2020 releases · romance

More Than Meets the Eye: Beach Read by Emily Henry

“Happy. Not giddy or overjoyed, but that low, steady level of happiness that, in the best periods of life, rides underneath everything else, a buffer between you and the world you are walking over.”

Beach Read: Henry, Emily: 9781984806734: Amazon.com: BooksBeach Read was one of the most popular releases of this year, everyone was talking about it, and it naturally caught my attention. I am always down for a good romance and this one sounded so fun and playful in its marketing and its vibrant cover that I was so excited to jump in. I have to report that this book does so much more than its lighthearted synopsis suggests and I really loved it. 

The story follows January who after her father dies feels stuck, so she moves into his beach house and hopes to finally finish her novel. January is a romance writer but she’s been struggling with writing, until she has a run in with her neighbor, who happens to be Augustus, her college rival and an acclaimed literary fiction writer. They make a bet –Augustus will write something happy, and January will write a dreary literary fiction novel. There’s romance, but also grief, learning to move on, acceptance and forgiveness.


This book completely took me by surprise. The synopsis is quite upbeat and playful, so I fully expected a nice, easy romance from this novel, but I ended up getting so much more! This book is definitely focused on the developing relationship between January and Augusts (and it has a happy end, no worries!), but it just as much explores the topic of family and grief, acceptance and learning to live with the fact that your parents are also human, and make mistakes and are not perfect.

I really enjoyed both January and Augustus as protagonists. I found them to be really realistic and flawed characters, which is always my favorite. I especially enjoyed January’s arc and I loved how much she grew throughout this and that she was able to overcome the stuff life had thrown at her.

The relationship also felt real and nuanced and all the issues the two of them faced were really realistic and never felt contrived. The book brought a lot of emotional depth to the table and ended up really surprising me. This was also witty and self-aware, which is always a big plus in my book.

The one thing that did not really work for me is the pacing. I found this to be slow at times and like it unnecessarily dragged out some stuff, but it was a minor thing that did not ruin the overall reading experience for me.


I would highly recommend this one! It was really wonderful on all fronts, and brought such a human, heartwarming story to the table. Be sure to check it out once it’s out next Tuesday!



I would love to hear from you! Have you read this one, or planning to pick it up soon? Let me know!

In the meantime, happy reading




*I received an eARC of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss. All opinions are my own. 


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6 thoughts on “More Than Meets the Eye: Beach Read by Emily Henry

  1. Ooh, great review! I just finished this one also and liked it! The heavy emotional work the characters go through really appealed to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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