I first got an ARC from @PRHGlobal/@prhinternational before deciding to listen to the book and…getting a physical copy!
So thank you for my free book @prhinternational
“Like a good book or an incredible outfit, being on vacation transports you into another version of yourself.”
That story is a personal journey. One you take with someone who becomes your best friend, as improbable as it seems because you don’t make sense together.
Poppy is small, feisty, outspoken, funny, adventurous and…hurt from her high school years. She has a loud family and parents who are real hoarder. They are brash, weird and warm.
Alex is dutiful, always in control, old fashioned and used to take care of his little brothers and his depressed father since their mom died when he was very young. He is quiet, loves to read and write. He wears khakis when Poppy looks like a boho.
Their first encounter was brief, when they visited college, two people who just talked because they happened to be next to each other. The conversation was forced and awkward.
When at the end of their first college year they share a car together, the conversation will become really interesting with Poppy unable to stay silent, taunting Alex, pulling him out of his shell and talking so much. And they’ll soon do things together on that summer, building an amazing friendship.
From that moment on, they’ll go every year on vacation together. On a budget first and then on Poppy’s employer’s credit card as she is working for a travel magazine.
We switch between their past vacations, how they build their friendship, how Poppy made “Naked Akex” rear his head while on vacation and how Alex made her feel safe and not lonely anymore.
And then there is “This Summer”.
Where Poppy is feeling adrift after having stopped talking to Alex for two years. We guess that something happened two years ago but we don’t know what.
Emily Henry is slowly building the tension up, coming closer to that summer that broke them.
This summer is a desperate chance for Poppy to mend her friendship with Alex.
I truly was engrossed in that story from the very first scene.
Poppy and Alex were both really loveable and relatable characters with multilayered complexity.
They made me want to know such girl/guy friendship.
I laughed at their antics and the banter was truly excellent.
But beneath the easy veneer of vacation hides past trauma.
Poppy has left Lindfield, her hometown where she’s been bullied and felt alone. She is running away from her childhood, running away from that past Poppy, desperate to be a new and better Poppy. To connect.
Alex has carried his family burden for years. He’s been the dad to his little brothers. Sensible and responsible Alex. Always in control except when he is with Poppy. Traumatized by his mother’s death he is afraid of being happy, of loving and then losing someone.
There is so much feelings, wisdom, joy, happiness and truths in that book! After two books I’d say this is Emily Henry’s signature. A mixed bag of levity, sadness, depth and joy.
If you loved Beach Read by the same author, you are going to enjoy this one so much!
Thanks for reading.