Also by this author: Beach Read
Published by Berkley Books on May 11, 2021
Genres: Adult Fiction, Romance
Pages: 382 •Format: E-ARC •Source: NetGalley
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?
After roughly a year and a half in Covid quarantine, People We Meet on Vacation was such a wonderful, romantic escape. Detailing the reunion of estranged best friends Poppy and Alex, People We Meet on Vacation flawlessly alternates between present and past timelines, showcasing amazing vacations while also building an authentic, riveting, heartbreaking relationship and legitimately exploring the often mocked “millennial ennui.”
I read Beach Read last year and thought it was pretty good, but People We Meet on Vacation truly tugged on my heartstrings. Poppy and Alex’s story was lyrical yet bold, and Henry simultaneously works backwards, starting off the plot with an estranged Poppy and Alex tentatively starting to chat again after a two year long silence interspersed with chapters that cover their different “summer trips” they’ve had every summer for the past twelve years. The balance of the past and present was perfect, and the flashback chapters provided the perfect color at the perfect time to shed more light and context as to the tension, chemistry and actions taking place during Poppy and Alex’s current, less than ideal Palm Springs vacation. I enjoyed getting to slowly and subtly learn the nuances and dynamics of Alex and Poppy’s decade-plus spanning friendship and it’s one of the best written relationships I’ve ever read.
I think one of the things that set this story apart for me is that Alex is not your typical love interest. He’s not bold or daring or dashing or sassy. He’s calm, stable, resilient, and quiet. He’s the type of love interest you’d be so bored with in high school but then realize is all you want in a partner in your 30s. I love that this story is normalizing that you don’t have to have an extroverted, dark, dangerous, etc love interest to still have tension, passion and drama. It’s the little things between Alex and Poppy that make readers yearn for their connection, rather than grand gestures or swoon-worthy scenes. It’s the perfect inside jokes (“It speaks to me) and the non-judgemental acceptance of each other’s family flaws. It’s the being able to have a great time even when the AC’s broken and all there is to do is watch old movies on your laptop. It’s being ask sick as you’ve ever been and knowing you can count on that person to bring you Tylenol and monitor your fever.
Overall: The yearning for each other, the unrequited love on both sides…the years of tension and build up…it was all chef’s kiss! Also love that Alex was NOT your stereotypical romance novel love interest and he was SO interesting and I LOVED him. This story is truly the perfect “opposites attract” novel and I can’t recommend it enough- it will truly make you want to go and hug your significant other.