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Beach Read
Cover of Beach Read
Beach Read
FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION AND BOOK LOVERS!
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.
FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION AND BOOK LOVERS!
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.
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  • From the book 9781984806734|excerpt

    Henry / BEACH READ

    1

    The House

    I have a fatal flaw.

    I like to think we all do. Or at least that makes it easier for me when I’m writing—­building my heroines and heroes up around this one self-­sabotaging trait, hinging everything that happens to them on a specific characteristic: the thing they learned to do to protect themselves and can’t let go of, even when it stops serving them.

    Maybe, for example, you didn’t have much control over your life as a kid. So, to avoid disappointment, you learned never to ask yourself what you truly wanted. And it worked for a long time. Only now, upon realizing you didn’t get what you didn’t know you wanted, you’re barreling down the highway in a midlife-­crisis-­mobile with a suitcase full of cash and a man named Stan in your trunk.

    Maybe your fatal flaw is that you don’t use turn signals.

    Or maybe, like me, you’re a hopeless romantic. You just can’t stop telling yourself the story. The one about your own life, complete with melodramatic soundtrack and golden light lancing through car windows.

    It started when I was twelve. My parents sat me down to tell me the news. Mom had gotten her first diagnosis—­suspicious cells in her left breast—­and she told me not to worry so many times I suspected I’d be grounded if she caught me at it. My mom was a do-­er, a laugher, an optimist, not a worrier, but I could tell she was terrified, and so I was too, frozen on the couch, unsure how to say anything without making things worse.

    But then my bookish homebody of a father did something unexpected. He stood and grabbed our hands—­one of Mom’s, one of mine—­and said, You know what we need to get these bad feelings out? We need to dance!

    Our suburb had no clubs, just a mediocre steak house with a Friday night cover band, but Mom lit up like he’d just suggested taking a private jet to the Copacabana.

    She wore her buttery yellow dress and some hammered metal earrings that twinkled when she moved. Dad ordered twenty-­year-­old Scotch for them and a Shirley Temple for me, and the three of us twirled and bobbed until we were dizzy, laughing, tripping all over. We laughed until we could barely stand, and my famously reserved father sang along to “Brown Eyed Girl” like the whole room wasn’t watching us.

    And then, exhausted, we piled into the car and drove home through the quiet, Mom and Dad holding tight to each other’s hands between the seats, and I tipped my head against the car window and, watching the streetlights flicker across the glass, thought, It’s going to be okay. We will always be okay.

    And that was the moment I realized: when the world felt dark and scary, love could whisk you off to go dancing; laughter could take some of the pain away; beauty could punch holes in your fear. I decided then that my life would be full of all three. Not just for my own benefit, but for Mom’s, and for everyone else around me.

    There would be purpose. There would be beauty. There would be candlelight and Fleetwood Mac playing softly in the background.

    The point is, I started telling myself a beautiful story about my life, about fate and the way things work out, and by twenty-­eight years old, my story was perfect.

    Perfect (cancer-­free) parents who called several times a week, tipsy on wine or each other’s company. Perfect (spontaneous, multi­lingual, six foot three) boyfriend who worked in the ER and knew how to make coq au vin. Perfect...
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    March 15, 2020
    Two struggling authors spend the summer writing and falling in love in a quaint beach town. January Andrews has just arrived in the small town of North Bear Shores with some serious baggage. Her father has been dead for a year, but she still hasn't come to terms with what she found out at his funeral--he had been cheating on her mother for years. January plans to spend the summer cleaning out and selling the house her father and "That Woman" lived in together. But she's also a down-on-her-luck author facing writer's block, and she no longer believes in the happily-ever-after she's made the benchmark of her work. Her steadily dwindling bank account, though, is a daily reminder that she must sell her next book, and fast. Serendipitously, she discovers that her new next-door neighbor is Augustus Everett, the darling of the literary fiction set and her former college rival/crush. Gus also happens to be struggling with his next book (and some serious trauma that unfolds throughout the novel). Though the two get off to a rocky start, they soon make a bet: Gus will try to write a romance novel, and January will attempt "bleak literary fiction." They spend the summer teaching each other the art of their own genres--January takes Gus on a romantic outing to the local carnival; Gus takes January to the burned-down remains of a former cult--and they both process their own grief, loss, and trauma through this experiment. There are more than enough steamy scenes to sustain the slow-burn romance, and smart commentary on the placement and purpose of "women's fiction" joins with crucial conversations about mental health to add multiple intriguing layers to the plot. A heartfelt look at taking second chances, in life and in love.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 23, 2020
    Henry (Hello Girls) hits all the right notes with this clever, compassionate contemporary romance. January Andrews, a 29-year-old romance author, has always believed in happily-ever-after. Then her father dies and she inherits his secret lake house in North Bear Shores, Mich., and discovers his long-standing extramarital affair. Broke and suffering from writer’s block, January’s moves into the “lakeside cottage brimming with charm and proof your father was an asshole and your life has been a lie.” Her new next-door neighbor is Augustus Everett, the tortured darling of the literary fiction world. Their contentious front-porch chats lead them to construct a challenge: they’ll each spend the summer writing a novel in the other’s genre, giving one another tutorials in their respective approaches and going on research trips together. Whoever finishes and sells their book first, wins. January’s struggle to reconcile her inherent optimism with the recent upheaval in her life is thoroughly convincing and handled with empathy. Her and Augustus’s path from writing partners to friends to lovers is a constant delight and the inevitable third act communication issues are deeply rooted in the characters’ psychology, making them believable and fresh. Readers are sure to fall hard for this meta, heartfelt take on the romance genre. Agent: Taylor Haggerty, Root Literary.

  • Booklist

    April 1, 2020
    While romance author January Andrews is staying, temporarily, at her recently deceased father's secret beach house, she's stunned to realize that her neighbor is Augustus Everett, her graduate school nemesis turned hotshot author of bleak literary fiction. Although she has a fast-approaching deadline, January is struggling to write a new "happily ever after" story when her own heart is broken. Augustus is in research mode for his next book, interviewing people about a suicide cult. One night, the two make a deal to each write the next book in the other's genre. To prepare, Augustus will bring January along for his research, and she'll take him on outings that inspire romance. They find pleasure in this work and even more in each other. But when their books are finished, and summer is over, will their story end, too, or is this only the beginning? Though a bit uneven, this will still sweep readers off their feet. January's first-person narration is suitably poetic and effervescent, the small-town beach setting is charming, and the romance is achingly swoony.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

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Emily Henry
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