review of people we meet on vacation

Review of People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

📖 GenreRomance, Contemporary, Adult
📃 Number of Pages364 pages
🪴 Average Goodreads Rating3.89 ⭐
🌻 My Rating2.5 ⭐

This book was fun and I read it within a day, mostly because I lack boundaries when it comes to reading but also because I wanted to know how it all happens. But to be honest, I didn’t love it (it’s one of the popular books I dislike most). There wasn’t enough chemistry between Alex and Poppy and both of them are very forgettable as characters. Still, I enjoyed it enough to give it 3 stars. Now, let’s get to the tea (spoilers, duh).

My thoughts on Alex

On paper, he was the perfect love interest. But something about Alex just didn’t work for me. I didn’t get him as a character. I’m not even sure what he looks like. His backstory was weak and uninteresting so it didn’t make me feel for him. His reasons for not telling Poppy how he feels were dumb — and to be honest, if the author didn’t spell them out, I wouldn’t have known why. Just meh.

My thoughts on Poppy

I really disliked her. She was a manic pixie girl, really annoying and immature. Her backstory sucks. She doesn’t want to go back to her hometown because her parents are weird (not), and she was kind of bullied. The woman is thirty — grow up already, no one cares! It was school, kids and teenagers are mean, just let it go. And she used this as an excuse for everything she did or didn’t do. If she isn’t visiting her parents – “Oh, I was bullied”. She’s needy and clingy – “Oh, I felt so alone when I was a kid”. Are we supposed to relate? Because I’m pretty sure no one at thirty is still thinking about their horrible school experience (and trust me, I was always the weird kid).

The Plot

Where was it? So, you get these chapters with the present timeline, and then in between these, you get chapters about their old trips. The two main characters, Alex and Poppy, were best friends for 12 years. And then something happened (it’s a mystery, but pretty obvious) on the last trip that made them not talk for two years. Now our main girl feels sad about her life even though she has everything she ever wanted, and she makes the move to ask Alex to go with her on one more trip.

There’s more to it, but that’s pretty much all you need to know.

The chapters with their past trips are boring. Most of them start with a recap of what they did every day, and a short summary of their lives that year. I quickly learned to skip these (at least the day-by-day trip recaps). And then there’s this one thing that happens each time that’s kind of supposed to make you realize that they’re falling in love. But, none of these add anything to the story. This one time, they dance on the street in New Orleans. And honestly, if the writer didn’t specifically tell us that it was very sensual and on the border of “more than friends”, I wouldn’t have noticed. There’s just no chemistry.

Everything that happens before and after that just cemented my belief that they should have been friends, not lovers.

And then you get these present-time chapters where nothing happens either. They spend three days complaining about heat and then it rains and they have sex. Then they go to this wedding (his brother\’s) and it’s supposed to be where they have this big moment where they really admit their feelings for each other, but it just falls flat. Then stuff happens, they fight, and go back to their old lives. For the entire duration of this trip they took, there wasn’t an ounce of chemistry. Like zero.

The reveal

The big reveal (what happened on their Croatia trip) is predictable and not that big of a deal. We\’re supposed to understand their freak out, but without them spelling it out, I really didn’t understand their motivations.

In the end, they kiss and make up (it’s not a very romantic scene). And that’s it.

There were a few supporting characters that seem fun, but they’re not developed enough. Plus, Poppy really hates this other female character (Alex’s girlfriend) for absolutely no reason other than she’s his girlfriend and she’s “buttoned up”. That was a bit weird.

I still love Emily Henry and her writing, and anything she writes is on auto-buy. I just wish this book had more of that chemistry and tension that was there in Beach Read, and that the backstories were a bit better, that she dug deeper into their characters.

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