Review | People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

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?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read, a sparkling new novel that will leave you with the warm, hazy afterglow usually reserved for the best vacations.

“Because, really, it’s less about the places we go than the people we meet along the way. But most of all, it’s about the ones who stay, who become home.”

Is it too early to say that this is my favourite romance book of 2021? Because, wow. People We Meet on Vacation made me laugh, restored my faith in the concept of soulmates, and left me sobbing in the park because of how emotionally resonant the grand romantic gesture was.

People We Meet on Vacation follows two best friends, Alex and Poppy, whose annual tradition of taking a summer trip together came to a crashing halt after something happened, causing them to drift apart. Now they have one last trip together to fix everything that happened between them or risk losing each other forever.

I often find second chance romances tough to buy into, since readers are expected to accept at face value that these characters had a history together off-page. In People We Meet on Vacation, however, the history of Alex and Poppy’s friendship is told through flashbacks of each annual summer trip, from the first time they met all the way up to The Incident. This made it very easy to root for them as a couple – despite being fundamentally different people, they have amazing chemistry, fun banter, and such strong love for one another.

In typical Emily Henry fashion, People We Meet on Vacation tackles some pretty heavy issues alongside the romance. It touches on burnout, depression, loneliness, and grief with compassion and tenderness. The discussion about millennial ennui and how it’s tied to burnout resonated with me strongly; how after finally achieving a goal that you’ve sought for years, you can feel listless and stagnant rather than fulfilled.

Overall, People We Meet on Vacation was a beautiful exploration of friendship, love, and finding home in a person, rather than a place. I can’t wait to read it again and again.

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