steamy romance with intelligent characters, you won’t be disappointed here.

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