Author: Emily Henry
Published: May 19, 2020, Berkley, Book of the Month Club Edition
Length: 362 pages
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Source: Book of the Month Club subscription
Stars: 3 Stars
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.
They’re polar opposites.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.
Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.
I just have to note before I get to the review that this novel is NOT a romance novel. It’s women’s lit. Which is fine, because I do read women’s lit. I’m just a bit baffled as to why they marketed it this way? While there is a romance, it’s not the main obstacle the heroine, January, is trying to overcome. And I think that romances are sort of treated a dismissively by January? Maybe? I don’t know. Also, they spend little to no time on the beach……reading. So? Maybe the title is more a reference to the genre of book that it is?
I like the premise of this book. Two authors challenging each other to switch their genres is fun. I also like that her love interest is August, a nemesis from college. Now she did have a crush on him back then, and she is still attracted to him in the present. I also like the central conflict of the book, January coming to terms with her father’s death and the revelations about him come to light after his death.
Not so much:
The marketing of this book as a romance. Sigh. The central conflict is January’s acceptance of her father as an imperfect human, and her own imperfections as well. It is not about whether or not Gus and she get a happily ever after. Also, there is a weird subplot about a cult in the woods that is a bit like the Branch Davidians or Jim Jones that is just gross? Especially the way the two survivors are treated by Gus. By the way, Gus writes a romance that uses a cult as the setting for the romance and for me it felt wrong.
What I’ll remember:
The thing I remember about this book is the weird cult subplot. I just find it so weird that I can’t stop thinking about it. And not in a good way.
Would I recommend?
Yes, in spite of the cult stuff. But I do think YMMV. I like Gus. It’s a beach read. I like the frantically trying to positive and happy January. I like way January realizes that humans make mistakes and are imperfect.
Have you read Beach Read? Did you like it? Do you agree or disagree with my assessment? Let me know in the comments below.