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Beach Read

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Romance (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.

358 pages, Paperback

First published May 19, 2020

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About the author

Emily Henry

15 books69k followers
Emily Henry is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Book Lovers, People We Meet on Vacation, and Beach Read, as well as the forthcoming Happy Place. She lives and writes in Cincinnati and the part of Kentucky just beneath it.

Find her on Instagram @EmilyHenryWrites.

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5 stars
258,554 (34%)
4 stars
304,500 (40%)
3 stars
146,034 (19%)
2 stars
30,845 (4%)
1 star
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 79,783 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,135 reviews · 39.4k followers
March 25, 2023
This is my favorite romance read of the year. It came at the second place throughout the voting on goodreads choice awards. But my thoughts haven’t changed! I loved it so so so much!💞💞💞💞

OH MYYYYY GOODNESSSSSS! Finally literature gods heard my prayers that I’ve been requesting to read a fantastic romance that I’ve been craving for so long! I need something heart wrenching, shaking me to the core, help me feel everything at the same time: happiness, angst, joy, forgiveness, enjoyment, resentment, hurting! Yes, I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH! I want to scream it! Oh, thankfully I already did!

I have to add that: This is not beach read. This is GLUED READ. You don’t want to end it and you don’t want to stop reading it so you carry your book at everywhere as if it’s one of your internal organs.

I expected to read something more chic lit, soft, sweet story but instead of that, I got an amazing fiction, a remarkable romance juggles between so many things at the same time from friendship, regrets, cancer, betrayal, dysfunctional families and their secrets, enemies to friends and friends to lovers, rivalry between the authors!

The things I loved mostly:

-Sarcastic but so smart, entertaining, unique dialogues between January and Gus

-The soul crushing, tear jerker, heart shattering, intense father and daughter relationship

-Captivating the story telling from the beginning: I couldn’t put down this book. I actually devour the pages (maybe I accidentally licked my kindle but its screen looks dustless and I’m the grossest person right now!), I couldn’t stop reading January and Gus’ growing attraction, their struggles to open up and their scares not to get hurt, their stupid and childish actions towards each other. Yes I had some many “awww” and sighing moments. My husband thought I was secretly ordering cases of French wines because I smiled so much and I got appointment from the surgeon because it glued to my face and I’m looking like worse version of Joker right now! I cannot stop!

-A witty plot: Two writers were nemesis from college now neighboring beach houses. They both have their deadlines for their books but they’re suffering from writer’s big bold scary blog! (Did it ever happen to me? Nope, after drinking, words pour out from my mind like torrent but next day editing them when you are sober is the most painful experience!) Gus thinks that HEA doesn’t exist but he can push himself to write about it and January could also write some high rated, complex fiction instead of swoony romances! So they bet and replace their places but for inspiration to do that they have to spend time together by experiencing the shiny and dark sides of the life. That means January will take him to carnival, romantic beach and field trips to watch the sunset as Gus takes him to hike at the graveyard or arrange an interview with a grieving woman who lost her death cult member sister. See, it was impossible not to get interested and hooked from the beginning!

-Characterization: January and Gus seems like polar opposites. One pessimist who had problematic childhood with his abusive father and one optimist Pollyanna who loves to see from the brighter side even though her childhood was affected by her mother’s big C hanging over her head like the Sword of Damocles. They are suffering from loneliness and their wrong choices about their love lives. Actually they have so much in common and don’t forget THE SIZZLING CHEMISTRY and UNDENIABLY GROWING ATTRACTION!

LAST PARTS OF THE BOOK: Oh boy! Please prepare your napkins, paper towels, anything to dry your non-stop dripping tears! I’m not giving spoiler but Ms. Henry is an emotional torturer knows exactly how to sing to our hearts, how to break into pieces and magically gathers each pieces and heals you with soul brushing, poignant words. She is a heart whisperer. She knows how to melt your heart!

OVERALL: This is not only one of my favorite books of this year but it is also gonna be my all-time favorite romance books! I’m so happy my great written romantic fiction craving is over!
Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for sharing this year’s one of the best books’ ARC
COPY with me in exchange my honest review. And Emily Henry, thank you for reaching my heart with your effective, soul touching, talented work.

Profile Image for Yun.
509 reviews · 19.1k followers
March 2, 2022
His eyes were doing the thing, the Gus thing . . . and it made my chest flutter almost painfully.
I don't get it. What am I missing here?

Beach Read originally caught my eye because its premise reminded me of Summer Villa, one of my favorite Hallmark movies. I know, I'm publicly admitting to being a sappy romantic at heart. And I'm proud of it. So why couldn't I get into this story at all?

For one, I didn't feel any chemistry between January and Gus. Nothing. Their interactions are so awkward and stilted, it was almost painful. They'll say mundane and platonic things to each other, and then sporadically, January will remind us that heat is filling her abdomen or pooling between her legs, and I'm like, Eh? I can't imagine how two people could possibly fall in love or lust while saying such bland things to each other.

This is the second book I've read by Emily Henry, and I've noticed that her female characters tend to be very twee and precious. They have extremely high expectations of what love is, need to be constantly reassured, and freak out at the smallest blip. At one point, January sees Gus's ex at a public event and she wants to scream and cry, before the woman has even said or done anything. And what's up with calling herself "dumb bunny"? Not to mention, she spends the entire time being upset with her dad over something that was none of her business. Suffice to say, it's all very exhausting.

