This is a book that I was so excited about. The ARC has, admittedly, sat in my TBR for a little longer than I’d like. Then I saw the opportunity to request the audiobook as an ARC as well as the e-ARC? You know I requested that as well. And I’m so glad that I did. This book would have been super easy to read anyway, but as I’ve been in a bit of a slump, I wanted to make it as easy on myself as possible. And it was a great choice. I really enjoyed listening to this book, and I would highly recommend the audiobook.
Backing up a little, I should actually tell you what the book is about. Meet Poppy and Alex; two best friends who take a summer trip together as often as possible. They didn’t get off to a great start in college, but after travelling home together one summer, they became great friends. And the tradition of a summer trip was born. 12 years later, and Poppy and Alex have been out of touch. After a mistake in Croatia, this could be Poppy’s last chance to make things work with Alex and keep him in her life. She’s determined to make this trip perfect, but things are definitely not going to be smooth sailing.
It’s a fairly simple plot. And if you can’t tell, this book does keep switching between flashbacks and the present. This is something that usually would annoy me. But I went into this book expecting that, and I actually enjoyed getting snapshots into their past. I liked seeing both Poppy and Alex grow, as well as the way their relationship changed. Not to mention it was fun to see all the places mentioned, even if some of them were just US locations. The skipping back and forth meant that you could get a grounded understanding of the events in their past. And enjoy knowing what happened. But there could still be a focus on the present. If this had been separated out into sections of holidays, it probably would have been a lot longer book. And I don’t think it would have worked as well.
I’m not sure what to describe this book as genre-wise. I’ve classed it as romance on my spreadsheet, but it also very much has a chick-lit feel. Poppy wants Alex back in her life, as she’s trying to figure out why she’s feeling low. You get hints into her friends and family’s lives, and the book is solely in her POV. There isn’t as an in-depth look into the characters lives that there might have been if it was a chick-lit novel. But it did feel like so much of this story is centred on growth. Even if the other half is romance. I did really enjoy that aspect, I did in Beach Read as well, so I think that’s what makes Emily Henry a standout romance novelist to me.
I did enjoy the romance. The authors note in the back said that Henry wanted to write a novel where the romance was unexpected. Two totally different characters who seem like they shouldn’t work. But something about each other changes them for the better. And you’re rooting for them anyway. I love that so much. I think it’s partly why I tend to like enemies to lovers in other books because of the idea that a couple shouldn’t work but does? There’s just something so sweet about that. I didn’t see why Poppy and Alex shouldn’t work, but I think that’s part of the strength of their relationship. They are such different characters, but their friendship and later romance just works. I loved the banter, it was funny and cute, and I wanted more of it. The pain they felt when they were struggling, I did too, and I nearly teared up a few times.
This book was just so good, and I think it’s actually one of my new favourite books. It’s well worth the read.
So if you’re looking for a fun and flirty romp that’ll make you wish you were on vacation? Check this out.