Featured photo by Timothy Meinberg | Retrieved from Unsplash
Emily Henry, you did it again!
After reading People We Meet on Vacation, I knew I had to read Beach Read. Emily Henry sure does know how to create loveable but flawed and complex characters and make her readers laugh.
This is the story of January and Augustus (Gus)
January is a romance writer who gives her characters happy endings.
Gus is a literary fiction writer who gives his characters… not so happy endings.
Both are stuck in a writing rut.
These two are opposites, and they also have a past. They went to college together. Almost immediately, the reader realizes the odd hatred January has for Gus as he would constantly critique her work in school. I say odd because it is clear she is still attracted to him.
Anyways, they end up becoming neighbors for summer when January inherits her late father’s beach house. Thus begins a summer writing challenge to push each other out of their comfort zones.
There are complex secrets and family drama on both sides.
As the story is told from January’s point of view, the reader immediately knows what her family drama is and the demons she deals with.
Gus is more of a mystery; a mystery that leaves the reader wanting to know more. Even when I wasn’t reading, I would often find myself wondering what exactly happened to Gus.
Have no fear, you will know everything about this guy by the end!
Reading a romcom whilst thinking about if happy endings exist.
The big thing I can appreciate Beach Read for is making readers laugh but then asking the big, heavy questions like do happy endings exist? What do we define as a happy ending? Is falling in love a happy ending… or a happy beginning?
I truly love that Emily Henry manages to tell an adorable romantic story while addressing more philosophical ideas or serious topics.
For me, it made me realize something that maybe I’ve just subconsciously known: there aren’t exactly any happy endings because there’s only one ending in life, and that is death (sorry to take a dark turn… I guess I’m more like Gus and less like January!).
A breakup? I consider that a beginning of a new chapter of life.
Engagement? A happy beginning.
Marriage? Also a beginning.
Having kids? A beginning!
Retirement? A beginning that someone worked so hard for.
While most of these involve ending something, they are still beginning something else.
Above all, I think this story and these characters taught us that we can have different perspectives about these things and there isn’t a right or wrong answer.
The perfect summer read!
While it doesn’t take place in Malibu or Maui (it takes place in Michigan.. so close), Beach Read is still the perfect summer BEACHY read. At least it was for me. It took me back to my summers when I lived in northern California and even when I lived in northern Nevada and would take trips to various lakes (Tahoe, Rollins, Folsom, Pyramid, Lahontan… to name a few).
If you’re going on vacation near water, plan to drink a bunch and eat a bunch… Beach Read is the perfect pairing.