Book club

“Beach Read”: Where’s my grouchy writer love interest?

Grace Schutte

More stories from Grace Schutte

May 10, 2023

Photo by Delia Brandel

I am not the best at keeping up with the trends. I see them happening all around me, but sometimes no matter how good the reviews, how funny the memes, it isn’t always enough to get me into it. Not right away, at least. 

I’ve done this on a number of occasions: I waited at least six months before watching “Squid Game”; by the time I got around to “Game of Thrones,” I already knew the last season was terrible and didn’t bother; and the second season of “Euphoria” had already had its moment when I started the first. 

For some reason, I’m not compelled to keep my finger on the pop culture pulse. Not to say I hate it — I’m constantly consuming it and just recently had to delete TikTok off my phone because I liked it too much. 

But, alas, this is who I am, and sometimes it takes me a little longer to see what all the hype is about. And that is exactly what happened to me with Emily Henry

Emily Henry rose to book publishing stardom around the same time Colleen Hoover did. I didn’t know much about either of them, just that they were popular romance authors. For this reason, in my brain I lumped them together into the same category, which I now know was a mistake. 

Regardless, I bought a copy of “Beach Read,” one of Henry’s books, a few months back and just now got around to reading it over spring break. And like always, I see what people are saying — or were saying, since I’m so behind on the times. 

I thoroughly enjoyed “Beach Read.” I truly did. 

For those who haven’t read it, it’s a story about a romance author, January Andrews (recipient of the world’s quirkiest name), whose picturesque life comes crashing down when her father unexpectedly dies and it’s revealed he’s led a second life with another woman for years. 

On top of this, her beautiful, French, ER doctor boyfriend breaks up with her, all the while her publicist is banging down her door for the next happy-go-lucky romantic manuscript. 

But January — flat broke, with her heart broken and home life shattered — decides to move into her father’s secret house for some much-needed R&R — in this case, rum and rage.  

Upon moving in, she discovers her next-door neighbor is none other than her collegiate literary rival — the sarcastic, tortured soul and tragically handsome (aren’t they always?) Augustus Everett. 

With a penchant for killing off all his characters and ruminating on whether life really does have meaning, Augustus is the exact opposite of January — and better yet, they can’t stand each other. 

And the crowd goes wild. 

“Beach Read” follows the relationship between January and Gus as they reconnect all these years later and attempt to finish their latest writing projects, the only issue being, January can’t imagine another happy ending for the life of her. 

This is when the two come up with The Deal. They switch genres — January will have to write something brooding and serious, while Gus will take on a lovey-dovey, happy ending. Will they survive it? Read to find out. 

I gave this five-out-of-five stars, but you should know it’s not difficult to please me as a reader. Give me snappy banter, a little romance and some humor, and I’m sold. “Beach Read” had all of that and more, so if you’re anything like me, I highly recommend you pick it up next. 

Schutte can be reached at [email protected].