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Sunday, May 22, 2022

Book Review: Beach Read by Emily Henry

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BOOK review
Started on: 1 May 2022
Finished on: 14 May 2022
 
 
Title: Beach Read
Author: Emily Henry
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 361 pages / 380 pages (e-book)
Year of Publication: 2020
Price: Rp 110,000 (https://www.periplus.com/)

Rating: 4.5/5
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"I'd been so comforted by books with the promise of a happy ending, and I'd wanted to give someone else that same gift. 
Gus was writing to try to understand something horrible that had happened to him. No wonder what we wrote was so different."
January Andrews writes bestselling romance novels with happily ever afters who no longer believes in love after what she discovered about her parents. While Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction who tends to kill off his entire cast. They're polar opposites, but one thing they have in common is that they're living in neighboring beach houses and bogged down with writer's block. Until one evening, the two of them decided to do a challenge 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 a rom-com montage, and he'll take her to interview surviving members of a death cult. During the time spent together, both January and Augustus slowly opens up about their past that brings them closer to one another.
"Happy endings don't happen to everyone.
There's nothing you can do to make someone keep loving you."
"I thought—think it's brave to believe in love. I mean, the lasting kind. To try for that, even knowing it can hurt you."
I've had Emily Henry's books on my TBR list for quite some time now and I finally picked one up because I'm in the mood for contemporary romance. I was quite hesitant to start this book because of all the hype surrounding it. I tried my best to manage my expectations because most of the time I get disappointed when I set the bar too high ๐Ÿ™ˆ. But thankfully, I ended up enjoying this book from start to finish and it's definitely a good introduction to Emily Henry's writing. It's also fun to read a book about authors, which allow us to get a glimpse of the creative process behind a published book. I initially thought that this is going to be a light and fluffy read, but it actually involve some heavy topics that I didn't expect to find.
"A smile and a flutter weren't enough for me. I was done with secrets and lies, no matter how pretty."
"That's the key to marriage. You have to keep falling in love with every new version of each other, and it's the best feeling in the whole world."
The whole story is written in first-person POV of our main character, January Andrews—author of bestselling romance novels with happily ever afters. When she discovered a heartbreaking truth about her dad who just passed away, she was devastated and stopped believing in love. January then moved to a beach house in North Bear Shores and coincidentally live next door to an old college rival of hers, Augustus 'Gus' Everett—a popular literary fiction author. Things get interesting when they took on the challenge to write each other's genre. They spend weekends together to learn about the other person's genre better and I absolutely love how they gradually grew closer through their witty banters! Page by page, I feel like I get to know these characters a little better and was able to sympathize with what they're feeling. January expressed her disappointment about her dad and Gus shared the story of his childhood living with an abusive father. I adore the chemistry between January and Gus and how their relationship grows naturally through friendship. I find it incredibly sweet how they're able to be vulnerable and give each other consolation when needed.

Through all those cute interactions, I still feel like there's something mysterious about Gus—as if he's trying to hide something. When the secret is finally revealed, I was just as shocked as January when she found out about it. Of course I'm not going to reveal it in this review, but I love how this secret somehow mirrors what January's dad experienced in the past—I really appreciate how all the conflicts intertwined nicely in the end. It made their relationship a lot more complicated and caused confusion for January as well. I felt so relieved when January finally gathered her courage to confront Gus about the truth. Since the story is written in first-person, I feel like I can completely understand January's perspective and the reasoning behind all of her actions. I think both January and Gus are going through their own brokenness and found solace in each other. The emotional damage that they sustained has made their characters feel relatable and real (not just good-looking characters without any personality)—and as I was reading, I kept wishing them both to have their happy endings ๐Ÿฅฐ.
"Bad things don't dig down through your life until the pit's so deep that nothing good will ever be big enough to make you happy again. No matter how much shit, there will always be wildflowers."
"Why do bad things happen? I thought. How will it all make sense? But no great truth appeared to me. There was no good reason to this horrible thing had happened, and no reasons Gus's life had been what it was either."
Overall, this book managed to warm my heart and made me smile a lot. There are some funny moments that made me laugh, but there are also some thought-provoking passages that made me ponder as well (which mostly comes from their research about the suicide cult). I especially love the romantic tension between Gus and January that made me anticipate what's going to happen to them next. Even though the ending was kind of predictable for me personally, I still enjoyed the whole story from start to finish. I'm glad there's closure to all of the conflicts and I finished this book feeling quite satisfied. As I said earlier, I thoroughly enjoyed Emily Henry's writing style and will definitely check out her other books when I'm in the mood to read another romance ๐Ÿ˜‰.
"How could I trust my own feelings? People were complicated. They weren't math problems; they were collections of feelings and decisions and dumb luck. The world was complicated too, not a beautifully hazy French film, but a disastrous, horrible mess, speckled with brilliance and love and meaning."

by.stefaniesugia♥ .
 

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