Thursday, September 21, 2023

Book Review: People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry


Goodreads Overview:

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?

Jacque's Review:

I absolutely love Emily Henry, which you have probably already figured out from my other reviews. This is yet another fantastic read with unique characters and unexpected twits. Poppy and Alex appear to be complete opposites when they first meet in college. We quickly discover they are from the same small hometown. Poppy wants nothing more than to get away from that town and the people who treated her so poorly in high school. Alex ends up teaching at the school and is content being close to his family. She moves to New York City and has the perfect job working as a writer for a travel magazine, but she has lost interest in the glamorous adventures now that she doesn't have Alex as her travel companion.

Ever since college, when they were on a shoestring budget, they always managed to plan and take the most amazing trips together. Now that they are both working, the one thing they have to look forward to each year is their week together traveling the world. Unfortunately, they had a falling out a couple of years ago and Poppy has lost her interest in travelling. I'm not sure if it was a falling out so much as a misunderstanding. They left things in a precarious state and neither of them wanted to make the first move to get their relationship/friendship back on track. 

Poppy decides to reach out and Alex agrees to go on another vacation, which happens to include the location of his brother's wedding. He might as well kill two birds with one stone. If things do not work out as planned, they will have others to rely on for damage control. The vacation starts out on the wrong foot with an apartment lacking proper air conditioning in the sweltering heat. Poppy does her best to make the situation enjoyable, but the relationship that could withstand just about anything two years ago is teetering on the brink of disaster. She is constantly afraid that one wrong move will tip the scales to the point of no return. 

The book has several flashbacks to other trips they took together and people they met along the way. Seeing how things used to be between them and the obvious connection they had, it is hard to see how they got to their current state. As they begin to reconnect and catch up on everything they missed in each other's lives over the past two years, the ice starts to thaw between them. They are still cautious and taking things slowly, but they begin to see what has been clear to others for years. 

If you haven't read Emily Henry's other books, I would highly recommend all of them. Beach Read, Book Lovers, and People We Meet on Vacation have all been fantastic. I still have Happy Place on my TBR list, but I'm sure I will make time for it sometime soon.