Beach Read – Emily Henry

Genre: Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 361
Release Date: May 19, 2020

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

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.


Beach Read follows January as she makes a bet with her college rival to each write a book outside of their comfort zones.

I wish I could have loved this book, but, unfortunately, I thought it was slow and the love interest, Gus, felt lackluster.

The idea behind Beach Read was something I connected with immediately. College rivals entering a bet and slowly falling in love as their resentment towards each other turns into something else entirely. It’s the perfect enemies-to-lovers story since the characters aren’t awful to each other. Coupled with a summer beach house setting and a complex and multifaceted main character, Beach Read should have been a five star read.

One of the issues I had with Beach Read was Gus. He’s an interesting enough love interest, but his character development is almost nonexistent. For a majority of the novel, Gus is portrayed as the mysterious and pretentious literary writer January disliked because he always seemed to be judging her. This could have been cleared up had Henry spent more time fleshing out January and Gus’ past in college together. Instead, Henry gives readers a few glimpses of the past. I wish Henry would have given readers full flashbacks, especially the frat house scene. I would liked to read an entire book written about their time in college.

Another issue I had was the lack of chemistry between January and Gus. Their rivalry should have been teeming with sexual tension, instead it feels as if they only just met and are mildly attracted to each other. However, the few sexual scenes are beautifully written. They’re overwhelmingly emotional and are not crass.

Finally, January deals with some unresolved issues regarding her late father. These issues almost only serve as a catalyst for the story since they go largely ignored for most of the novel until the very end where they’re wrapped up quickly.

Side note: I loved all the Veronica Mars references. 

Overall, Beach Read is exactly as titled. It’s a lighthearted romance that tries to dig deep, but only skims the surface.



Have you read Beach Read? What did you think?

3 thoughts on “Beach Read – Emily Henry

  1. OMG I’m so glad I’m not the only one not in LOVE with this book!!!! This book has been haunting me ever since I read it earlier this year. All these 5 star reviews and then there is my lousy 3 star – lol. I felt like I’ve been reading a different book.

    ~ Corina | The Brown Eyed Bookworm

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