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?
*I was given early access to this novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, a massive thank you to Penguin books for the opportunity to read this book early!*
People We Meet on Vacation feels like Emily Henry read my mind and plucked out the perfect story – best friends to estranged acquaintances to lovers excellence and even with the romance aside, it’s just such a great book. There is a lot I loved about this book as you can already probably tell but seriously guys, it’s like this story came into my life right when I needed it most. I don’t know how this always happens but when it does, it feels glorious. I feel like much like Beach Read, readers will go in expecting one thing and coming out with so much more.
It’s about life simply put, about finding yourself and the pursuit of contentment, and sometimes realising what we’ve always longed for has been right there all along. With the expected dose of diversions, misunderstandings and oh so delicious pining of course!
The story follows Poppy and Alex, flashing back and forth in time from their first meeting to their past vacations which they affectionately dub ‘The Summer Trip’ and right up till present day. I loved the use of flashbacks in this book, it was utilised so incredibly well to build up their friendship and made it all so much more believable. If you’re familiar with Love, Rosie or One Day, this book is definitely reminiscent of those two stories and since I loved those two, this couldn’t have been more up my street. I expect that this book will definitely make it into the ‘best friends to lovers’ hall of fame.
I really liked both Poppy and Alex and how despite being complete opposites in the obvious ways; Poppy is extroverted and zany, Alex is more introverted and bookish but at their core, they just click and I think that’s so true to life and real relationships. Not everyone you love and connect with is the same as you on paper but there’s something intangible, a sort of magic almost when you meet that person you can fully be yourself around and I loved how Emily Henry was able to really capture how beautiful and fulfilling this can be. Even aside from any romantic feelings they share, Poppy and Alex are truly best friends first which I adored.
As with Beach Read, I expected this to be a rom-com kind of deal and it is that for sure but there’s also a strong sense of finding yourself, especially as Poppy and Alex each move into adulthood. These parts of the novel were so painfully relatable, especially when it came to Poppy’s journey, figuring out what she wants in life and trying to find contentment. I especially connected to Poppy because just like her one of my biggest ambitions in life is to travel the world and I literally felt like I was reading my own thoughts at times which was both creepy and validating haha.
I feel like Emily Henry has this ability to connect with the deeper, human parts of us all through her writing and she can do both the lighter moments as well as the more intense ones such justice. This book is like a love letter to friendship, the true, bone deep type which can weather any storm and provides a safe space to be yourself and I just really appreciated this.
In short, after this long review – I can’t recommend People We Meet on Vacation enough, especially if you’re into romance and adult contemporaries. I’m looking forward to reading whatever Emily Henry writes next because I’m most definitely a fan.
Until next time,