By: Emily Henry
Overall: Gus and January are previous college rivals (who once made-out at a party in college) and are now both published authors. Gus writes deep, dark, literary novels and January writes romance books. They end up living in neighboring beach houses for the summer in a small town on Lake Michigan.
January is dealing with the recent death of her father and Gus is dealing with his own person issues. They both have a bad case of writer’s block. To try and help, they make a deal with eachother. January will write the next Great American Novel, and Gus with write a Happily Every After Love Story. Who ever sells their book to a publisher first is the winner. During the summer, they go on “field trips” together to give the other one ideas for writing in their new genre. January takes Gus to places you could fall in love, like carnivals and farmer’s markets. Gus takes January to tragic places, like the spooky grounds of where an old cult was that was deliberately set on fire and people died. They spend a lot of time together on these “non-date-field-trips” each weekend. They end up admitting to eachother that they have had feelings for eachother since college and do not really dislike eachother, even though they are total opposites. But, they are both going through emotional stuff in their personal lives and are not even ready to date anyone, let alone fall in love. So, they try to focus on writing their books and working on themselves. But, as they keep spending time together, against their better judgement, they start to fall in love.
Ovations: I liked both the main characters of Gus and January. They are both interesting people separately, and I like their interactions together too. They both have strong backstories that have shaped their world views and help explain who they have become as adults. Their relationship together is nice because there are sparks between them, but also they have no idea the other feels this same way. When they do find out the other has feelings for them as well, I like the way they
really try to be adults about it and not jump into a relationship they are not emotionally ready for, but fate and love have other plans for them. I of course love that they are both novel writers! The storyline is romantic, and sexy while also being serious and emotionally complex. Also, I loved Chapter 13! 🙂
Oh Well: The main criticism I would have is this book is just sort of average. It’s not the funniest romance I have read, or the hot & steamiest, or the most heartbreaking, or the most interesting plot line …. it is just average. Also, it does deal with very serious issues, divorce, child abuse, infidelity, death … etc. , all while being a romance book. So, there is a lot going on in this book. On the one hand, it makes the book have more layers and depth, but if you are thinking it is a light, frothy, “beach-read” romance, it is not that.
Opinion: The first Emily Henry book I read was called, The People We Meet On Vacation, and I did not like that one at all. It was very dull and I felt like nothing interesting happened the whole book. But, I gave this popular author another chance, and I am glad I did. This book is much better than that other one. I did care about Gus and January and wanted to read more about their lives. But, I would say that the title “Beach Read” is misleading. It is not a quick, light, fun, summer beach read. But, it is an engaging book about 2 very different authors and how they fell in love. Rating 7 out of 10