Published by Berkley Books on May 11, 2021
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Bantering Books Rating:
Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love.
Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.
Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.
Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.
Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?
From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read, a sparkling new novel that will leave you with the warm, hazy afterglow usually reserved for the best vacations.
Bantering Books Review
I wrote the last one mostly for me. This one’s for you.
– Emily Henry (Dedication Page)
She’s all in. Emily Henry, that is.
I wasn’t crazy about her hit novel, Beach Read. I liked it, somewhat, but my feelings toward it were relatively lukewarm and unenthusiastic. Mostly because Henry didn’t know what she wanted the novel to be. Or maybe she did, and the real problem was that the story had a mind of its own and got away from her. Either way, I sensed a war within her writing, a struggle within her story to NOT write a romance novel, and the end result of that battle was Beach Read’s awkward mix of romance, comedy, and writerly introspection.
It fell flat. Resoundingly.
But it appears Henry has since settled her war. Or at least, she’s picked her side of it. And to me, her dedication beneath the front cover of her follow-up novel, People We Meet on Vacation, means this –
Henry is no longer at odds with her talent. She is ready to write the stories she was born to write. The stories we want her to write.
And with People We Meet on Vacation, she does exactly this. It’s straight-up, pure romantic comedy, and it’s so good. Her heartfelt story of best friends turned maybe-lovers, Poppy and Alex, is warm, delightfully funny, steamy, and masterfully crafted. I loved nearly everything about it.
The romantic chemistry between the two friends is HOT. Palpable. Off the charts. Alex is one of the sexiest male leads I’ve ever encountered, and Poppy is clever, hysterically witty, adorable, and not totally unlike Queen Poppy from Trolls. (The personality resemblance is truly uncanny once you see it.)
Henry still has an exasperating tendency, though, to overly romanticize her male leads. She lays it on super thick. I mean, poor Alex, his mouth must hurt something awful. All it seems to do is twist and turn and curve into small sexy smiles and Sad Puppy Faces. His facial-contortion skills are really something to behold.
But this time around, her writing quirks are less irritating. Not as bothersome. Maybe even a little endearing.
Because Henry, she’s all in now. And I’m all in, too.