All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: You And Me On Vacation by Emily Henry

on July 8, 2021

You And Me On Vacation
Emily Henry
Penguin UK
2021, 368p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

TWO FRIENDS
TEN SUMMER TRIPS
THEIR LAST CHANCE TO FALL IN LOVE

12 SUMMERS AGO: Poppy and Alex meet. They hate each other, and are pretty confident they’ll never speak again.

11 SUMMERS AGO: They’re forced to share a ride home from college and by the end of it a friendship is formed. And a pact: every year, one vacation together.

10 SUMMERS AGO: Alex discovers his fear of flying on the way to Vancouver.
Poppy holds his hand the whole way.

7 SUMMERS AGO: They get far too drunk and narrowly avoid getting matching tattoos in New Orleans.

2 SUMMERS AGO: It all goes wrong.

THIS SUMMER: Poppy asks Alex to join her on one last trip. A trip that will determine the rest of their lives.

You and Me on Vacation is a love story for fans of When Harry Met Sally and One Day. Get ready to travel the world, snort with laughter and – most of all – lose your heart to Poppy and Alex.

Oh my Gosh.

This was one of my most anticipated books of the year, ever since I read (well, actually, listened to) Beach Read by Emily Henry last year, became obsessed with it and learned that she had another book out middle of 2021. And for me, this absolutely lived up to my expectations for it and I freaking loved this book.

Poppy and Alex met briefly at university – they’re both from opposite sides of the same town in Ohio and went to the same university in Chicago. They didn’t exactly hit it off but a year later a mutual friend arranges for them to share a ride back to their hometown for break and what starts off awkward ends up being the beginning of an amazing friendship. From there, they’re pretty much inseparable and save every summer for a holiday with each other, firstly doing things cheap and cheerful and later, after Poppy gets a dream job for a travel publication, with someone else’s budget. They are best friends, no matter what else is going on, who else they might be seeing, even if Poppy acknowledges deep down, it’s 95% best friends, 5% “what if”.

The book is told back and forth in time – in the present day, Poppy is experiencing some burnout. She worked so hard to get her present job but after a few years doing it, it doesn’t bring the same ‘zing’ anymore. She can’t understand it. Her friend tells her to go back to a time when she was genuinely happy and work from there and for Poppy it’s before everything “went wrong” with Alex, some two years ago on their last vacation in Croatia. She decides to reach out to Alex and try and fix their friendship. She proposes another summer vacation together so part of the book explores their reconnection and it also goes back in time to showcase their meeting, the car ride home together and various other moments from their summer vacations to different places.

I loved both Poppy and Alex. When we meet them, we know it all went wrong – that this really wonderful friendship has petered out to a couple of “Happy birthday” and “thanks” texts a year. Poppy knows that she still thinks about Alex all the time, that she still mourns what they’ve become but she’s not sure if Alex feels the same. She can’t prevent herself from reaching out though, and Alex responds. What we don’t know, is how and why everything went wrong and it takes a while for everything to come out, because things are told in a way that fleshes out the friendship before it begins to show how it broke down. I sort of guessed what had happened and I think most people will as well. Alex and Poppy have this undertone and it ebbs and flows a bit, depending what is going on but both of them are hesitant about it (or Poppy is – the narrative is all hers, we have to just guess at Alex’s feelings and intentions). I knew I was going to love this after I’d read less than 20 pages – it had me laughing and as I got into it, some scenes made my heart hurt as well.

I thought that Alex and Poppy had awesome chemistry and that the slow burn was really well done – by the time the sexual tension was ready to break, I was soooo ready for it! I love a slow burn and I think that the book excelled at it and I just felt like the flashbacks established their friendship so well – the 95% and the 5% (although sometimes these values fluctuated, depending on what was happening and how Poppy was feeling at any given time, such as the chapter where she’s unwell and the chapter where they’re in Croatia). I was so invested in them, for the first part I was also frustrated at Poppy because I’m like why can’t you see what is happening here, why this is how you are feeling, why this happened, why you’re doing this/saying this/etc but I realised she did see, she just didn’t want to for various reasons. And those reasons were explained and I feel as though both character’s backgrounds were a strong reason in why certain things were an issue for them, in terms of why none of them pulled the trigger earlier. There were also some misunderstandings, where both of them were desperate to preserve the friendship that they gave off the wrong impression, and this is a good example of how those misunderstandings can spiral out of control until they effect the friendship in an entirely different way.

This is so much my jam. A total keeper, think I need the audiobook version as well now. I really love listening to books I’ve already read and loved and I enjoyed the audio of Beach Read so much that I think I’ll definitely love this one too.

And now my wait for the next Emily Henry begins.

9/10

Book #107 of 2021


2 responses to “Review: You And Me On Vacation by Emily Henry

  1. curlygeek04 says:

    I really liked this book too, and now I’m looking forward to reading Beach Read. I like the slow burn, and I liked that really this book was about the personal growth of the characters, not just romance. I didn’t always like Poppy as much as I liked Alex, but the author made her more sympathetic over time.

    • I hope you enjoy Beach Read as well! I liked the slow burn as well and I agree that Alex was often the more likeable character. I did feel Poppy took a while to figure things out! And I definitely feel her background played a role in why she was the way she was.

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