As for Gus, we are told over and over that he has a crooked mouth and messy hair, wears rumpled and faded clothes, and has a sexy/evil look (what does that even mean?). Otherwise, his only characteristics are that he writes novels, and he adores January for no reasons that I could discern.

The writing style is fluffed out to the excess. There is so much mundane details about every event/non-event, from the multiple-page conversations on should they go or not go, to the logistical details (transportation/gift bringing/preferred topics of conversation) to the minutiae of everything that happens while at the event. And in between, every step of the way, it is interspersed with information on how January is feeling, how she thinks Gus must be feeling, and what this means for their relationship.

They are also constantly affirming what great people the other one is. Gus is dark and broken, but great! January is a fairy princess and a bright light, but great too! And they keep checking in to see if the other is happy. Like, are you happy? I am, are you happy? The conversations were so cheesy and trite, I was crying on the inside.

A good portion of this book is spent on the details of the stories they are each writing and their related research. One is a love story that takes place in a cult and the other is a love story that takes place... in a circus with clowns? I don't even know what I'm reading anymore.

Where is the flirty banter, the sexual tension, the obstacles to overcome? I kept waiting for something exciting to happen, or some interesting dialog, or some insight from this story. But nada. I'll be honest, this is one of the most boring books I've ever read.

My criteria for a romcom isn't that high. I want romance and comedy, but this book didn't satisfy either. I neither swooned nor laughed. I was mostly exhausted from boredom while waiting for this dull story to be over.

See also, my thoughts on:
People We Meet on Vacation

Profile Image for Claudia Lomelí.
8 books · 74.3k followers
June 26, 2020
This was a fun read, but just that. At least for me. I read the synopsis and I was so excited, it sounded like a romance I NEEDED to read. I mean, the main characters are both authors that write totally opposite genres and they develop sort of a enemies to lovers relationship? I WAS SO IN. But sadly, I found it a little boring.

I may be the exception here. I've only read GREAT reviews for this one. Maybe it is because I'm not that into romance stories? SURE, I love romance IN my stories, just not so much if it's the main theme. But sometimes it can happens that a romance books sweeps me away and makes me swoon. Examples:
- To all the boys I've loved before
- The Hating Game
- Red, White & Royal Blue

So yes, there are a few romance books that I love, and I'm always trying to find the next one to add to that list, and I was hoping this was it. But it was not.

Nevertheless, it wasn't bad, I really enjoyed some parts and I was rooting for the main characters! And I really liked the dare. So: January is a romance author and Gus is writes dark literary fiction, and they dare each other to write the thing the other one usually writes! That's the sinopsys and it sounded awesome. It was kinda awesome.

But yeah, I didn't like the book as much as everyone else. The middle part dragged a bit to much and the way Gus handled the situation when things were getting hard was frustrating. And it wasn't a good kind of frustration, it was one that made me go: ugh STOP. Anyway, everyone is loving this book, so my opinion is an unpopular one.
. . .


Esta fue una lectura divertida, pero sólo eso. Por lo menos para mí. Leí la sinopsis y estaba súper emocionada, ¡sonaba como el romance que necesitaba leer YA! Es decir, ¿los personajes principales son autores que escriben géneros totalmente opuestos y van desarrollando una relación estilo enemies to lovers? SÍ, DAME POR FAVOR. Pero tristemente, me terminó aburriendo un poco.

Creo que soy la excepción aquí, pues sólo he leído reseñas EXCELENTES de este libro. Tal vez sea porque no me encantan los libros de romance. Sí, amo el romance DENTRO de las historias que leo, pero no me gusta mucho que sea el tema central. Eso sí, a veces pasa que uno que otro libro de romance me toma por sorpresa y me enamora. Ejemplos:
- A todos los chicos de los que me enamoré
- Cariño, cuánto te odio
- Rojo, Blanco y Sangre Azul

Así que sí, hay algunos pocos libros de romance que amo, y siempre estoy intentando encontrar el nuevo "ROMANCE QUE CLAU AMA" para agregar a la lista. Esperaba que este lo fuera. Pero no.

De todos modos, no estuvo mal. Disfruté mucho de algunas partes y sí quería que los personajes principales quedaran juntos. ¡Y de verdad me gustó mucho el reto! O sea: January es autora de romance y Gus escribe ficción literaria muy oscura, y se retan a escribir lo que el otro suele escribir. Esa es la sinopsis y sonaba increíble. Sí lo fue un poco, la verdad.

Pero sí, al final, este libro no me gustó tanto como a otros. La parte de en medio se alargó mucho y me frustraba bastante cómo Gus manejaba la situación cuando las cosas se ponían difíciles. Y no era una frustración de la buena, era más como: ugh ya basta. Jajajaja. En fin, soy minoría aquí, todo el mundo está amando el libro.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,945 reviews · 292k followers
May 19, 2020
I did what any reasonable adult woman would do when confronted with her college rival turned next-door neighbor. I dove behind the nearest bookshelf.

