Beach Read (2020)

Published on 20 September 2023 at 20:21

I love a good rom com. Sometimes before bed, I just need to unwind with a juvenile, watered down story between two superficial characters, which is never predictable or unrealistic. And yes, I know I sound like such a cynic, because in some parts I am. Out of any genre, I find I'm the pickiest with anything that has romance as a central point. Personally, I find it very hard to execute a romantic story that is palpable to readers or watchers. I want the characters to end up together because I know they need to be together; not because the story's sense of direction has influenced me into believing it's the only way things make sense. There are few books specifically that I find an exception to this rule, with couples that I fall in love with as an entity, while they fall in love with each other: and Beach Read  is one of those exceptions. 

I feel like the reason this book was different for me was because while it was obviously a love story, the focus didn't necessarily feel like it was on their relationship, but rather their growth and gradual draw towards each other as they went on intersecting healing journeys. January and Gus were both nuanced, well-conceptualized characters, which both had their flaws that managed not to takeaway readability. Gus had the broody and somewhat arrogant appeal that many authors cheapen with poorly written banter and shallow growth. Likewise, January was bright and optimistic, while not being cheapened with a ditzy, unrealistic demeanor, as the story unfolds with brief glimpses in the past from her perspective that illuminate her psyche and way of living. 

I find that the dialogue might be one of my favorite aspects of the story, but that's no surprise. Emily Henry has proven herself a beautiful writer, as her personality shone through enduringly, but in likeness to the lighthearted nature of our main character living in an idyllic world amidst her troubles. And yes, while the concept itself seems Wattpad-y in nature (two writers with writer's block in an enemies-to-lovers dynamic attempt to write in each other's conflicting genres to open their perspectives), I feel much of the charm lies in the quirky trope written beyond a topical YA 40,000 fanfiction. 

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