Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!
Last year, I read Emily Henry’s 2020 release titled, BEACH READ, and I absolutely fell in love with it. It was my second-favourite book of 2020, and is one of my favourite books of all time. The review I wrote and published on my blog for the book was my favourite review I wrote last year, and still manages to get quite a few reads to this day! Needless to say, Henry’s 2021 publication, PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION, was my most anticipated book of this year. Over the past few weeks I have been in quite the reading slump, but this book managed to get me out of it, as I read the entirety in under 24 hours!
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? (Synopsis from Goodreads.com)
Emily Henry has done it again! A fantastic book, with incredibly kind and relatable characters and a really great plot line. While I still like BEACH READ better, I actually prefer the characters in this book. Poppy and Alex were two characters that I could see being real-life friends with. They were written very successfully, as I could clearly picture them in my mind and place them in different groups of people that I have in my life. Poppy’s personality is very similar to mine, as she had a great sense of humour and always remembered every tiny detail of each trip she took with Alex. Alex is someone that I could definitely see being friends with. He had a very serious personality, but Poppy managed to bring out the best in him whenever they were together. By the end of the novel, I loved reading about his more soft and emotional side, as he went through a lot of character development over the 12-years that this story covers.
The entirety of this book centres around my absolute favourite romance trope, friends-to-lovers! Both Poppy and Alex were friends before romance sparks began, and like all friends-to-lovers romances, the angst and questioning was so delicious!
At the beginning of the story, I was actually quite unsure if this specific novel was appropriate to read during these times. One thing (among others) that the pandemic has taken from us is the ability to travel. Since this book essentially revolves around several different trips Alex and Poppy go on, I was really worried that this entire book was going to depress me, as it the travel aspect would overshadow the romance and make me feel sad. However, that was not the case! I really enjoyed the snippets of each trip the reader was exposed to throughout the story, and none of the trips made me feel lonely or miserable. Henry only focuses on one or two events per trip, so there is not an influx of unnecessary detail given to the reader. If anything, this book made me excited to go on vacations once we are safely able to do so!
The writing style and pacing of this novel was perfection. Emily Henry has fantastic writing abilities that seem to make all of the aspects of both her previous novel and this novel seem real. This book is written in first-person perspective in the voice of Poppy, which I always enjoyed reading from. I loved being able to go inside Poppy’s head throughout this story, which is why I always prefer first-person perspective in all of my romance reads!
All of that being said, the one element of the story that took down my rating was the ending. I found the ending to be quite rushed and anti-climactic. While all romance novels typically have the same ending, I knew what to expect from the ending. That being said, there are a few events that lead up to the conclusion that I felt were rushed and not as dramatic as they were leading up to be. I would have liked a bit more “shock value”, even the conclusion of the story was still satisfying overall.
Emily Henry introduces readers to two loveable characters that share a lifetime of memories that readers will not soon forget! I gave this book a 4.25/5 stars, and would recommend it to all travel lovers who need a dose of romance and travel in their reading life!
Good Night Book Owls!