I really needed this book. I didn't realize how much I needed it until I was giggling along with all the awkwardness and banter and feeling like I'd been taken away from the dark, dreariness of this lockdown. It's exactly what it seems to be: a very cute, sweet romance.

Beach Read is a warm, summery story about a romance writer (January Andrews) and a vair vair serious literary writer (Augustus Everett) who have been long-time writing rivals ever since they attended college together. They find themselves in neighboring beach houses for the summer, each trying to write their next novel whilst doling out perfect comebacks to each other. What could possibly happen?

As they get to know each other a little better, they decide to strike a deal: Augustus will write a happily ever after and January will turn her talents to the serious world of literary fiction. Whoever sells their manuscript first, wins.

I really enjoyed the dynamic between January and Gus. It's not quite love/hate because the author stops short of really making them tear into each other, but there's a lot of tension created by their competitive history. The banter is funny; a little snarky at times, but good-natured. Emily Henry has also perfected that blend of broody and sweet with Gus-- it turns out Romance love interests can be both darkly mysterious and not assholes. Who'da thought?

The story is told entirely from January's POV, which I personally like. I prefer single perspective romance novels because I think a good portion of the tension comes from not knowing what's going on inside the other person's head.

I will say that I might have been more critical of some aspects of this if I was in a different mindset right now. While I expected the novel to be cute and a little cheesy, it is a bit more cheesy and sentimental than I usually prefer. I would have been happier without things like this:
"I don't need snowflakes." He kissed me. "As long as there's January."

I also expected it to be a little more saucy, lol. There’s sex scenes, for sure, but they’re cute and kinda dorky rather than tense and exciting. I know that a lot of people prefer that; I just thought the whole competing authors dynamic was pretty hot and would have liked to see that played upon a bit more. And I loved the jokey banter… I just sorta wanted them to stop the jokey banter DURING sex.

But, fuck it. This was such a heartwarming feel-good book. I had a good time, that's all I can say.

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Profile Image for Ayman.
191 reviews · 71.1k followers
April 5, 2022
i feel like emily henry personally wrote this book for me. ngl i feel like emily henry writes all her books to me, because i connect to them on more than a surface level.✨✨

emily henry put her whole ass and tits into this book. i’ve read “people we meet on vacation” and enjoyed it but “beach read” is the fucking bread and butter yall. her writing is like no other and these characters are nothing is not precious. this is definitely going down as one of my all time favorite contemporary romance. 🥹

Gus is the definition of a man written by a woman. he is a true gem. for a book that’s entirely in one character’s pov, we got so much depth and structure to his character. he is a rarity and i love him so much. he was an easy character to fall head over heals in love with. from the things he says to the way he expresses his touch through his touch. i would literally fucking die for him. 😩

January was such a relatable and deep character. i honestly wasn’t expecting this book to reach any sort of heavy topic but i was aching for these characters, especially January. Her growth from the first few pages to those last was incredible to read about. she’s a baddie that deserves the world and nothing less. 💖

i was hooked from the start to the finish. the ending was the cutest thing ever and left me with the biggest smile on my face. emily writes her characters and plot so realistically. it’s refreshing. like i said before i was aching for these characters. they are my comfort characters and i’ll protect them at all cost bitch😭🤟🏽💖✨

Profile Image for Kat.
260 reviews · 79.2k followers
July 14, 2021
this was a goddamn delight!!

i know, i’m surprised too, another romance book that i loved? unheard of. tbh, i can’t even really explain my change of heart. maybe the turbulence of the year 2020 has softened me to the idea of cliche tropes and consistent Happily Ever Afters, maybe i’ve always been a squishy-hearted romantic in denial, or maybe i’m just finally learning how to pick titles that tickle my fancy...but i’m not really that invested in justifying my newfound love of literary love, i’m too busy having the time of my life.

beach read was soft and sweet, with lots of flirty banter mixed with family drama/discussions, and research about CULTS (yes u read that right). there was a good amount of purse-wine drinking and a killer second chance romance...and boy, did i enjoy it.

emily henry managed to strike a great balance between beachy, summertime fun & thoughtful convos about grief and childhood trauma. as someone who loves the wholesome romances, but also gravitates towards books about dark, sad shit, this hit a LOT of buttons for me (i’ll say it again, ~cults~)

i know that this has been getting an extraordinary amount of buzz, and i’m just a romance newbie who probably doesn’t have the cred to say what exactly is top tier. however, as someone with *too* specific taste most of the time, this definitely got the job done for me & u might like it too? or not, in which case, more gus everett for meeeeeeeee
Profile Image for Olivia (Stories For Coffee).
585 reviews · 5,588 followers
June 22, 2020
*yawn* I'm really sad I wasted my time on this romance that was completely overhyped, in my opinion.

I can't really describe what turned me off from this story, but I just could not get into January and Augustus' budding relationship as they both make a bet and write stories that are out of their comfort zone but ended up being stories that match the same structure as their previously published books. The stories they wrote took up a decent chunk of the plotline, in terms of research, and I just could not begin to care about their WIP or Augustus' out-there cult book.

