People We Meet on Vacation
Author: Emily Henry
Publisher: Berkley Books (May 11, 2021)
Paperback, 364 pages
Romance, Adult Contemporary Romance
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?
This book gave me big The Hating Game energy, even though they’re nothing alike beyond having deeply weird heroines and the straight-laced, buttoned-up men who adore every wacky, densely obtuse bit of them.
This book has so many great tropes – friends to lovers (BEST friends!), opposites attract, road trip!, there’s only one bed, forced proximity, mutual pining… The writing style is a little weird, but it works. It’s told in the first person present tense, and the chapters switch around from “this summer” to previous years of Poppy and Alex’s summer trips. In this way Emily Henry gives the reader the exact bits and pieces of Alex and Poppy’s history they need for the current timeline’s plotpoints to have the most impact. And wow, this book delivered so many gut punches, I was ugly crying at one point.
I loved everything about People We Meet on Vacation – the chemistry, Poppy and Alex’s families and their complicated relationships with them, the lush descriptions of all the places they travel, the cutesy touching moments, the rom-com disaster ones, the tiny stabbing needles of longing… It’s just great, and now I’m MAD because I clearly need to go pick up Emily Henry’s previous release, Beach Read, which I’d stupidly decided to skip. (I’m not actually mad, I’m really glad she’s got a bit of a backlist because I loved this book so much that Emily Henry is definitely on my autobuy list now!)