Beach Read – Emily Henry

4 stars

If you think you’re about to read a chick-lit book about a beach vacation when you pick up Beach Readthen you are wrong. Myself included, I had no idea the depth to this book and upon reading several similar reviews, concluded that the title (and cover art) is incredibly captivating and misleading at the same time. 

Beach Read appeared to be a light and fun read, maybe about a single girl who goes on vacation and meets the love of her life and it all ends perfectly. WrongYes, there’s love and January is definitely single, but this is a perfect example of the phrase – never judge a book by its cover (and/or title, in this case). 

January is a young, successful women’s fiction and romance author, struggling to crank out her next novel before the summer ends and her looming deadline rapidly approaches. After her dad’s sudden death and the unbelievable discovery of the dual live he lived for so many years, she retracts to the beach house he left her, determined to isolate herself until her novel is finished. Things aren’t going as planned and with more mental distractions than anything, January isn’t sure the book and paycheck she so heavily relies on will happen. When she discovers her next door neighbor is actually her arch-rival from college and competing fiction writer Augustus, she isn’t sure things can get any worse. 

As we watch January and Gus’ relationship transform from misunderstood enemies to a deep friendship, we start to see the dark tangles of each of their lives unravel, one shaky and weak thread at a time. As both of them battle their own internal demons from the past that have leaked into the present, they realize they’re perhaps more broken than they ever thought possible. 

When the two strike a deal with each other – January will write fiction and Gus will write a romance novel – they set out on a remarkable and unforgettable summer full of revelations, eye-openers, and heartache. 

Beach Read turned out to hold much more meaning and realism than I thought. I’m always hesitant to read books that are so mainstream and have so much hype, but I have to say that this one did not disappoint. I stayed up until nearly one in the morning to finish this, savoring every word and realization learned.

This book isn’t shy to detail the exact issues buried beneath all of us – a longing for acceptance and love, grief and disappointment, and an ache for the life we thought we would, and should, have. If you’re looking for a book that is perfect and happy from start to finish, I would not suggest picking this up. However, if you’re wanting a book that has highs and lows, victories and setbacks, I think Beach Read could be one of the most relatable books you may come across. 

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