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.
5 buddy read stars
I had seen that book everywhere on Instagram so when The Bookish Ladies Club announced that this would be their book club read for June, I was in!
I knew that this would not be “just” a romcom or a rainbow and unicorn story. And I wasn’t really surprised at the depth of the story and the struggles of the characters.
Someone in the book club said it was “sweet serious” and it’s the perfect definition that you could use!
You begin with January being homeless and in need of making money after she broke up with her boyfriend. She is a writer who needs to send her draft to her publisher like, yesterday but she has a writing block as she went through very difficult times.
January always wrote stories with happy ending and love. She believed you could have your happy ending and that love for life was possible.
Her father’s death and the discovery of his affair shook her world on its foundation and now she can’t seem to muster the will to write about her usual romcoms.
She arrives at her father’s “love nest” on a lake in Michigan and the first scene is quite funny as she is talking with her upbeat best friend on the phone and does not dare to check for a “sex dungeon” in the basement.
The same day, she’ll meet her grumpy neighbor or rather, noisy neighbor.
As January is quite bitter, stressed and tired, let’s just say that their relationship will begin with traded sarcasm. He’ll become her nemesis in that small town until ….until she realizes that he IS her old college nemesis/competitor/crush rolled into one: the famous Augustus!
Gus who writes very serious books as opposed to the light hearted books she writes.
I won’t say more about the plot, just that it’s a mix of hate to love story with lots and lots of hidden depth and serious topics.
Emily Henry has a smooth writing, plunging you right into her story and the character’s life! It felt effortless to read with a perfect pace.
It was a perfect balance between laughter and tears. Light and heavy.
Every character had hefty baggage but writing about characters with problems made them real and so relatable. They also had secrets. It was like these Russian dolls: you peeled one layer and another one awaited. You revealed a secret and another one was just waiting!
If you had hard topics like grief, abuse, rejection etc you also had tons of light and funny moments thanks to the way January and Gus communicated with their notes while writing!
I laughed when January ducked behind a shelf at a bookstore when she caught a glimpse of Gus! And I snickered at their witty banter!
And confession: it took me 59 page to realize she is named JANUARY and he AUGUSTUS! They are opposite in seasons and in book genre 🤣
Another thing I absolutely adored in this book was the dare they had running (I won’t tell more as you’ll have to discover it by yourself) and all the explanations January gave about writing a book! Plotting, writing characters etc. That was extremely interesting!
To sum it up: Beach Read was a delightful surprise, the discovery of a new author to add to my “one click” list and a story that hides lots of depth underneath a pretty package.
Have you read it?
Thanks for reading!
I have a copy of this one on my shelf, waiting to be cracked open…now I really have to read it!!
I have been hearing so many good things about this book, and it sounds like the perfect one for me. I definitely want to read it now for myself ^.^
So brilliant this was such a delightful surprise and had hidden depths- I definitely want to check it out 😀 Excellent review!
Thank you!! And I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!
I think the description “sweet serious” is perfect for this book. I’m glad to hear how much you enjoyed it too. It’s definitely one of my faves of 2020 so far.
Mine too Suzanne!
I like the description “sweet serious.” 🙂 It seems like early on the cover was throwing readers off and many reviewers were disappointed/confused that it wasn’t a rom-com (like the cover seems to indicate). But now it feels like enough reviews are out there and people know that’s it’s not just a fluffy beach read. Glad you had a better idea of what to expect going in!
Yes Tanya that helped a lot!
I’ve been mood reading this genre lately and this sounds so good!
It is amazing Laura!
I put this one on hold at the library, but it’s so popular that it looks like I may be waiting a while. 🙂
Well you’ll be even happier when it will be available Katie!
Yay!! I have been dying to give this one a try! You are making me want to drop everything and read it right now. 🙂
Oh please do it!
I have this book on my Kindle and now I have to read it ASAP! 🙂
I love the term “sweet serious” those are the perfect books. Glad you enjoyed this one here.
Thank you Renee!
This sounds wonderful, Sophie! So glad to see how much you loved it. Got to admit that “sweet serious” sounds like a flavour or something too hahaha 😀
I know right? 😉
I kept telling everyone that this wasn’t what I expected, but I still loved it. Henry wrote some of the best banter I have ever read, and she made me cry quite a bit – always a sign of a good book for me.
Exactly! I do love a good banter Sam!
This is an amazing review! I really hope to read it, sooner or later, but in the meantime I had fun reading what you wrote about it!
Haha glad you enjoyed it Susy!
This looks so good! Fabulous review, Sophie
Thank you Jacquie!