I also just did not feel connected to January's past relationship with a seemingly perfect man named Jacques who seemed like a placement character whose existence is for the purpose of making January seem like a well-rounded character with a ~dark past~. I wish I could have connected to her character more, but there just was something missing that I can't put my finger on.

I don't know. The romance wasn't engaging, the characters' backstories didn't interest me, and after reading such amazing romances, I have higher standards for romances, and this was not it for me.
Profile Image for zuza_zaksiazkowane.
328 reviews · 30k followers
July 28, 2022
Ja wiedziałam, że wszyscy mi mówiliście, że tego nie polubię. Ale nawet ja czasami mam ochotę na trochę miłości w moim życiu!
Nienawidzę głównej bohaterki przez jej idiotyczne zachowanie. To jedna z tych książek, która miałaby cztery strony, gdyby bohaterowie sobie pogadali chociaż raz. Also, nic w tej książce nie ma znaczenia. Dosłownie nic - na pierwszej stronie wiadomo jak to się skończy, a to że oni się kłócą i się nie dogadują jest tylko po to, żeby "głupiego czytelnika potrzymać w niepewności". Żadne wydarzenie nie ma wartości, wszystko jest płaskie i po prostu męczące.
Nawet nie wiem za co jest te pół gwiazdki. Może za postać Pat.
Cringe cringe cringe cringe cringe

Może to moja zgorzkniała dusza się nie nadaje do takich książek??
Also *mini spojler*, bohaterowie jadą na zgliszcza miejsca, gdzie kiedyś żyła sekta. Wszyscy ci ludzie spłonęli i tam zginęli, a nasi bohaterowie rozkładają namiot, kawałek dalej i idą do łóżka. No szczyt szacunku imo.

Profile Image for jessica.
2,511 reviews · 31.1k followers
April 11, 2022
reread because i need a serotonin boost. this is the ultimate feel-good story. <3

i have always enjoyed EHs diverse writing, but i think she has really come into her own with this story. there is so much i love about this, i really have no idea where to begin. the clever humour? the crackling chemistry between the two MCs? the tenderness with which heavy topics are discussed? the ease that i devoured the writing? the way i fell absolutely head over heels in love with this?

i laughed, i cried, i swooned, and i felt inspired.

so dont let the cover and title fool you - this is so much more than just a summer read. its perfection on paper.

i am eternally grateful to berkley publishing for sending me this ARC!

5 stars
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews · 111k followers
March 27, 2022
I LOVED People We Meet on Vacation, but Beach Read just wasn’t for me. It’s not a bad book by any means! What’s unique about Emily Henry’s approach with romance is that her books feel less like a story revolving around relationships and more of a story focusing on individuals who come together and heal together. I appreciated the depth and internal struggles that the characters faced outside the relationship. For some reason though, I wasn’t feeling the romance. Instead, I found myself more invested in the plot of these two authors swapping genres rather than the romance itself (though the book barely touches upon the former).
Profile Image for Colleen Hoover.
74 books · 645k followers
February 26, 2022
I read this book and then read it backwards and then read it bottom to top and then read all the even words and then read all the odd words and then read it underwater.
Of all the ways I read it, I recommend only reading it from beginning to end. It makes more sense that way and isn't as soggy. Five stars!
Emily Henry wrote this good.
Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews · 152k followers
May 7, 2020
therapy: expensive

reading this romance between an author with writer's block and her gravedigger-turned-best-selling-novelist college rival/unfortunate crush/next-door neighbor, and fill the void that is (the lack of) your love life: considerably less expensive
Profile Image for Katy.
43 reviews · 10 followers
April 11, 2020
if I have to read another “crooked smile” again, I’m going to DIE.
Profile Image for emma.
1,822 reviews · 45.8k followers
November 30, 2022
Everybody knows I love Emily Henry.


Like, it’s probably gotten to the point that people who don’t know anything about me or read my reviews know that. Probably the people who do all they can to avoid my crossing their digital path (and I imagine these people MUST exist, just judging by the number of John Green fans I’ve angered) know it too.

It’s just that true.

I love her and I shout it from the rooftops on the reg.

I was very, very, veryveryvery excited to hear she was doing a rom-com, way outside her usual genre of Young Adult Magical Realism About Funny Brave Prickly Young Women Who Have Magic Or Are Magic Or Are Uniquely Capable Of Seeing Magic, And Their Funny Fun Unique Bands Of Friends.

(My favorite genre.)

In fact I think I commented a concerning all-caps something or other on her Instagram announcement to convey the sheer breadth of my excitement, an event which I’m sure was mildly to severely frightening and yet she handled with grace and poise.

With each passing day I grow more convinced I am a concerning presence on the outskirts of Emily Henry’s online life.

But I digress.

As I write this, my Goodreads review of this book contains five updates. Yes. I am currently writing my review, and yet I have already written five small reviews. Again. Excitement.

This book was NICE. It is not my favorite Emily Henry book (a very tall order), but it does act as the first step in the execution of one of my most hoped-for dreams: An Emily Henry book in every genre. Which in turn is a step toward the pinnacle of my wishes: That all books be written by Emily Henry.

A step in the right direction.

This is often more Rom than Com. There’s a lot of Character Development and Relationship Arcs and Changing Life Paths here. It is overall a more serious book than that crazy-cute cover would imply.

