Here’s the thing about writing Happily Ever Afters: it helps if you believe in them.
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.
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.
Beach Read, much like it’s name, is not at all what I anticipated it to be. Neither did I anticipate loving this book as hardly as I came too when I read the first couple of chapters. It crept up on me slowly as I became more entwined with January and Gus, much like they become entwined with one another and slowly, fall in love.
Upon beginning this book, I quickly understood why reviews of this recent release have been so staggeringly different. I don’t know about anyone else, but this book was pitched to me as an enemies to lovers romance. If you go into this book with those expectations you’re going to be sorely disappointed by it.
So yes, January and Gus were college rivals. Although if I had to attach a trope to their romance, it felt more like a friends to lovers romance. And a love story about two people who don’t quite remember what it is to love and be loved honestly and vulnerably. All of which made me feel incredibly emotional and were my favourite parts of this story. Maybe I just wished for a little more of that.
I always liked that thought, the way two people really did seem to grow into one. Or at least two overlapping parts, trees with tangled roots.
This book surprised me in ways more than its melancholic romance. When we meet January she’s miserable, broke, semi-homeless and very single. After finding out about her late Father’s infidelities, Romance and happily ever after advocate January feels as if her rose tinted glasses have been removed.
I loved how this felt like somewhat of a second coming of age for too and a lesson on grandly romanticizing life. January’s individual arc mostly takes precedence over the romance here, something that for once I didn’t mind because I enjoyed January’s perspective and enjoyed her learning to navigate an imperfect life with imperfect people.
On the other hand, Gus has always lived his life without looking through rose tinted glasses. Gus is very much my favourite type of love interest too – the grumpy handsome guy that contrasts so well the sunshine girl. I was very much in my element here with this story and I loved their romance. When both of them are suffering from chronic writers block they pose a bet to switch genres and write a best selling book. It means Adventures in Romance and Lit Fic field trips. If that doesn’t sell you on this book, I don’t know what will!
Beach Read was both sombre and sweet, and satiated everything I look for in a good romance book. I want to recommend this book to people who enjoyed The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. Beach Read isn’t as romance driven as that book is, but the character dynamics were similar and so was the writing style.
Okay friends, I need to hear from you if you’ve read this book so we can gush and discuss.