August Everett is a literary author who takes ‘kill your darlings’ to heart in his works. January Andrews writes novels where love conquers all, just like the life she thought her parents had. That is until her father’s affair partner shows up at his funeral. Now January has three months to clean out and sell her father’s second home while finishing her latest novel.
Should be easy, right?
It’s not and her former classmate from college, August, now literary fiction writer suffers from writer’s block as well. The two decide to make a bet on who can write their novel first with the catch being that they have to write a different ending than what they usually write. In the meantime, August takes January to interviews with members of a religious cult and January takes August on swoon-worthy dates so that each could figure out what romance and unhappy endings look like.
I usually cringe at the thought of polar opposites getting together. Sometimes the bright cheerleader is too peppy while the brooding loner thinks of himself as too tragic to save and when they begin dating, you wonder how good the sex must be to stay together. But the author gave January and August enough similarities, such as writer’s block and their idea of true love broken, to draw enough connections that January and Gus could find in each other.
Personally, nothing feels forced between the love interests. January has a positive outlook but keeps her guard up and even though she sees Gus as a cynic, he wants January to believe he isn’t as a pessimist as she thinks he is. I’m not crazy about how Emily Henry wrote January’s reasons for not wanting to be in a relationship with Gus. The author literally wrote that January calls him a ‘predator’ and herself, a ‘dumb bunny’.
“Somewhere deep in my mind, a self-preservation instinct was screaming, THOSE ARE THE EYES OF A PREDATOR, but that was exactly why nature gave predators eyes like that. So dumb little rabbits like me wouldn’t stand a chance. Don’t be a dumb bunny, January!”
I was like, WHAT THE F&CK, when I read that. If you’re going to write about January seeing Gus as someone who would hurt her emotionally, DON’T USE THE WORD, PREDATOR! Use a tiger, or wolf, or any animal that could harm a rabbit. Use a chihuahua, dammit. While I’m not a writer, I’m not sure if it’s entirely possible to write thousands of words in a span of hours for the two authors. I do love the notes January writes for her book like ‘Find out what drinks were popular then’ or ‘Insert historically accurate insult’ in her book, maybe I’m wrong and anyone can write a thousand words in a day and I should give it a try.
The way the author used Gus’ interviews as a way to find out how personal the research was for him and I thought that was an amazing way to connect with Gus. I think she did a great job showing details about Gus without him telling January.
It was fun reading Beach Ready. I worried about how flat or gimmicky the interplay between the love interest was, but that didn’t seem like a problem for the author, unless you hate using ‘coldly horny’ as a joke. I think what made me continue reading is when January believed she could never go back to being positive and optimistic 100% of the time because she knew that there are moments like her father having an affair and dying that makes January believe that the happy ending in her books are moments in her life that could get taken away at any point, moments fit for tragic endings. Regardless if a book ends happily ever after or not, I loved knowing why Gus wrote his endings in tragedy or why January hated the ‘falling’ part in falling in love. Most of the fun while reading is that I got to know two characters who are as complex as their relationship which is why I gave this book a four out of five coffee mugs.