Title: Beach Read
Author: Emily Henry
Published: May 2020
Publisher: Penguin Books (UK)
I received a copy of Beach Read from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
He doesn’t believe in happy endings.
She’s lost her faith that they exist.
But could they find one together?
January is a hopeless romantic who likes narrating her life as if she’s the heroine in a blockbuster movie.
Augustus is a serious literary type who thinks true love is a fairy-tale.
January and Augustus are not going to get on.
But they actually have more in common than you’d think:
They’re both broke.
They’ve got crippling writer’s block.
They need to write bestsellers before the end of the summer.
The result? A bet to see who can get their book published first.
The catch? They have to swap genres.
The risk? In telling each other’s stories, their worlds might be changed entirely…
Set over one sizzling summer, Beach Read is a witty, feel-good love story for fans of The Flat Share and Our Stop.
Beach Read is one of those books that everyone is talking about at the moment, and it’s not hard to see why. Set during the summer break, two writer’s swap genres in an attempt to break their writer’s block and (possibly) their own personal rivalry. It’s a book that is the perfect summer read – potentially on the beach (if that’s your thing) – and will keep you hooked from start to finish.
January, a hopeless romantic romance writer, whose faith in ‘love conquers all’ has been challenged, is trying to find her writing mojo again in a cottage by the sea that used to belong to her late father. All she wants is time to write and find herself. What she doesn’t want is her college writing enemy, Augustus, living next door to her. He writes literary fiction and looks down on romance writer’s (or does he?) and the two banter back and forth until they come up with a summer dare to get them both out of their writing slumps – they’ll each try to write a book in the other’s genre, and the first to have it published, wins. What follows is a delightful story of writing research (from serious outings interviewing cult survivors to romantic day trips to inspire romance) and romance blossoming from the most unlikely places.
There’s a certain comfort in romance books – yes, there’s the guaranteed HEA/HFN component, but there’s also the journey. Romance is about relationships and how people can grow and change, and we see that in both January and Augustus throughout Beach Read. They have a wonderful back and forth banter that challenges the other, while also showing a certain growing respect and understanding for the work the other does.
I also adored the ‘research’ trips they take. Both the research for literary fiction and romance pushes January and Augustus out of their comfort zones and really sets up some interesting conversations between the two, while helping them to unpack more about the other person.
What probably isn’t mentioned a lot in reviews (the ones I’ve seen so far) is the emotional journey January is on, dealing with the death of her father before the start of the novel. She’s found out things about her parent’s relationship she’d rather not have known, especially about her father, and it’s thrown her for a loop, and forces her to question her own ideals. It also has an impact on the supporting characters she meets in the small town where she’s chosen to hide away for the summer.
While Beach Read might be publicised as a romantic comedy, it’s far more than that. It deals with facing unwelcome truths and life and relationships that aren’t always like those in books. I absolutely adored it and ordered my physical copy as soon as I was done reading.