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.
Publication Date: May 19th 2020
Knowing that I’m a fan of Henry’s books, it’s no secret that I was excited for this release. And with the romance kick I was on at the time, I was one hundred percent into this premise: it gave me very tropey love story, opposites attract, rivals-to-lovers with a history set in a small town…
This was one of those books where I started reading a few words with no intentions of reading and two hours later finding myself halfway through. Books like that are magical. Every time I put the book down, I had the urge to pick it back up again and finish.
And I was overall here for this entire book. Now, despite the adorable-ness of the cover, this isn’t as light as it seems. January is dealing with grief and betrayal which in turn is affecting her writing and it felt well handled. This getaway isn’t all fun and games– she’s trying to figure some things out.
Also, it’s wild how the asshole characters are still likable? Or at least not despicable? Because honestly, the love interest grated on my nerves with his hot-and-cold thing he had going on. Yet, not only was he not completely an asshole (shocking, I know): I got it (after some explanations of course). Dude is going through some things as well, some self loathing and a pinch of an apathetic outlook on life.
However, I will say that back and forth, that non transparency going on between them for a big chunk of the book did grate on me. You’re both adults, I know you’re both going through some things, but I was getting bothered I won’t lie.
Pacing was a bit win or lose for me. I won’t say it felt too long, but I was definitely finding myself struggling through a few patches of the story.
Now, if quirky characters aren’t your thing, you may want to skip this– Henry’s books are overall quirky and that’s my thing? But! The quirkiness didn’t feel like it was trying too hard: I felt like if I saw both January and Gus in real life, they’d feel real, not disingenuous.
I should preface, my three star rating is in no way indicative to how I’m feeling? Yes, this book is a bit different to what I know the author for, but it still feels like her. I enjoyed the simplicity, the quirkiness, the complexity of the main guy and the heroine, the small town and the overall message of happy-for-nows’ and stealing small happy moments and finding someone/something to hold on to when you’re being flung into the darkness. And the irony of a romance author learning happily ever afters? More like small pockets that string up together.
Long story short, because this review is a mess: I could see myself coming back to this one. It gave me my fix and I’m also completely biased when it comes to Emily Henry’s books, so there’s that.