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I honestly think this was a book written just for me and I really can’t exactly explain why but all I know is that Gus and January will always have a special place on my shelves. This book made me laugh, sob, smile and swoon and I just adored it I highly, highly recommend this book please just read it.
This was a really different kind of romance novel, if you can really call it that. It explores so many different themes - grief, romance, truth and lies, moving forward, finding yourself - just so many things.
I liked both our main characters, and I liked that this was so different from the norm in terms of chick-lit or romance novels.
It's kind of hard for me to review this without going to into depth about the storyline, and I think it's really a book that just needs to be read to be experienced. Two authors that have their views challenged and not necessarily, changed, but expanded. Definitely a really interesting experience.
I enjoyed all aspects of this and would definitely recommend.
I couldn't put Beach Read down - a delightful romance novel that's about romance novels, among other things. Authors January Andrews and Augustus Everett meet in college, but we meet them about six years later when January unexpectedly moves next door to Gus for the summer. She's grieving the loss of a father leading a double life and struggling to write her next romance novel. They decide that the only way to get out of their respective writing ruts is a bet - she will write the next Great American Novel and Gus has to write something with a happy ending. I loved that this book wasn't one-dimensional and had complex layers. We see Gus accept his past and January move through the grieving process. I also really enjoyed Emily Henry's writing style and I look forward to seeing what she does next. Beach Read is indeed the perfect book to read this summer.
(I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Books UK, but all opinions are my own).
Beach Read is not a book I would classify as a rom com. It is so much more complex and sadder than I imagined. Not that there weren't some funny moments, however the issues the main characters are dealing with, are basically life changing. I felt like the issues with Gus and his father weren't as teased out as much as January and her father, but whose father was worse? Definitely his. The writing itself was well done and the plot was interesting. It was fun to see how authors would research and get inspiration for their novels.
This was a fantastic book. I went into it with the expectations that it would be a light fluffy contemporary yet it delves so much more into deeper topics and was quite thought provoking and touching.
I loved January's character. I was drawn into her life from the first chapter and she kept me highly engaged throughout the course of the book. I found her to be highly relatable and her optimistic way she perceives life refreshing.
Gus I was a little hesitant about at the start. He didn't really evoke any kind of emotion from me, he was too closed off and standoffish. Once he started opening up more to January and revealing his emotions and thoughts was when I started warming up to him. He definitely has an enigmatic nature to him that initially draws you in to his character but once we got more of his backstory he became a lot more well rounded and developed.
I loved the actually writing that took up a lot of time in the plot. The way they prioritised their work even though they were crazy for each other I think was very mature of them. This was definitely a slow burn. There were various scenes that got me very eager to read on and find out whether or not January will get her happy ending!
It has all the important ingredients of my favourite guilty-pleasure romantic comedy binge-reads:
a) An 'Enemies to Lovers' relationship all fans of 'The Hating Game' will appreciate b) What's that? Is he a familiar nemesis and enemy from a past-life? Even better. c) They are artsy, creative types. In these case writers- this book was made for me no-shame rom com, art loving self. d) It is written well, like actually really well. Like the different creative passages from the respective authors shows the breadth of Emily Henry's talent. The book also proves to myself and all other naysayers that any genre, or any lens we view the world is valid.
So, what is it about?
January Andrews writes romance novels, though the inspiration and motivation is off (me!), while Augustus Everett, or Gus, takes at least five-years to create an award-winning, blood-curdling masterpiece (I too am on the five-year mark on my book, though, with none of the success of Gus...). They are neighbours in a beach-side town and decide to swap genres for a bit.
What? That's it?!
No, there's plenty more. Plenty more I do not care to spoil. All I can say that this book deals with self-destructive behaviour, coming to terms with lies told and learning to at least accept people as they are, the way trauma exists and manifests in different ways for these characters. This is all I can say, but prepare to be bowled over by a book that goes far beyond it's genre.
I usually don't rate rom coms highly because I'm a terrible snob, but this was truly superb, The purpose of a perfect rating is to say- 'This book challenged me, made me cry, made me feeeel'. This book certainly did that. Final Rating: Five stars. No irony. No shame.
*This ARC was provided by Penguin Books UK and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
I loved this book. Wasn’t the typical rom com even though it was so romantic and had laugh out loud moments. The chemistry between January and Gus was incredible. They were both well developed characters and I wanted both of them to succeed. The subplot about January’s father was heartbreaking.