Saturday, April 18, 2020

Beach Read by Emily Henry

I finished a book! I'm still trying to find my pandemic comfort reading. I think it's trending towards lighter reads. If I can't focus on a book right away, I put it aside. Sunnier days ahead will send those books back to me and I'll happily read them then. 

So, Beach Read. Emily Henry is an author I haven't read before. She writes YA novels and I think this is her first adult novel. I was excited to read it because it looked like a rom-com and I was all in! This is, however, one of those novels where the cover does not match what's inside. For one thing, the two main characters (Gus and January) only actually sit on the beach near the very end of the novel. They aren't beach people, especially when the beach in on Lake Michigan and the water is cold. 

For another, I found this novel to be less rom-com and more a tale of two damaged people who are really struggling to come to terms with their pasts in order to move on. January is 29 and it's been a year since her father suddenly passed away. She's published three romances, and is on a deadline for her fourth. She's broke, and suffering from writer's block. She's traveled to North Bear Shores in Michigan to get her father's second home ready to sell (she needs the money!). She's also come to face the second home her father secretly had with another woman. January's unable to face the fact that her father was unfaithful to her mother for most of her life, and her happy childhood memories are crushed under her father's secret life. Happily ever after doesn't exist. 

Gus lives in the house next door to January. He's also a published author, and oh boy, January and Gus went to college together. January and Gus didn't get along at all. So of course sparks will fly, but the path to happiness is very rocky. They make a pact that January will write her idea of the great American novel, and Gus will write a novel that has a happy ending. Whomever gets published first wins. 

As their friendship grows, January's writing fire is lit! She's finally writing again. And she finds herself falling for Gus and preparing herself for heartbreak. For most of the novel you never quite know what Gus is thinking; he's pretty hard to read. But finally, you get a peek inside Gus and he's quite charming. But you're still not sure if happily ever after is in the cards for these two. You have to read to the end to find that out. 

This story wasn't what I expected when I picked this book up and began to read. I'm still trying to decide if I am disappointed or not. There was a lot of emotional baggage between Gus and January, and I felt it weighed the book down a bit. What I did take away was that we should be happy with now, and be satisfied with that--we aren't guaranteed happy all the time, and that's okay. Happy is also in the small moments that we think are just everyday, and that I can agree with and recognize. Those small, quiet moments are what we string together to make one big happy life. 

Rating: 3/6 for a novel that has me on the fence. There were parts of it I enjoyed very much, and other parts that felt really heavy. Gus will steal your heart and you'll find yourself cheering for him and January in their complicated path towards love. 

Available in the United States on May 19, 2020 in hardcover, ebook, and audio. 

No comments :

Post a Comment