Which is the perfect real-life execution of one of the themes of this book: Literature is no less literature-y for being written by women, or for being written for women, or for ending happily.

Books are books and books are good.

Especially if they’re written by Emily Henry.

Bottom line: <3
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,209 reviews · 26k followers
April 17, 2020
I didn't like this book as much as I thought I would, and that makes me sad. I had this as a five star prediction, one of my most anticipated of the year because this premise sounds PERFECT to me. I love books that follow writers, and I love the idea of two writers swapping genres and competing to sell their book first and have a kind of hate to love vibe but also being really cute still. When I started reading this I was certain it was going to be a five star read, and trust me no one is as bummed a I am that I didn't absolutely love this. I wanted to be obsessed with it the way I am with Unhoneymooners and The Hating Game, but this book just isn't it...

This book started off fine, I actually really like January's character in the beginning. I feel like Gus, the live interest is one of my issues with the book. He comes off as kind of pretentious at times, and he has this attitude like "i'm so broken that nobody can ever understand me" and he doesn't believe in happy endings, he's such a cliche stereotypical brooding moody man character.

I feel like the mood of this book was all over the place, because some of it was trying to be light and fluffy 'beach read' as the title implies, but then some of it was actually dark, like January finding out her recently dead Father was cheating on her Mom her whole life, and Gus making them do all these interviews with people from a cult for writing research, or people who's siblings killed themselves... like some of it got really dark so the tone of the book would shift constantly and it just didn't flow.

I feel like some of their banter was freaking amazing and *chefs kiss*, but then some of their banter, especially towards the middle felt so forced and like the author was trying too hard to make them seem cute. I feel like January's character was wayyyyyy too insecure about some things, like damn Gus made a comment about her being a fairy princess at the beginning of the book and she literally brings it up constantly throughout the entire book.

I also wanted more of their stories they were writing, because that is what made me so interesting in reading this in the first place, I was especially curious about Gus's romance novel and I just wish we got more information about the books they were writing.

So what did I love about this book? I loved the first 100-150 pages, I loved some of the banter, I loved the scenes of them actually writing (I just really love reading about writers as an aspiring writer), I love the complicated relationship between January and her now dead Father, I love the competitive-ness between January and Gus when they are trying to write something outside of their usual genre that would still sell.

I guess I just had too high of expectations for this after hearing the premise and there was just something about this book that didn't quite click with me, and I'm sad about it.
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,474 reviews · 19.2k followers
October 14, 2020
Re-read 10/14/20: nothing compares 2 (jan)u(ary + gus)

Original read 3/25/20: Easily my favorite book of the year so far. I just finished it and I already want to do a re-read to spend some more time with January and Gus. MY HEART. This book was equal parts swooney and grumbley while also being SO self-aware and I loved every little bit of it. Plus, the banter in this was *chef's kiss* PERFECTION. 10/10 do recommend

TW: suicide, death of a parent, adultery, cancer
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,809 reviews · 28.5k followers
April 17, 2020
Don't let the cover and blurb fool you...

This ain't stereotypical chick-lit.

And before anyone gets their feathers all ruffled at my use of the term "chick-lit"....calm down. I actually picked this out as one of my Book of the Month picks this April because I thought it was chick-lit. And, if you have read my reviews or followed me for any length of time, this would surprise you as I have traditionally NEVER been drawn to those kinds of books.

Nothing against them, they just never interested me. But alas, as I have mentioned in some reviews over the last couple years, my tastes have changed a lot lately and I am reading all kinds of genres I never used to be interested in.

Personal growth? Maybe.
The fact that I am quickly approaching "middle-aged?" Perhaps.

But I digress.

The blurb on this really interested me. I thought it was going to be light and exactly what I needed to forget the world for a few hours. And it was.

But it was also so much more than that.

The two main characters here (January and Gus) were both going through some shit that felt real and nuanced. There was a depth to them that was tangible. And the setting - while seemingly plucked straight out of a Nicholas Sparks book - never felt contrived or cliche.

The romance (and so many other elements in the book usually considered trope-y in chick-lit or women's fiction) was written with a tongue-in-cheek hilarity that on one hand called itself out, and on the other, served to undercut any sense of the cliche.

I was really impressed with Emily Henry's writing and style. I enjoyed her ability to flirt with the fourth wall and turn certain things on their head in a manner that made you laugh at it, but also seriously consider it at the same time.

I also really enjoyed all the discussions on writing and the literary/popular culture jokes and references sprinkled throughout the story.

In short, I loved every moment of this book and will definitely be reading more from this author in the future.
Profile Image for Melissa.
647 reviews · 28.6k followers
August 20, 2021
“I’ve never met someone who is so perfectly my favorite person.”

I picked up Beach Read on a whim, looking for a fun distraction to while away the day and found a couple my heart won’t soon forget. Deeply moving and perfectly paced, Beach Read is a love story riddled with infectiously snarky banter hiding behind a somewhat ironic title. This emotionally adept read was everything I didn’t know I needed at this very moment.

