People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
Expected Release Date: May 11, 2021
For fans of Emily Henry, for a unique way of getting to know the characters, for a romance where the key conflict isn’t entirely due to the fact that they didn’t just TALK ABOUT THEIR ISSUE which is the worst trope ever, for a romance with some other actual FUN tropes
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?
The way of telling it by bouncing between past and present is interesting, and all the stories are enjoyable. You’re not stuck wishing it would just get back to the other time frame, because they’re ALL great.
The culminating issues are done really well because you get the conflict of the current-day story and the conflict of the 2-years-ago fiasco that caused the split. So as the story progresses, you get closer to TWO explosions of plot, which is delightful. They also wind so well together, as in the vacation stories you learn their history and little jokes and personal pains, which then come up again when you switch back to the current day story. I know some people struggle with reading multiple time frames switching back and forth, but I think it’s handled pretty well here.
The mystery! all throughout the book you’re like, WHAT HAPPENED? Why did they stop talking?! And I think the obvious guess is probably like a confession or something, considering the way Poppy thinks about Alex, but it takes so long before we get the actual confirmation! This is also a romance novel, so I think we all have an idea of where this might be heading. But the ending isn’t necessarily a neatly tied up “happily ever after” kind of thing, which I really love. In the reader’s guide questions at the end, one of them even addresses Poppy and Alex’s future, so it’s definitely open to interpretation.
And, alright, there was a bit of the story that fell into the pit where the issues could have been prevented if they had just talked openly about their feelings and events but noooooo can’t have that in a romance story. Still, the weren’t TOTAL idiots about it, so I can get by it.
(I got an accidental advanced copy from BOTM, so apparently this is coming out on May 11 if y’all are interested!)
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