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 neighbouring 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.
Genre: Contemporary Romance; Adult Fiction; Humour
Page count: 361 (Paperback); 384 (Kindle Edition)
Year of publication: 2020
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5/5)
Hands down, this is the best rom-com-that-is-not-exactly-rom-com novel I’ve read (but anyway, I don’t really have experience with the genre).
But, I have to say this because it is true. This book slaps.
I’ve heard so many things about it, I’ve also read so many good reviews and then I just had to get it. And immediately after I got it I dug into it and it felt right.
Beach Read is not exactly the typical rom-com…and maybe it isn’t rom-com at all. It is contemporary romance, it is adult fiction and it is humorous, definitely. But it is more to it than just a good pun.
What I mean to say is that the banter between January and Gus, the two main characters, is genuine and natural. And definitely witty. This book was made with a touch of the art of smart-mouthed dialogue and I loved it.
Besides that, January is just a little bit of a clumsy girl and that definitely gives her the opportunity to star into little incidents that stimulate both laughter and the “Gee, she’s mood” kind of situations for us, the readers. You have no idea how many times I felt like locking myself in someone’s bathroom and drinking wine out of my purse until I am socially ready to mingle at a gathering.
There are issues going deeper the surface plot of the book which makes it a little bit more complex and adds a tad of real-life situation, something like a healthy dose of reality within a dream.
Both January and Gus are writers – completely opposites, I might add – but they somehow end up being neighbours and trying to challenge each other to step in each other’s shoes and write something completely different from what they normally do. And this is the perfect opportunity (or excuse) to fall in love, really.
They spend so much time in each other’s company that they realise how lonely they are, in fact. And how hurt. And so, each other’s proximity helps with their individual growth.
They both have some problems that darken their lives, trailing after them like needy shadows.
January used to romanticise everything around her, thinking that the world can be good, choosing to see the good and the happy and not the bad and the ugly. But finding out something not so pleasant about one of the most important people in her life shook her world. And she had to wake up from her pretty dream and see what’s in front of her – real life.
Gus is cynical by his nature. He’s been through too much shit to actually see the love and the good in the world. When the world is harsh with you and tries to push you in a corner to beat you up with every chance it gets, it is not really one of your priorities in life to fall in love with unicorns. That’s probably why every ending in Gus’s novels is kind of bitter.
Through their friendship, Gus and January learn to see the other halves of their glasses, the ones that they’ve been ignoring their entire lives – January learns that life is not always about happy-endings and Gus realises that there is love in the world even if it’s hidden away from sight.
This book actually made me tear up a bit, I am not going to lie, I had to fight my tears back even though the urge to get up and get a tissue killed me.
If I look at it better, I can say that this has been:
- Funny and somehow relatable;
- Sweet and tender;
- A good dose of not-everything-is-perfect-but-it-could-be-worse reality;
- Emotional and beautiful.
I definitely think this is one of my favourite contemporary romance books and I am super happy that I actually made myself pick it up. I mean, I wasn’t planning on reading it but after I said what the hell, I was kind of completely hooked.
IT’S SUPER TRUPER GOOD.