Synopsis: January Andrews is stuck in a writing rut. After publishing five romance novels in five years and the breakdown of every happily-ever-after in her life, she’s struggling to find the hope and glimmer in the world. When her dead father leaves her his house on Lake Michigan she goes (because she’s broke, single, and can’t move in with her mother). Next door there is Augustus Everette, the man who used to belittle her writing in college, who is also having troubles with his next book. After a heated debate, they decide to take on each other’s genres. Augustus will have to write a romance and January a dark literary novel. They teach each other about their respective field, because nothing can go wrong with death cults and learning how to accept a HEA.
Beach Read: 5/5
Let me preface this whole review with one thing: this is not your stereotypical romance novel. It is heavier and more nuanced. Honestly, I would say you spend more “time” in the literary/general fiction world than you do romance.
Ok, now that’s covered, I want to say that I was in LOVE with this novel. It’s soooooooo freaking good. I really enjoy romance novels, but when they dig deeper into the characters and give them painful (yet reasonable) backstories. Ugh, that is my stuff right there! And when it makes sense to their personalities and their work and way of life. Hell yes. Beach Read was beautifully paced, the characters actions made sense, the plot was great with constant twists and addition of new information, and the writing was phenomenal. There aren’t enough words for me to properly explain why I loved this book. It has easily made its way on my favorites list. I also really enjoyed the fact that this was a singular point-of-view novel. It kept the suspense high and added to the charm of the rest of the characters.
- Plot & Pacing: I thought that I should put these two together because they’re so intertwined. To be honest, the beginning of the book was a little slow. It wasn’t until we met Augustus that it finally took off (lots of info, but KEEP READING it is so worth it to get through). Once it took off, it never stopped. The pacing was comfortable. Things never progressed faster than they should (something I’ve found too often in romance) and there is enough information withheld at all times to keep you going. Between Augustus, the death cult, and January’s father there is so much going on! Plus the novels that they were writing were interesting as well as the side plots. I was so invested in them.
- Augustus and January: Can I hug them? I love, love, loved the two main characters. First there’s January. She’s just lost her dad, her boyfriend, her home, and honestly in a sense her mother. I don’t like *quirky* characters, but she didn’t feel that way at all. I found her love of life and people enduring and her struggle of overcoming all of those things sincere. And Augustus–love him. I wish we could of heard more about his mother, but the rest of his life. I enjoyed watching him pull back various layers and becoming more open and willing to learn. His secrets and rationality for being the way he was was completely comprehensible.
- Romance & Dialogue: There are hints of romance throughout the novel, but where it really hits home is through the dialogue. Augustus and January’s banter was entertaining and kept the book light hearted. When they started to write notes to each other through the window, be still my heart. They had a shared history, but it felt like they were really meeting each other again and that they weren’t constantly bringing up the past. Their relationship was new. It wasn’t the steamiest of novels, but the romance was perfect. I felt like after the novel was over that they would still be together.
- Not A Beach Read: So this wasn’t really a dislike for me, rather it was a total win, but I felt like it needed to be out here. It’s not a light, fluffy, fanciful beach read. It is a romance novel that analyzes why people stay and suffer through horrible actions, why good people do terrible things, and how our mindset on life can shape our world and how easily it can change. There’s romance too! But it’s on equal standing to the analysis. I like to read through reviews when I’m looking for books and a lot of the lower ratings were those who thought that this would be a light read, so please heed this warning.
- Pete and Millie: I loved most all of the other characters, but I just couldn’t get a good grip on these two. I think it is because they were scatterbrained and all over the place. I couldn’t get a good grip on them and when they were in the story I would have to reread the section several times to understand what was going on. A lot of chaos.
Long Story Short
Would I recommend this to someone? Hell yes. I would recommend this book to people who don’t like romance novels too, which is something I don’t do because they give you the look of *judge*. This book has a bit of something for everyone in it. It is not perfect, but it’s good. The ending actually brings things together. Both of the main characters were thoroughly enjoyable and I liked learning about them. I found the side plots to be interesting as hell and I even wanted to read the books that Augustus and January were writing. All in all this was a phenomenal book and one that I know I’ll pick up again. I cannot wait to read Henry’s next novel in the summer!
I purchased my own copy from my local bookstore.
Here is the Amazon Link (I am NOT affiliated with Amazon)
How in love with Beach Read are you? I’m in absolute love! What were your favorite parts??
All opinions are of my own are not reflective of anyone else. I buy/loan all of the books I review unless specified and I only give my 100% true opinion on them.
If you liked this book, I would highly recommend The Roommate by Rosie Danan. Clara is an East Coast elite through and through, but when her childhood crush invites her to live in LA for a summer, rash decisions are made. When said crush ditches her, she ends up living with Josh, who’s job might be the biggest scandal her family’s ever dealt with. But who knows, maybe a couple of months together will be good for them? Read my review of it here!