This week’s Biblioshelf Musings is You and Me on Vacation (People We Meet On Vacation) by Emily Henry.
I remember falling head over heels with Beach Read when it first came out. Emily’s writing style and main characters had me swept so far away on that Lake Michigan beach, that when the audiobook for You and Me on Vacation was on iBooks for £4.99 I just had to hit that download button!
Book: You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry (Audiobook narrated by: Julia Whelan)
Genre: Fiction (Contemporary / Romance)
Publication Date: May 2021
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Pages: 368 (Audiobook: 10hr 45min)
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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?
Sometimes we all need a little respite in the form of some contemporary romance and You And Me On Vacation brought me that respite in buckets. Reader, this book ‘speaks to me’ 😉 – on so many levels!
As a girl who reads predominantly SFF, I don’t know what kind of bookish chemical equations Emily Henry conjures up but she’s fast becoming a part of the romance genre that I actually like. From the realistic characters and the wish-you-were-here locations, to the plot lines that just keep me begging for more – I ate up every single word that Alex and Poppy gave me in this audiobook.
As far as two main characters go, Poppy and Alex’s friendship was so believable. They’re the BFFs that often get mistaken for a real-life couple and that throws the usual obstacles in their way with families and prospective partners. They are so genuine together and I found both characters extremely likeable. I enjoyed the way we found out about each friend’s history from the other friend’s perspective. It really allows you to see them through each other’s eyes. They just get each other! Their nuances, quirks, likes, pet hates… they are so completely in-sync with each other’s existence whilst at the same time both appearing to be completely blind to what is right in front of them. I must admit, I did find myself wondering whether I skipped the bit of the audiobook where they initially friend-zoned each other but ultimately this didn’t really matter as the novel went on. As an English Teacher and aspiring writer, Alex reminded me slightly of Gus from Beach Read so I liked the continuity of literary-loving characters throughout Henry’s books.
The structuring of the story was quite well done. With constant flashbacks to previous summers and the trips Poppy and Alex had taken, interspersed with the up-to-date ‘this summer’ happenings – we get a breadcrumb trail of clues to try and work out what the catastrophic event that caused these two steadfast friends to go their separate ways. All the time this happened, I kept internally screaming to myself, “what the hell happened in Croatia?!” I enjoyed trying to piece together the story in my head and whilst some things were entirely predictable, the anecdotes from each summer trip were filled with little twists and comedy moments.
As a travel enthusiast whose trip to Peru was kiboshed by the pandemic, Poppy and Alex’s trips to different destinations across the world helped me to fill up that little travel void ever so slightly. This shift in setting destination was definitely an element of the story which I thoroughly enjoyed.
All in all, You and Me on Vacation gave me everything I was looking for, hence the 5* rating – for me, it’s faultless. On some small level, Poppy and Alex’s story is a little relatable to my life – their predicaments were ones I could relate to and find solace in, which is probably why it resonated with me so much. Yes, some parts of the story are predictable and at times inevitable, but the journey to the ending wasn’t a straightforward path. The resolution was uplifting and satisfying whilst remaining both practical yet realistic (compared to the usual happily ever afters you sometimes get).
If you loved Beach Read, enjoy travelling the world through literary characters, or you’re just looking for a soul-clenching, heartwarming story of true love and devotion then give You and Me on Vacation a go – it just might ‘speak to you’ too.
Why Should I Read This?
For the breadcrumb plot line of summer flashbacks.
For the chemistry and charisma between two loveable main characters.
For the Flannery O’Conner side stories! 😸