Biblioshelf Musings – You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry

Hello Bibliofriends!

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)
Rating: 📚📚📚📚📚

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?

My Musings

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! 😸

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Waterstones | Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Author’s Website |

Connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf | Email: thebiblioshelf@gmail.com

#Friday56 – Beach Read

Happy FriYAY Bibliofriends!

This week’s Friday 56 comes from Beach Read by Emily Henry – It was the most perfect bookish hangover cure to drag me out of my reading slump.

Hosted by Freda’s Voice, the Friday 56 is a weekly bookish prompt. It’s quite easy to do and could cover no end of different books and genres so seems great if you’re looking for a quick snippet to discover something new!

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.


Red, White Russians, and Blue Book Club.
I, January Andrews, romance writer, and literary wunderkind Augustus Everett had stumbled into a book club trafficking primarily in spy novels. It took some effort to stifle my laughter, and even then I didn’t do an amazing job.

This book. I loved so many things about it: the homage to writers suffering from writers’ block, the witty banter and rivalry between Gus and January, the heartbreaking way the characters journey through their inner demons, many, many things. You really should read it! You can check out my full, spoiler-free review here.


Drop me a comment below or connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf |Email: thebiblioshelf@gmail.com

Biblioshelf Musings – Beach Read by Emily Henry

Good morning Bibliofriends,

Beach Read was exactly the type of hangover cure I needed to get me out of my 2-week reading slump. It almost comes across as two sides of a coin – funny, yet deep; romantic, yet heartbreaking – one moment you’re wanting to put yourself in January’s shoes, the next you’re glad you don’t have to live through the bereavement she’s had to face. Then on top of all that – there’s the homage to books, writing and the added bonus of practically reading books within a book. It was an utter delight from start to finish.


Book: Beach Read by Emily Henry
Genre: Romance
Publication Date: May 18th 2020
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 361
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

He doesn’t believe in happy endings.
She’s lost her faith that they exist.
But could they find one together?


January is a hopeless romantic who likes narrating her life as if she’s the heroine in a blockbuster movie.
Augustus is a serious literary type who thinks true love is a fairy-tale.
January and Augustus are not going to get on.

But they actually have more in common than you’d think:

They’re both broke.
They’ve got crippling writer’s block.
They need to write bestsellers before the end of the summer.

The result? A bet to see who can get their book published first.
The catch? They have to swap genres.
The risk? In telling each other’s stories, their worlds might be changed entirely… 

My Musings

What made me read Beach Read? I needed a break from all of the witchy, spooky fiction and folklore I had consumed myself with over the past month. That, coupled with the fact that I wanted to cling on to those last glorious rays of summer – Beach Read seemed to offer me exactly that.

This may sound odd (complete book rambling – apologies), but the first thing I had to contend with when starting ‘Beach Read’ was that I had shamefully I knowanticipated a chick-litty rom-com taking place on a far-off tropical paradise of a popular holiday destination, when actually the novel takes place around a quaint town on the shores of Lake Michigan. Having not visited anywhere outside of Disneyworld and living in a leafy, hilly area of the UK, nearby lakes and bodies of water are nowhere near the size comparison of the type of Great Lakes in the US and Canada so I had to adjust my perception of the type of beach read I’d be reading. Chick-litty, it was not… Holiday destination, it also was not… 

January starts off by not wanting to even be at the beach house but with the introduction of next-door-neighbour-also-author Gus, Pete and Maggie (Sapphic couple), owners of a café/bookshop, we gradually get let in to the life of North Bear Shores and all of the adventures that await our protagonist. I grew to love this bunch of characters; the way they look out for each other, the stories that give us deeper insight into their histories – it was almost Goldilocks style ‘just-right’ perfection. 

The plot centres, quite brilliantly, around two authors suffering from writers’ block and the bet they enter into to embark on research trips benefitting the other’s genre and writing style. This leads to some of the most memorable, funny and moving parts of the novel. The balance between what constitutes literary fiction and what makes up the romance genre gradually get explored; the lines between them becoming blurred as two authors find their inspiration from each other and learn to face their own personal demons at the same time. A book about writers writing their novels – what more could a book-loving, aspiring author want to read?!

And then there’s the romance – my heart and stomach was swooping and diving the whole way through (and it isn’t often that books like this will do that to me). I was absolutely rooting for Gus and January – every obstacle that got in the way had me screaming at them with my silent reading megaphone in my head – two battered souls helping each other heal… It was steamy, it was heartbreaking, it was tender; but what’s more, it was real, believable and so entirely relatable which is probably why my bookish soul became so entangled with it.

I wanted to live through January and put myself in her shoes – until Emily Henry skilfully brings you back to earth and plays the dysfunctional family card. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that there is no such thing as an entirely happy family. Each one has their own vices, demons and secrets which are lived through behind closed doors. January Andrews is no different and learning the truth of her father’s actions and motivations, why things were the way they were was the big mountain she was trying to face. The tentative, nostalgic way she finally confronts this towards the end of the novel, is the part which gave me tiny tears rolling down my face whilst trying to read. It’s a stark reminder that the flip-side of love is sometimes loss and on a really personal level it harkened to my greatest fear of losing the people I love the most. That balance between joyfully finding love whilst going through the devastation of bereavement was so beautifully handled, written and dealt with. I think that’s why I was so thoroughly surprised by how much I enjoyed and cherished this book.

Favourite Quotes:

Happy endings don’t matter if the getting there sucks.

It didn’t take inspiration to dredge up a list of plot points, but to find that moment – the perfect moment that defined a book, that made it come alive as something greater than the sum of its words – that required an alchemy you couldn’t fake.

No matter how much shit, there will always be wildflowers.

We can never fully know the people we love. When we lose them, there will always be more we could have seen.

The only promise you ever had in life was the one moment you were living.

Why Should I Read This?

For a swoon worthy, heart-fluttering romance.
For the tender balance between love, loss and facing our inner demons.
For the homage to writers and books which bounces off the pages.

This is a bookishly great romance novel which goes deeper than your average ‘chick-lit’ style aspects of the genre. It’s an incredibly moving story with two highly relatable characters on their quest to get their mojo back. I loved it!

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Penguin| Author’s Instagram | Waterstones

Connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf |Email: thebiblioshelf@gmail.com