Utilizing her engaging and clever wordplay, Emily Henry brings readers into the lives of two very different writers. There’s January Andrews, a once optimist romance writer, battling her own heart while slogging through a bout of writer’s block. And then there’s Augustus (Gus) Everett, a twice published literary author, all broody and mysterious, fighting creative demons of his own. A mix of crappy circumstances and serendipity find January in a lake house for the summer and next-door neighbors to her college rival, Gus.

While there are some lust-filled memories for her to conjure from college, January knows behind that sexy, evil grin of his grumpy Gus has never taken her writing seriously. In an attempt to banish the writer’s block, and prove they can write in each other’s respective genres, a challenge ensues. And it’s not your typical love/hate battle. It’s a tit-for-tat, sarcastic tease fest that made me laugh, brought me to tears, and ramped up the pitter-patter of this optimist heart of mine.

Henry is masterful in her unraveling of both characters, really getting down to the crux of who January and Gus are, and more importantly why. Proving assumptions can be the inhibitor of joy. And while this story is told entirely from January’s perspective, a heady mix of her goading, slipped secrets, and admissions from the man himself provide a glimpse into the soul of lovable Gus. His heartfelt musings to January are everything.

“Before that.”

Relatable, raw, and at times even a little awkward, January and Gus together managed to chip off a chunk of my heart to call their own. Witty exchanges paint the pages and provide the perfect counterbalance to the hurt in their apprehensive hearts. Yet, it’s the undeniable connection they share, and the palpable tension clouding every nook and cranny around Gus and January that makes for such an unforgettable read.

The title seems a bit ironic, given Beach Read has more substance or depth than it suggests. Considering the author’s level of biting humor throughout the novel and her exploration of the stereotypes swirling around the romance and women’s fiction genre, I assume this was purposeful. And very well played.

If you pick up one love story this year, make it Gus and January’s.

*Thank you, thank you, thank you to Berkley Publishing for access to an advanced copy via NetGalley. A book I'm labeling "best-of-the-best" and purchasing for my collection of greats. Here’s to hoping I can track down a signed copy. ♥
Profile Image for Christy.
3,761 reviews · 32k followers
March 14, 2021
5 stars

 photo F0454059-24EF-49AD-A63E-0CDA65738833_zpsdb4vcwrb.png

Beach Read was my first Emily Henry book and I was blown away. Don't let the cover fool you, this isn't some light and fun chick lit story. It's a beautiful romance that has a lot of depth and emotion and I couldn't have loved it more.

January and Gus are both published authors in neighboring beach homes. January just got to her late father's beach house and has a lot of questions. Her recent life events have put her in a bit of a funk when it comes to writing the romance she normally writes. Gus writes more serious literary fiction and they decide to switch genres as a bet to see who can write and sell a book first. To do this, they end up spending a lot of time together and go on adventures to help each other out.

I loved the friendship January and Gus developed. Watching it change and grow was one of my favorite parts of this book. I loved how these two could be open and honest with each other and they challenged each other in the best ways.
I was too much of a romantic for anything to stay casual, and even if we were totally incompatible, I was already in deeper with Gus than a purely physical attraction. And it seemed like neither of us could stop pushing the boundaries.

Beach Read is witty, swoony, and hella romantic. It has a grumpy hero which I love and I seriously couldn't get enough of January and Gus together. Their 'dates' left me with the biggest smile on my face and their chemistry and back and forth was the best. These characters and their story were complex. And it captivated me from the start and never let go. They were both realistic and smart and relatable.

I haven't had a ton of five star reads in 2020, but the ones I have had have been epic. This had the perfect banter, a slow burn romance, and gave me so many feels. I mean, really... what more could I ask for? it was the perfect kind of romance for a reader like me and I highly recommend it!
"When I watch you sleep," he said shakily, "I feel overwhelmed that you exist."
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,041 reviews · 47.7k followers
August 10, 2020
let's play a game of "guess that star rating" before i post my vlog on sunday



mediocrity, thy name is (most, popular) traditionally published romance
Profile Image for kashel.
178 reviews · 185 followers
December 26, 2021
at no point in this book were they actually just reading on a beach
Profile Image for  Teodora .
288 reviews · 1,603 followers
April 2, 2023
5/5 ⭐

Full review on my Blog: The Dacian She-Wolf 🐺

Hands down, this is the best rom-com-that-is-not-exactly-rom-com novel I’ve read (but anyway, I don’t really have experience with the genre).

But, I have to say this because it is true. This book slaps.

I’ve heard so many things about it, I’ve also read so many good reviews and then I just had to get it. And immediately after I got it I dug into it and it felt right.

Beach Read is not exactly the typical rom-com…and maybe it isn’t rom-com at all. It is contemporary romance, it is adult fiction and it is humorous, definitely. But it is more to it than just a good pun.

What I mean to say is that the banter between January and Gus, the two main characters, is genuine and natural. And definitely witty. This book was made with a touch of the art of smart-mouthed dialogue and I loved it.

Besides that, January is just a little bit of a clumsy girl and that definitely gives her the opportunity to star into little incidents that stimulate both laughter and the “Gee, she’s mood” kind of situations for us, the readers. You have no idea how many times I felt like locking myself in someone’s bathroom and drinking wine out of my purse until I am socially ready to mingle at a gathering.


