Title: Beach Read
Author: Emily Henry
Series info: Standalone
This book is hyped. A ton of romance lovers as well as other readers praised this book and hence I had e x p e c t a t i o n s. I’ve read many romance books by this point and was interested to know why this book that sounded okay is considered to be so great.
Another thing that I expected was that this book would be light and easy read because of the title. Beach reads are supposed to be light, having vacation-vibes, and easy to breeze through.
BUT. As this book is widely liked, the negative or mixed reviews do stand out. I read a couple mixed reviews and they warned me to go into this book with a grain of salt.
January Andrews is a romance writer but after the events of last year, she has lost faith in love and romance. She has lost faith in happily ever afters. How is she supposed to write another romance book if she doesn’t believe in the endings?
January’s mortal rival Augustus Everett is the exact opposite. His books deal with hard things and don’t promise happy endings. In fact, you can bet that there will never be happy endings in his book.
When January and Augustus become neighbours by chance years after they graduated from the same university, it’s destiny because they’re each in a writing slump. They make a deal to switch their genres and compete on who will get the first book deal.
But as always, things are not so straight forward in life.
I went into this book slightly cautious, knowing that it might not be as good for me as some readers say it is. And that is my only saving grace.
I just barely liked this book. Let me explain why in a list of likes vs dislikes (and maybe some neutrals).
- Liked: the book is about writers.
This was my most liked part about the book, and it isn’t even that redeeming. There are many books featuring writers and readers that I have read in the past and this wasn’t different or unique enough for me to like it a lot.
But it was something I liked nonetheless. We see the writing processes of two very different writers.
- Disliked: how ordinary the main character was.
January did not feel like a real person. She did not have as much complexity as a normal person would, or even like characters of other books.
All there was to January was her writing and her issue with her dad which is the main theme of this book. Her dad apparently had a mistress for years which her mom knew about but she didn’t. In this book, January struggles to reconcile the father she thought she knew to this whole new facet of him.
I did not see anything else about her*, except probably her loneliness in this book. The only complicated thing about her was her dad. That is so not how people really are.
*if you’ve read the book and you thought there was more to her character, please tell me in the comments what I missed! It seems unreal that only I feel this way while this book is so loved. Either I missed something or I missed this point in other book reviews.
- Neutral: Augustus was better than Janurary.
He had way more depth and complexity to him. Through the book January starts to get to know him and realizes that there is much more to him that what she had thought.
Augustus was also cliched for a romance story. There have been way too many books with the female character who has maybe one issue in her life fall in love with a “bad boy” who has tons of baggage.
- Liked: what romance means to readers.
Romance is a highly ridiculed genre and is dubbed as “the genre for women”. Admitting that I like romance is akin to knowing that I will be judged by people.
But there’s more to romance books than fluffy reads meant for women. It’s not that they don’t talk about other topics or include intelligent conversations. But that is the how the genre is perceived.
This book, through January, talks about why romance can be liked by many. Why it is not a stupid genre to like. Romance is not just a by-women-for-women genre.
I liked that bit of discussion.
- Slightly liked: the romance.
Well, what can I say? There was chemistry between the characters, definitely. But I did not like this overall plot? It’s honestly not even bad. I just couldn’t like it. This point is mostly personal, I guess.
It was simply okay.
I didn’t dislike the book but I also didn’t like it. I’d say skip this one if you’ve read many romance books because you probably would have read versions of this story before.
But then again, it’s loved by many so you might like it? I don’t know. Proceed without expectations.
Have you read Beach Read? How was it for you?