Emily Henry has done it again–created another contemporary romance that you’ll want to read in one sitting and them ruminate in for a few hours over a glass of wine, in the good way. I LOVED Beach Read–freaking devoured it in one night–and I ended up picking up my ARC of People We Meet on Vacation when I decided my super-literary 18th century novel for a book club just wasn’t what I was in the mood for. Ultimately, I thought People We Meet on Vacation was a great 5 star read–it brought up some friendship TRAumA for me, but it was good.
Two unlikely friends–Poppy and Alex–an annual summer vacation, and a story that takes you back in forth through time as you recount the previous twleve years of vacations as Poppy attempts to make this one–their first in two years since their trip to Croatia went wrong. As Henry toggles back and forth betwee Poppy’s attempt to make their too-hot vacay in Palm Springs special with all the trips they took before, you get to watch these friends develop, fall in love in the subtle ways, deal with outside relationships butting in, but you keep asking “WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED IN CROATIA.” It’s a rom-com full of friends to lovers with a travel bug (a bit odd during a pandemic to read, right?). It’s got “only one bed” and AirBnB drama and gushy love confessions and awkward encounters and I really enjoyed it, even if it reminded me a little bit TOOO much of a situation I escaped from last year.
I thought the dynamic between Poppy and Alex felt realistic–friends that find themselves drawn to how different they are, and do fight sometimes, and don’t assume from the get-go they end up together, and say stupid stuff sometimes, and have REAL jobs (my fave part of rom coms, haha). I was a bit underwhelmed by “what happened in Croatia” but it also felt sadly a bit realistically underwhelming–sometimes it’s not the BIG things that break you, you know.
I did like the internal debate over Poppy’s feelings towards her hometown in Ohio–how she loved her family, wasn’t ashamed of them, but wanted out when she could get out, and how the idea of returning felt like a joke.I feeeeeeelt that.
This book will definitely be well received by the contemporary romance lovers of the world–for good reasons. It’s the right mix of friends-to-lovers with “omg, travel?” pandemic fatigue, so expect to see it on every list every where.
People We Meet On Vacation is on sale everywhere May 11, 2021.