Hi and welcome to the reading world!
Today I’m going to be reviewing Beach Read, a contemporary romance with witty, laugh-out-loud banter and a story about family and grief.
Beach Read is a book I went into knowing relatively little about, and I think that’s a good way to keep it. Suffice it to say, the protagonist is dealing with not only the loss of a major family member, but some unexpected family drama that occurred as well. On top of this, she’s an author facing a significant writer’s block. January decides to try and solve all of these problems at once by journeying to a beach house that is more than just a vacation spot and writing her next novel there. She then has an unexpected encounter with former writing rival Augustus now living next door, and the story takes off from there.
This book genuinely made me laugh out loud multiple times while reading. January and Augustus have the kind of banter that I truly cherish in a contemporary novel, and their interactions shined. The “hate-to-love” trope is done very well here. Additionally, the small town feel and the side characters oftentimes brought unique and bright moments to the story that I enjoyed. The major plot between January and Augustus that unfolds as the story goes on is both unique and often entertaining to read about, although it did feel a bit slow at times.
It is worth noting that this book also talks about some serious topics like grief, loss, and infidelity. These can be difficult to read about, but I personally felt were overall well woven into the story as part of January’s life and dealing with the aftermath of losing a loved one, even if some of the execution and discussion involved tropes I personally do not enjoy. Please check out The Storygraph page on this book if you want specific content warnings.
The one issue I had with January as a narrator occurred with her moments of making an extreme or sudden assumption about other characters and then holding it as being factual, oftentimes without enough supporting evidence. Yes, I know that I definitely sound like a STEM grad student talking about an untested hypothesis needing data before a conclusion can be made, but this was something that I struggled with while reading from January’s perspective to try and understand the other characters. Regardless of whether or not January was right in these instances, it was an absolute stance that oftentimes I wanted to see challenged more or given more concrete background before as a reader I could buy into it.
Overall, Beach Read was a fun read that still dealt with some hard issues and had a compelling story balanced with a fun romance. It had some tropes I personally love, but also some I really dislike in contemporary literature. The character interactions were by far my favorite part of the book, oftentimes making me laugh and in deeper moments making me think about the themes of the novel.
I’m definitely curious to pick up Emily Henry’s next novel, People We Meet on Vacation, in May.
Have you read Beach Read?
Thank you for stopping by!