This is an incredible read. Honestly, while it's a cute title, I think the title of "Beach Read" does this novel an injustice. "Beach Read" sounds like it's just some cute, lighthearted romance that you'll read and enjoy, but won't necessarily stick with you once it's over. While this novel does have a cute romance, it's certainly not one that you'll be forgetting about anytime soon. Beach Read delves so much deeper than your typical beach read (confusing sentence, I know). It's not just a romance. While romance is an aspect of the book, it certainly isn't all of it.
I dove into this book fully expecting what the title said I'd get-- a simple beach read. I was pleasantly surprised the deeper I delved into the pages to discover that it's so much more than that. This book is love. It's loss. It's discovery, and realizing that people aren't perfect, and that's okay. Don't let this turn you off if you're not looking for a particularly deep, dense and heavy novel. The deep, emotional side of this novel is somehow masked with the light, sunny tone of the story. So yes, it's deep. It's emotional, you can really feel and emphasize with the characters. But it reads like a light and warm contemporary novel. While there are deeper and more emotional ideas and scenes in this, don't worry. There's still plenty of sassy, laugh out loud or giggle moments. The romance is amazing-- it's built up at just the right pace and the two leads have magnetic chemistry. The added depth just makes the book all the more better because it makes the characters feel so much more real and relatable. They're imperfect, they have issues-- just like the rest of us. Honestly, I was disappointed when I finished, and then I just turned the book over and started again. That's how much I loved reading this.
The book follows January Andrews, a romance writer who has recently been disillusioned with life. The death of her father, and the realization that he wasn't the man she'd thought he was knocks the rose-colored glasses off her face, making her realize that the world isn't nearly as perfect and beautiful as she'd thought.
Throw in Augustus Everett, January's ultimate rival since college and polar opposite. He's dark and a bit brooding. Someone mentioned this in another review that I read and I thought it was worth mentioning: while he's a dark and a little bit mysterious, he manages not to be a total asshole as the typical dark male lead usually is. He's actually a big sweetheart and I adore him with all my heart and soul.
The two make a bet-- try to write in the other's genre. January will write more 'literary' novels, and Gus will write romance. Every week they take each other on "field trips" to help the other get in the mindset of their writing. And let's be real here, these are basically dates but am I so down for them? YES I AM. Like I mentioned earlier, the pacing of this romance is perfect. From the beginning there's chemistry between the two main characters. Their teasing and banter is enough to put a goofy grin on anyone's face.
I'd give this book 9/10 stars, the writing is beautiful, the relationships are amazing, the plot is perfect and the characters are imperfect in ways that make them even more perfect. It was a stellar read and I honestly just want to sit down and read it again, again and again. If you're looking for a book that will melt your heart and hit you right in the feels while simultaneously making you giggle and grin? This is the book for you.
Here's the actual synopsis: (Again, like the title, I don't think the synopsis does this book justice-- it just makes the story sound like a rom-com, when it's SO much more than that, but, you know, the romance element is quite nice too...)
A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.
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.