*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Beach Read, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!
Do you love romantic stories, but pure romance isn’t your thing? Maybe you need a little bit of a darker backstory or a stronger internal struggle that has nothing to do with the leading man. I get it.
The good news is that there are lots of romantic books out there that fit this bill while still centering primarily on the romance element. Beach Read by Emily Henry is one of those books.
Beach Read centers on romance writer January Andrews who finds herself at her father’s secret vacation house after his death. His exposed love affair fresh on her mind, she can’t bring herself to write romance anymore, despite the fact that she’s under contract with a looming deadline.
Enter Augustus Everett, an old college nemesis and literary writer, who finds himself with an equal dose of writer’s block. When the two agree to swap genres in hopes to ignite their writing passions once more, things start to heat up on the page and off.
While that might sound like your typical romance, don’t worry there’s plenty of backstory and baggage both characters are working through. So much so that pure romance readers have complained that the book was too heavy!
That said, I should let you know that there are at least two pretty hot and heavy sex scenes in the book. If you don’t feel comfortable reading those, you might not feel comfortable with Beach Read. The other parts of the book balanced this out and the scenes were consensual and tastefully done enough that they didn’t bother me.
And, one more thing you should know. Beach Read isn’t actually about the traditional beach. It’s set on Lake Michigan.
Still a lovely spot, but a little misgiving to the reader.
That said, if your book club is looking for something fun and light to read, especially over the summer, Beach Read would be a great pick.
On that note, I’ve provided book club questions and a delicious recipe for Beach Read, so if you are looking for food ideas and more, keep reading!
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Here’s a brief summary of Beach Read:
Romance writer January Andrews finds herself at her father’s secret vacation house after his death. She’s broke and in desperate need to sell the book she can’t write. With her father’s exposed love affair fresh on her mind, she doesn’t believe in romance anymore or happily ever afters. When she finds out that her college nemesis and literary superstar Augustus Everett, is living next door, things seem like they can’t get worse.
But Augustus is fighting his own bout of writer’s block, so he strikes a bet with January to force them out of their creative ruts: he’ll write a happy romance if she’ll work on the next Great American Novel. What ensues is a battle royale chock full of rom-com field trips and death cult interviews in a desperate attempt to win the bet and to absolutely not fall in love.
For Beach Read recipe:
The good news is that all the food mentioned in Beach Read (with a few exceptions) is party-type food. Albeit, it’s the kind of party where you might need to pop a few antacids to survive. Nonetheless, you could throw a fun and festive book club party with all of the food ideas from the book.
Here are a few food suggestions from Beach Read for you:
- Chapter 5 – January sets up with “drafting food” at the house – macaroni, cereal, and stir fry veggies
- Chapter 6 – Red, White Russians, and Blue Book Club – chardonnay and White Russians
- Chapter 7 – Gus takes January to sober up at the donut shop – a mixed dozen
- Chapter 11 and 12 – The carnival – cotton candy, deep-fried foods, chili dogs, and lime-infused beer
- Chapter 12 – Dave never shows at the Olive Garden – frozen blue cocktails and breadsticks
- Chapter 14 – The drive-in triple feature – Popcorn, Ice Cream Surprises, and sodas
- Chapter 21 – Fourth of July Party at Pete’s – burgers and blue punch (vodka, coconut rum, blue curacao, Tequila, pineapple juice, and a splash of regular rum)
- Chapter 26 – Shadi visits and helps January – ratatouille
Because this IS called Beach Read and blue cocktails are mentioned twice, I thought it would be fun to create something similar to the blue punch served at Pete’s Fourth of July.
Cocktails are always a fun treat, especially in the summertime. To make this recipe, I slimmed down the list of ingredients to just two of the original four alcoholic liquids and added a fun touch by dressing it up with some store-bought cotton candy–a nod to the carnival scene.
If you’d prefer a non-alcoholic version, check out this blue punch from martysmusings.net.
So, if you are looking for food suggestions for Beach Read, I think your book club will be happy to try this fun and delicious Blue Punch Cocktail!
- Cocktail shaker
- 2 ounces coconut rum
- 1 ounce blue Curaçao
- 1 ounce cream of coconut
- 2 ounce pineapple juice
- 1 cup ice
- Combine coconut rum, blue Curacao, cream of coconut*, and pineapple juice into a shaker.
- Add the ice and shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
- Pour into desired cup and garnish with store bought cotton candy, if desired.
Beach Club Book Club Questions:
*WARNING: May contain spoilers!
- What did you think of the title of this novel after reading the book? Do you find it misleading or did you think the content was what the title referred to? Was it your typical “beach read” in content?
- Would you classify this novel as romance or something different, like women’s fiction? How was it similar to other romances you’ve read and how did it differ? Do you prefer to read books with a happily ever after?
- January and Gus look at the world very differently. Which worldview did you most agree with? How might seeing the world differently benefit you?
- January is destroyed after learning about her father’s affair. Her beliefs in romance, in happily ever afters, and in conquering the bad with love are all tested. By the end of the book, she comes to understand that just because someone makes a mistake it doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t the person you’ve known them to be. Discuss how this was true of her relationship with her father and also her relationship with Gus.
- Why do you think January’s mom refused to talk about the affair? Do you think it was denial, hurt, or something else? How did you feel about Sonja and her plea to January?
- Gus and January make a bet to change genres and write outside what they are comfortable writing. Have you ever changed your process on something and had that shift open you up in the same ways January found writing in a new genre gave her the freedom to write again? Did you find that ultimately you didn’t completely change from the shift (like January’s HEA), but you benefited from it? Or did it completely change you?
- Who was your favorite secondary character in the book? Shadi, Pete, Maggie, Sonja, January’s mother, etc.?
- Discuss Gus and January. What did you love about their relationship? What warning signs did you see that might cause potential trouble? Do you think that they’ll make it together?
- Gus and January take several writing field trips and there are other fun scenes in the book (like the donut shop, book club, and Fourth of July party). Which scene was your favorite? Why?
- What did you think of the Red, White Russians, and Blue book club? Have you ever invited an author to your book club only for it to go awry? Reminisce about that time together. 😊
Have you read Beach Read? What did you think? Did it satisfy you or were you left wishing for more? What are some similar books you’ve read?
Until next time, Happy Reading!
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