I’d like to think I’m a well-rounded reader. I don’t stick to any of genre; I will pick up a book based on whether or not the subject matter is fascinating to me. One genre I don’t read much of, however, is romance.
I love my Book of the Month (BOTM) subscription because it often forces me to pick a book I wouldn’t have otherwise purchased at the bookstore. I’ve found quite a few new favorites reads this way. But I always seem to gravitate more towards the thrillers or pieces of literary fiction that they offer, even though there’s usually a romance pick every month.
This month, however, BOTM had a book called Beach Read by Emily Henry as one of the five selections. I decided to take a chance on it, and here we are.
Beach Read‘s protagonist, January Andrews, is a hopeless romantic and bestselling author of romance novels. A series of misfortunes have left her broke, unable to write, and living in the “love shack” beach house she inherited from her dead, cheating father. She soon realizes that the “grump” that lives next door is none other than Augustus Everett, acclaimed author of dark literary fiction and January’s college rival. Soon, a bet is made to help break them out of their writing ruts: Augustus will pen his first happily-ever-after story, and January will take a stab at writing about the unpleasant things that make us human.
I appreciated having something light to read for once. I’ve been reading a lot of emotionally-heavy books lately, which probably isn’t the smartest of choices considering we’re in the middle of a pandemic. I think what attracted me most to this novel was the way that Henry perfectly captures the messiness of the writing process and the struggles us writers face, especially when it feels like the world around us is spinning out of control.
The second thing I love about this novel is that Henry’s characters were so well-developed and lifelike. They were angsty, hysterical (there were times when I snorted out loud at the banter between Augustus and January) and flawed people trying to navigate through betrayal and heartbreak in their own ways. The chemistry between our two main characters was perfect without being cliche.
This isn’t your stereotypical romance novel, and that’s what makes this such a great read. It was my first time reading Emily Henry’s work, but I’ll definitely be checking out some of her other books.
Beach Read will hit bookstore shelves on May 19th, so right now the only way you can get your hands on this one is through a BOTM subscription (You can use my referral code and get your first box for $9.99). But this is an enemies-to-lovers story that is worth picking up.