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Publisher's Summary

The Instant New York Times Best Seller from the Number One New York Times Best-Selling Author of People We Meet on Vacation

“Original, sparkling bright, and layered with feeling.” (Sally Thorne, author of The Hating Game)

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 best-selling 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.

©2020 Emily Henry (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

One of...

Oprah Magazine's most anticipated romance novels of 2020
Betches' 20 Books to read in 2020
Shereads' Most Anticipated Books of Summer 2020  

"[Narrator Julia] Whelan perfectly captures January's defensiveness, which soon gives way to laughter and yearning. She portrays Gus in a deep, gruff voice suited to his brooding personality. When the authors make a bet to write and sell a book in the other's genre, both break through writer's block and give in to an intense attraction that sparkles on audio." (AudioFile Magazine)

"Reader, I swooned! Beach Read is a breath of fresh air. My heart ached for January, and Gus is to die for - a steamy, smart and perceptive romance. I was engrossed!" (Josie Silver, number one New York Times best-selling author of One Day in December)

 "Once I started Beach Read I legit did not put it down." (Betches

Editor's Pick

Why yes I would like some beach time, thanks
I can’t tell you how fast I jumped on this listen when I saw that it was about two competing authors who fall in love, and that it was performed by can-do-no-wrong narrator Julia Whelan. This story is what the cover and title promises: a light, fun ''beach read'' that leaves you feeling warm and satisfied. But since this is also a story about writers writing books, it is also a meta adventure wherein we explore what makes characters (people) tick, and plot (life) fall into place. I was impressed with Emily Henry’s ability to put her finger on the small truths around what makes a great story, and why we love the stories that we do. Anyone who loves to play a little in the land of the meta, and/or would like to live a little in the beach read frame of mind right now, will find that this one hits the spot.

What listeners say about Beach Read

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    3,326
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    1,506
  • 3 Stars
    550
  • 2 Stars
    139
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Performance
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Story
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  • 3 Stars
    550
  • 2 Stars
    154
  • 1 Stars
    84

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Phenomenal Storytelling... with a caveat

The story was beautiful, heart wrenching, and fully identifiable. It was funny, sharp, and poignant. Narration, well done.

The only reason I gave the “overall” category 4 stars was due to the sex scenes I wish would have been fade-to-black/closed-door. I assumed the earlier “interruptions” to passionate moments meant the story WOULD fade out when sex was nigh, and when it didn’t—well... just not my thing.

That being said... the first sex scene—the only one I listened to entirely—while too graphic for my personal reading/listening preferences was... (relatively) tasteful-ish. *cringe*

In my opinion, the on-scene sex scenes were... unnecessary—at least in the breadth and scope in which they were written. This author is amazing, and I have no doubt she could have portrayed the same tender passion without that vivid content. In my opinion (take it or leave it, because everyone has their own threshold) the admittedly excellent story would have been, if not STRONGER, of equal strength and beauty without that level of descriptive physical intimacy on the page. I was grateful for the 30 second jump-ahead feature when the subsequent rounds began, and used it. But dang... I had to push that button a lot to get to the other side!

Please note: This is a phenomenally well-told story, with fully realized characters that made me laugh and made me ache. I *will* likely read or listen to it again, skimming over or skipping through the things I do not wish to read/hear... now that I know where they are.

I hate having to selectively withhold my recommendation of such an otherwise brilliant book like this, or having to mention a content warning to certain people/audiences who would otherwise love the story but for the scope of the portrayal of physical intimacy. But... I will. Reading preferences are subjective, and some content can shock those not ready for it.

89 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Formulaic

If you like books with obvious, self-centered first-person narrator's, this one is for you.

If you want a lesson on how NOT to follow the "Save the Cat" storytelling formula, this one is for you.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Love the narrator...not the story

The reader does an excellent job! The storyline is good. The actual story is annoying. If this book were a drinking game, everyone would be dead after reading/listening to it. Take a drink every time the main character cries. Then, take a drink every time the character's name, January, is used in the story. Those two repetitive things took away from the story for me. January (oops, take a drink) is a grown woman who can't stop crying. There, you read the book.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

LOVE this book, and my favorite narrator!!

Julia Whelan is my favorite audiobook narrator, and I have been anticipating this book eagerly, so I was thrilled to see that she was cast as narrator! Flawless as usual. As for the story and prose, I LOVED it all. I am admittedly a sucker for a love story, but the rawness and sly complexity in this one truly took it to another level for me. And all of the clever, witty banter a girl could hope for. I will absolutely read and listen to this book again and again over the course of my life, and I rarely say that about a book. Only a few select stories and series hold that kind of place in my heart. It feels like a cup of really great hot cocoa in a house by a lake on a rainy day; the rom com you watch over and over and over. Highly recommend.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

amazing

I laughed, I cried, I was excited, I got nervous, I got angry and also protective. Great book, you won't regret reading this one.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

4 Stars

Beach Read fit nicely within my favorite reading genre - women's fic with romance, drama, wit, and swoon. Was it perfect? No. Was it perfect for me? For the most part.

Gus was my favorite type of hero and he was deliciously battered and jaded. I struggled a little more with January and I honestly couldn’t tell if it was the audio narrator’s interpretation or my own pickiness. She did seem to improve after I quit the audio, but that could be coincidental to where I was in the character’s story arc. There were some predictable elements to the romance, but it didn't negate the swoon factor that built to a crescendo in the middle of the second half. Major swoon. The author nailed the tender and sweet dialogue, descriptions, and sensuality between the two as they ventured from friends to more. The overall story weaved in and out of light and melodramatic, but with nicely written transitions that created a believable second chance romance.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Worth your time

I didn’t read the reviews (as I usually do) before selecting this book. And I’m glad I didn’t. The 3 stars and below reviews are usually what I skim through. Well I have to totally disagree with any negative points of view regarding this story or the narrator. This audiobook made me laugh & cry - at one point I even had to pause the story so I wouldn’t cry in front of my husband who was sitting beside me watching the 6 o’clock news. I was totally caught up in the characters and story and my heart was breaking for January. I really enjoyed this book and you probably will too.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Neighbors?

This is a fun read about possibilities. Who knows what can happen at the beach? Great story and characters.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Getaway

enjoyable listen, not too light, characters developed enough to get to know them. I'd like Emily Henry to write more books for adults.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Love the book

I devoured this book. I think the character growth, romance, and backstory really made the book come to life. This is my first time with one of Allie Henry’s books but it will not be my last.

4 people found this helpful