With Beach Read, Emily Henry (Hello Girls) offers readers a fun, clever romance novel that tackles stereotypes and misconceptions about the genre head-on. When "women's fiction" author January Andrews's father dies suddenly, she discovers that he left her the keys to a beach house she didn't know he'd owned--that he'd shared with a mistress she hadn't known about either. Newly single, broke and no longer able to believe in the romance that grounds the stories she's always written, she moves into the house, only to discover that her next-door neighbor, Augustus Everett, is a condescending author of serious literary fiction. Despite their different styles, the pair have two things in common: crippling writer's block and a belief that the other looks down on their style of writing. So, they strike a deal: January will write a serious novel without a happy ending, while Gus will draft a romance.
Beach Read is itself a romance, so it will come as no surprise that these adversaries do ultimately become lovers. Gus eventually tells January that her writing "makes the world seem brighter, and the people in it a little braver." The same could be said of Henry's writing: though the characters in Beach Read face common challenges (heartbreak, career disappointments, realizing one's parents are flawed), the ways Henry explores vulnerability and emotions through their experiences shed light on the very real processes of grief, healing and finding love. This is not a romance seen through rose-colored glasses, guaranteeing neither its characters nor its readers a neat, pat happily-ever-after; it is a story that reveals the work it takes to find peace in moments of "happy for now." --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm