People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
Published: May 11th 2021 by Berkley Books
Genre: Adult // Contemporary, Romance
**This book was bought with my own money for reading. This in no way alters my review.**
Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love.
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?
From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read, a sparkling new novel that will leave you with the warm, hazy afterglow usually reserved for the best vacations.
It’s been a good few months since I’ve picked up anything other than a YA book, so when I kept seeing People We Meet On Vacation literally everywhere, I knew I had to read it. I’m also a sucker for the trope “friends to lovers”, so it was a no-brainer that this book needed to be in my life. (Plus, why did they change the cover/title for the UK book? The US one is so much cuter! I bought that one instead because I loved it so much more!)
Poppy and Alex should not be friends, at least not on paper. She is free-spirited and he’s hugely into the quieter life. But somehow, after meeting at Uni and sharing a fate-filled car ride home, it was cemented in history that they were always destined to be best friends. Poppy narrates the story, and through her eyes, we see their relationship evolve and change over the course of several summer holidays together, the time weaving back and forth into the current time where they’ve not spoken properly for a while after their last vacation together.
The raw connection between Poppy and Alex is so apparent from the start. Theoretically, they should not make sense. Poppy is a city girl, living it up in NYC and writing articles, whereas Alex is a teacher back in their hometown. Not only are they starkly opposites, but in their day-to-day life, they want different things. Only, the love is there. It oozes from their characters in each summer, whether they’re with other people or not, that magnetic pull is so, so clear. And as Poppy and Alex get together again for a holiday in current time, after so long being divided apart because of the mystery of what happened on their last vacation, we see how – even in their absence from each other – the love is not lost in the slightest.
Overall, once I picked up People We Meet On Vacation, nothing else mattered. Even when I had to put the book down to sleep, when I woke up, I couldn’t stop thinking about Poppy and Alex. Only halfway through, I knew this was going to be one of my favourite Adult Contemporary Romance novels I’ve ever read, and by the end, there was nothing I was more sure of. I rooted for Poppy and Alex with every page turned, in awe of the character development, the witty lines, the inside jokes and way each summer seemed to make me feel inside the pages with the characters themselves. I can’t recommend this book enough, and I’ll be picking up more books by Emily Henry ASAP. Five huge stars. The most must-read book this summer.
Emily Henry writes stories about love and family for both teens and adults. She studied creative writing at Hope College and the now-defunct New York Center for Art & Media Studies. Find her on Instagram @EmilyHenryWrites.