I was so disappointed with this. My first Emily Henry was Book Lovers, and I loved that one because it subverted tropes and had strong, confident protagonist that did not sacrifice anything of herself for love. The lovers had excellent communication and generally healthy relationship! Perfect.
And so I naively went into You and Me on Vacation expecting something a little similar.1 I knew it was going to be “friends to lovers” but I hoped the characters would be as engaging as I found in Book Lovers.
But no. You and Me on Vacation has all the things I hate about these kind of books and movies, it hits every trope in the face, and on top of that it was just really boring to read. Life is too short for boring books, so I dropped it around the 25% mark.
I listened to the Shameless Book Club podcast review of this book and wholly agree with all their criticisms of it, though they all were much more generous with 3-4.5 star reviews! From that and reading the reviews in the 1-3 star range on Goodreads I can see I did not miss anything at all, and in fact if I had carried on I would have just hated it even more!
This was a DNF for me because
- I did not enjoy the character of Poppy. I never really enjoy the “quirky” characters in these books, and Poppy was particularly try-hard with her bizarre “I always shop vintage” outfits and she also has a rather brash personality that just is not my personal preference.
- A huge flaw is that I just did not believe her friendship with Alex could have lasted 12 years – during which they go on yearly holidays together – without one of them either confessing their feelings or making a move. This would have fizzled our maybe around 6 years. They also go on these trips despite one or the other of them having a significant other which just felt really shitty behaviour to me (and I understand if I’d read on I’d have really hated this!).
- Alex also came across like a bit of an arsehole, but in the 25% I read things were very Poppy heavy so I didn’t spend a lot of time with him.
- I found Poppy and Alex didn’t actually have any chemistry on the page! I personally hate “cute banter” so that might be why. I was just always irritated by their exchanges.
- The idea of a grown man sending me “sad puppy dog” selfies makes my skin crawl. This is a bit that has gone on for 12 years. Major ick!
- Worse of all this book is just boring. Nothing happened in the section I read, and the structure with the flashbacks was making the story too disjointed. Once I had some handle on the present we were back in the past again.
If you read and hated this I recommend you try Book Lovers instead! I might still try Beach Read as the description for that still sounds better than this one.
- You and Me on Vacation is the UK title, in the US it is called People We Meet on Vacation which makes less sense, as I don’t think they actually meet any cool or new people on their holidays?! I also heard that the US version has some additional scenes (the vasectomy?!) cut from the UK one. ↩︎