There are issues going deeper the surface plot of the book which makes it a little bit more complex and adds a tad of real-life situation, something like a healthy dose of reality within a dream.

Both January and Gus are writers – completely opposites, I might add – but they somehow end up being neighbours and trying to challenge each other to step in each other’s shoes and write something completely different from what they normally do. And this is the perfect opportunity (or excuse) to fall in love, really.

They spend so much time in each other’s company that they realise how lonely they are, in fact. And how hurt. And so, each other’s proximity helps with their individual growth.

They both have some problems that darken their lives, trailing after them like needy shadows.

January used to romanticise everything around her, thinking that the world can be good, choosing to see the good and the happy and not the bad and the ugly. But finding out something not so pleasant about one of the most important people in her life shook her world. And she had to wake up from her pretty dream and see what’s in front of her – real life.


Gus is cynical by his nature. He’s been through too much shit to actually see the love and the good in the world. When the world is harsh with you and tries to push you in a corner to beat you up with every chance it gets, it is not really one of your priorities in life to fall in love with unicorns. That’s probably why every ending in Gus’s novels is kind of bitter.

Through their friendship, Gus and January learn to see the other halves of their glasses, the ones that they’ve been ignoring their entire lives – January learns that life is not always about happy-endings and Gus realises that there is love in the world even if it’s hidden away from sight.

This book actually made me tear up a bit, I am not going to lie, I had to fight my tears back even though the urge to get up and get a tissue killed me.


If I look at it better, I can say that this has been:
- Funny and somehow relatable;
- Sweet and tender;
- A good dose of not-everything-is-perfect-but-it-could-be-worse reality;
- Emotional and beautiful.

I definitely think this is one of my favourite contemporary romance books and I am super happy that I actually made myself pick it up. I mean, I wasn’t planning on reading it but after I said what the hell, I was kind of completely hooked.

Profile Image for nidhi :).
303 reviews · 719 followers
August 1, 2020
how do ppl cry while reading this, i wanted to bang my head against a wall. i think i have no heart 💔.

unofficially taking a break that no one asked for from romance bc i’m apparently a stone cold bitch unless your name is james herondale.
Profile Image for ✨ A ✨ .
423 reviews · 1,639 followers
May 11, 2021
My only regret is not having read this on the beach outside my cute beach house next to my sexy writing partner slash college rival. Oh wait...

‘As different as I’d thought we were, it felt a little bit like Gus and I were two aliens who’d stumbled into each other on Earth only to discover we shared a native language.’

January Andrews is a Best Selling romance author. Augustus ‘Gus’ Everett is a popular literary fiction author. Old college rivals, the two of them are neighbours for the summer.

As is custom when one confronts your old rival: a deal is struck. For the summer they'll swap genres. Gus will write something happy and January will write a book where the characters don't live ‘happily ever after’

And they'll both try not to give in to the obvious attraction between them. But that goes without saying.

I was expecting cutesy and flirty summer romance but I got so much more!

The writing was so addictive and easy. I think the only thing that could have improved this book is if we had point of view chapters from Sexy Gus (yes that's what I call him OK, it takes unknown skill for an author to make a character with a name like ‘August’ sexy).

I lived for every interaction between January and Sexy Gus . The banter, the slow burn, the pacing — everything was just perfection.

This is the book I never knew I needed. I would also like to take the time to thank Emily Henry (who obviously is not reading this but ya know, I'm putting it out into the universe and all that) for coming up with a truly genius premise.

As y'all know, I read a good amount (a lot) of adult romance (check out my fave adult romance shelf) and recently I've been so bored with all the recycled tropes and plots and honestly this was such a breath of fresh air!!

The rivals trope is one of my favourite tropes (best example of this is my obsession with The Hating Game) and it was so bloody brilliant in this one.

It was beautiful to watch January and Sexy Gus discover how much they have in common, learning to be vulnerable with each other and sharing their pasts with one another.

Something I didn't expect to enjoy was their writing process. I found it immensely fascinating to read about what an author does to prepare for a book. The writing marathons, research excursions and setting word count goals —were precious everyday author moments that I never gave much thought to before.

If you're looking for a unique romance book with great tropes, ‘A Grade’ banter, addictive writing then you're wasting your time reading this review! GO AND GET THIS BOOK YOU FOOL

« e-ARC received from Penguin Random House via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own »

When you're in that romance mood, you just gotta go with it. Buddy reading with Warda 🌻
Profile Image for theburqaavenger➹.
123 reviews · 523 followers
March 26, 2023
*looks at all the shiny five star reviews*
*looks at my two star review*

Beach Read was definitely ... something. Don't get me wrong. Even though i had problems with this book, it was still a pretty enjoyable read


and here comes the big "but". But this book did have some problems hence my 2.5 star rating (you can't see it but it's there). Beach Read has already been reviewed to bits explaining the "goodies" and yours truly is here to point out the "problems" i had with this book.

