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You and Me on Vacation (Lead Title) Paperback
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The slow burn is absolutely one of my favourite types of book. I just love knowing the characters are madly in love with each other before they do. I feel like I’m in on the secret.
I loved, loved, loved Poppy and Alex. I love their quirky insider jokes, the little phrases they repeat to each other than nobody else gets but make them fall about laughing. I just love those little things. I’m stealing “too many wine” as my new catchphrase. I want to steal Alex and Poppy too and have them as my best friends so we can go on holiday together and laugh all day and have our own insider phrases.
Their funny little holiday phrases reminded me so much of Cundy Conroy holidays of the past and the silly phrases that you had to have been there for. I think “stop with that tomfoolery” followed by “down with that horseplay” might be my absolute favourite phrases ever uttered. Aren’t holidays ace?
I want quirky Poppy clothing advice and kind, caring Alex mopping my forehead when I’m ill. I just love the pair of them so hard.
This is an absolutely lovely, lovely story of two friends falling in love with each other without realising. Two friends having the best of times together. Two friends making memories. Two friends realising that a compromise isn’t always a compromise if it means that you found your home.
My first book from Emily Henry, this made for an easy summer read. I tend to like the 'best friends to lovers' trope, with all the complications it can bring and exploring that idea of whether a relationship is just platonic or something more. That being said, I don't think this story added anything new to this trope, and I've seen it done much better, for instance One Day, which had so much more of an emotional connect.
You and Me on Vacation is very much a slow-burn romance. I did generally like the central characters, who both came across warmly, if perhaps a little stereotyped. Alex is sweet and shy, Poppy loud and fun, both rather quirky in their different ways. They probably shouldn't work together, yet they do, bringing out the best in each other.
I quite liked the idea of Poppy as this travel writer, initially blogger and so-called social media-influencer as it just seemed very much on trend, and not something I've come across before in a book. Her career was explored quite a lot in the book, and I was particularly fascinated by that concept of someone having these ambitious goals driving them, but then when they achieve them they are left feeling somewhat empty. I did think that perhaps the social-media side of things could have been explored a bit more though, in terms of the drawbacks of being such a profile figure.
Whilst I did like the back and forth of the timeline, I have to say overall I thought the book was too dragged out. We go on endless vacations with Poppy and Alex, and whilst there were some fun anecdotes and obviously relationship building between the two, it did get somewhat repetitive, with not much actually happening for a lot of the book other than following the pair on holiday after holiday.
In the current time-line there is some awkwardness between them as they try to rebuild their friendship, and we are left wondering as to what went wrong two years ago, not finding out till pretty late in the book. Given how much this was teased, I have to say I was disappointed by the eventual reveal, as it was just very anticlimactic. I get that a lot of these types of stories rely on the miscommunication trope, but even so it is usually better done than this.
I also think I might have liked the book better if it was told from both Poppy and Alex's point of views, rather than just Poppy's, as it might have varied the tone a bit. Whilst I did like Poppy, for me she was the more annoying out of the pair, and she could grate on my nerves somewhat at times with how she acted or things she did e.g. why lie to Alex in the first place about their holiday being funded by R&R, for me there was just no need. Also I didn't quite get why she always felt like such an outsider, and felt this was an aspect that the writer was more just trying to shoe-horn in so as to psycho-analyse some of her behaviour at the end, rather than something that felt genuine.
Overall this was a very average read for me, lacking that special spark, such that it never had me excited to return to its pages.
Ow my heart.
This book make it grow three sizes ‘grinch style.’
I read Emily Henry’s other book beach read in one sitting, uncomfortably in the heat to add to the beachy vibe, and then immediately had to buy this one because her writing ‘speaks to me.’
And thus came another entire night in the sudden British heat wave spent reading ‘you and me on vacation’ all in one go.
The characters are so wonderfully fleshed out, the dynamics are so beautifully banterful but the whole book has this wonderful hit of heartbreaking realism of pain that hits you where you need it.
The way she writes family dynamics and the relationship struggles within those is incredible and the characters all have these layers that build up to a surface character but when you peel it back with each chapter you see it all makes sense.
Poppy is presented at first as a bold extrovert and Alex quite the opposite but then you learn about their vastly different experiences growing up and you see why and how they are the people they are.
Thought I would try dipping my toes into the contemporary romance genre with ‘beach read’ and got absolutely dragged in and drowned in the best way possible with both ‘beach read’ and ‘you and me on vacation.’
Do yourself a favour and pick up this book, the sheer amount of embarrassing audible giggles you’ll have alone I’m your room at 3am from the dynamics of Poppy and Alex are worth it alone.
What follows is an extraordinarily drawn-out story that moves back and forth between this summer and flashbacks through ten previous summers, illustrating the ups and downs of Poppy and Alex’s relationship and following their current tightly budgeted trip to Palm Springs My enthusiasm for the story of this summer was limited and so wading through all of the previous years exploits quickly became tiresome. It also takes well over half the book before Henry even tackles the events of two summers ago which neither live up the billing or I doubt will surprise many readers. The entire novel is presented from the perspective of Poppy who I found a little grating and superficial and whilst I found Alex bland and frankly pretty dull I did feel that hearing his perspective would have added another dimension to the novel. Not only did I feel that the chemistry between the pair was negligible but aside from occasional moments of witty banter they didn’t even seem on the same wavelength. Personally I didn’t find the novel entertaining and was bemused that the pair seemed unable to talk to each other openly and there had been ten years of miscommunication. Although the outcome of the novel was unashamedly predictable from the off, my disappointment was compounded by a denouement that was over in the blink of an eye and felt decidedly anticlimactic.
It was the complete lack of chemistry between Poppy and Alex that spoiled my enjoyment of this book. The differences in their personalities and the constant awkwardness between them made it very hard to believe that they were the close friends we are told they are. The forced banter forms the basis of every conversation they have so there was no real depth or meaning.
After really enjoying Beach Read last summer I was looking forward to the next book from Emily Henry but this one is really missing the spark.