Book Review

People We Meet On Vacation

People We Meet on Vacation

  • Author: Emily Henry
  • Genre: Romance
  • Publication Date: May 11, 2021 
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio

CONTENT WARNING: mention of death

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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?

I listened to the audiobook of this, and Julia Whelan is perfect for the role of Poppy. She did an amazing job of narrating this book, and bringing both the story and the characters to vivid life.

I couldn’t help but love the characters, especially in how different they are. There’s almost a hint of the sunshine-grumpy dynamic, except that Alex isn’t exactly grumpy, he’s more introverted while Poppy is wildly extroverted. Despite how different these two characters are, they’re perfect for each other. They’re the epitome of opposites attract. And they’re best friends, but clearly, something more is going on for them. However, something happened two years ago that severed their friendship. And when Poppy is having millennial burnout, she realizes that she hasn’t been happy since her last trip with Alex. So she gambles everything on one last trip with him.

Except … nothing goes right. Their trip is unequivocally a disaster. It’s hilarious, but disastrous. Interspersed with the current trip, is flashbacks to their past trips and how things used to be between them. We get to see their relationship evolve from the first time they met until that last trip they took two years ago. And how it influences their current trip. 

I loved seeing how Poppy changes over time, both over the years and even during this current trip. She’s a difficult character to dislike, even when she’s being difficult, and I think part of that is the self-awareness that she has. They have a unique dynamic between them that made it so clear that they’re meant to be more than simply friends, but they’re both trying so hard to fight it that I wanted to reach out and shake them both. But at the same time, I completely understood the desire to work hard to keep the friendship status quo and not let anything change that. 

It’s a romance, so I’m sure you can figure out how things end, but there’s a long bumpy road to get to the ending. I loved every minute of the story, and was right there with the characters. I loved Henry’s other book, and after this one, she’s earned a spot on my list of favorite romance authors — with her use of romance, well-developed characters, and her fun storytelling style. This is one not to miss, even if it gives me a serious case of wanderlust. 

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