The enemies to lovers trope:

My biggest problem? This is NOT an enemies to lovers/college rivals turned lovers romance. I mean maybe when they were college students they did have rivalry but do we get to see it? No!! Then how the heck do i get hyped up for thrill i get when i read an enemies to lovers? We go as far as the second chapter and there are already sparkles in the air. I don't find this cute. I don't find this fluffy. I don't like my expectations ... no scratch that. These were not my expectations. The premise of this book promises that this is an enemies to lovers. But i ask this book the same question i ask every book that labels itself as an enemies to lovers: When the heck did your characters hate each other?
I know i know i am being picky. But isn't this about preferences? I am a sucker for a good romance and this book did have a good romance but it failed to deliver the "enemies" part and in doing so this book lost my love for it.

Failing at what it's supposed to be:

Imagine that you are suffering from a really really messy part in your life. So you read a rom-com in order to escape real life. But this rom-com is ... not a rom-com. It reads like a woman fiction. Okay that's fine. (If you see my updates for this book i was pretty hyped for it but as i progressed my updates also disappeared ... ) But no it doesn't stop here. The girl just lost her father. Her father cheated on her mother. Ummm wow. Wasn't this a rom-com?
The first half of this book focuses on the messy parts, the part where you are lost and you don't know what to do now. Uh huh. But then after you read the first half, the book gets warm and sunny to the point of irritation. Suddenly problems are solved, books get published and the the book shifts from the "woman fiction" you were reading to the "romance" it was supposed to be all along. But it was too late. By that time, i was too engrossed in finding out the answer to all these problems but suddenly these problems weren't important. Now we are going on trips and what not. It becomes a fluffy cute romance novel.
Why though?

January Andrews:

I didn't like her *laughs weakly* She is super smart, she is amazing, she is snarky, she is good at banter okay okay okay i get it. Now just stop. But sadly Emily Henry didn't stop at that. January annoyed me. And that is never a good thing.

She has daddy issues.

And she has money issues.

Yeah no thankyou.

The genre swapping thingy:

So the big plot point was supposed to be "he writes a happy book and she writes a sappy book" but this lost it's charm the moment that inevitable misunderstanding trope made it's appearance. For once ... JUST FOR ONCE I ASK THAT THE AUTHORS FORGET THAT THIS TROPE EXISTS AND MAKE A GENUINE REASON DUE TO WHICH THE MC'S HATE EACH OTHER AND NOT BECAUSE OF SOME DAMN MISUNDERSTANDING. 95% of this book doesn't even focus on the book writing. It's sad and moppy and maybe it worked for others but for me a.k.a a person who was looking for sunshine and bubbles and rainbows this book was a failure.

So enough ranting. There were good parts like the banter, the chemistry, the last 20% ... there that's it. Had the whole book focused on the romance part i would have easily given it four stars. Re: I did give this four stars after reading this (i was high on my emotions) but then changed it to three (after realizing how disappointed i was) but now as i write this review i give it 2.5 stars (a perfectly average rating for a perfectly average book).

A good book, which had to fail spectacularly at what it was actually supposed to be first, to become so.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews · 154k followers
March 14, 2021

OHMYGOSH. Goodreads Choice Nominees are in and My Reaction Video is up! Don't forget to vote!
The Written Review

January Andrews is a romance writer through-and-through. She loves crafting unlikely duos, adorable meet-cutes and happy endings.

Augustus Everett is a serious, literary writer from head-to-toe. He loves delving into criminal mindsets, conducting incredible plot twists and killing off all his characters at the end.

January and Augustus went to the same college and a rivalry sparked.

Through a coincidence to end all coincidences, the both of them end up spending the summer as next-door beach houses.

And they both have horrible writer's block.

After one particularly rough night, they make a pact.

Augustus has to write a happy book and January has to pen a Great American Novel. They both will take the other on field trips to introduce them to the genre but that's the only help they'd give.

However, what began as a fun wager quickly becomes serious.

And January soon realizes that all of her "research" trips are more like dates...and what's worse...is she's beginning to like them. A lot.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.

It took the usual enemies-to-lovers trope and flipped it for me. I loved watching the two of them dance around each other and test each other's boundaries.

I adored the "dates" - from cute square dancing lessons to interviewing former cult members - it was a wild and fascinating ride.

This book was a little more serious than a typical romance book and I feel like that grounded me in the story more than I usually am.

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Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
909 reviews · 13.8k followers
May 31, 2020
4.5 stars

nothin' like crying on my balcony at the last 30 pages of this. wow i loved it!

beach read is a bit misleading with its title and cover because what i thought was going to be a light and angsty summer read actually contained a lot of depth and thoughtfulness and heartache. i was able to shift gears and embrace that, and it made this book and the relationship that bloomed within it that much more special. i loved the writing style and the main character's thought process and her slow evolution to being okay. i loved the setting and the small town-ness of it and the banter between her and gus.

the one hurdle i'm not quite over is that this book has a little too much of an unrealistic gleam to it. it mostly stems from the characters' names. no offense if your name is january of augustus, but i couldn't quite shake the feeling that i was reading a romance between a fairytale character and a willy wonka character. the names, and the middle chunk of the book where the characters were chasing each other and not being transparent with their feelings, made this book just a bit at arms' length, but the way it ended brought it back to earth for me.

i highly recommend this book whether you're a sappy romance reader or someone who needs a bit of substance. it balances both perfectly and though it isn't quite the lighthearted beach read it claims to be, it definitely should be on your TBR for this summer.
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