Review: People We Meet on Vacation

It’s been a minute since I’ve done a review, but I’m so excited to be participating in the blog tour for People We Meet on Vacation! Beach Read was an honorable mention in my list of favorite books I read in 2020, so of course People We Meet on Vacation was one of my most anticipated reads this spring and I was thrilled to be invited to this blog tour.

People We Meet on VacationFor starters, People We Meet on Vacation is NOT a sequel to Beach Read, so you don’t have to have read Beach Read in order to enjoy this one! Though of course, if you like one, there’s a good chance you’ll like the other.

People We Meet on Vacation is a friends to lovers romance following Poppy and Alex. These two seemingly opposite people meet in college, where they realize they’re from neighboring small hometowns in Ohio. They don’t become best friends until a road trip home together, and after that, the rest is history.

But as the book opens, we learn that something happened during their annual summer vacation two years ago that changed things between the two of them, and they haven’t talked since. But Poppy misses Alex and texts him about maybe doing another trip together again. Only Alex already has plans to go to his brother’s wedding in Palm Springs, so they agree to turn that trip into their joint vacation.

What follows is the two of them gradually reconnecting and eventually talking about what happened two summers ago during what turns out to be the trip from hell, alternating with flashbacks to previous trips the two of them have taken together throughout the years. 

Unfortunately, I do have to admit that this book didn’t really work for me. I think if I had stopped to read the description instead of diving right in off the high of Beach Read, I might have adjusted my expectations and enjoyed People We Meet on Vacation more. You see, I’m just not the biggest fan of friends to lovers! It’s a trope that I think has a lot of angst that I don’t particularly enjoy, and often I just want to shake the couple and tell them they should have figured this stuff out years ago!! So this was already not going to be my favorite book based on that alone.

I also think the flashbacks will be polarizing. I know they really worked for others in showing how Alex and Poppy’s relationship grew and evolved throughout the years and why they didn’t get together sooner, but there were just. So. Many. Flashbacks. Pretty much every other chapter for a good three quarters of the book is a flashback to their different vacations together, but I felt like the flashbacks were them dancing around each other while nothing much happened in the contemporary timeline. It just felt like nothing happened for the longest time. And then things finally happen and I thought we’d be racing towards the finish line, but no. Things slow down again and I was back to being bored and frustrated by the two of them.

While I ultimately enjoyed but didn’t love this book, I do think it will work for a lot of people. Jenica at Firewhiskey Reader LOVES friends to lovers and absolutely adored this book! If you liked Beach Read, this books gives off a lot of the same vibes. Henry has such a unique voice that I didn’t appreciate until I read People We Meet on Vacation and noticed it, and they both have beautiful stories of growth and identity with the heroines. 

I also really, really loved that this book talked about Poppy having her dream job and still being unfulfilled. I haven’t personally experienced that, but I have done a dramatic career change because of unfulfillment in my career, and I wish talking about careers like that was something I saw more of in contemporary romances. I turn to reading a lot to try things on for size and think through different issues, and I maybe would have recognized my unhappiness with my career sooner or started thinking through different options if more romances touched on this topic, rather than featuring characters who always knew what careers they wanted to do. So it was just really refreshing to see that be a topic in this book.

And of course, it’s impossible to read this and not root for Alex and Poppy to find a way to make things work when they so clearly belong together. There are a lot of great reasons why they hadn’t gotten together earlier in the book, and I really liked how Henry addressed them and didn’t just brush them off. You love to see characters recognizing therapy could really help them rather than just relying on each other to address the complicated issues they’re dealing with!

I’m just so bummed because I was really expecting to love this book, and then I…didn’t. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I hadn’t gone in with such high expectations and had realized what type of book it was, so hopefully this review can help you gauge whether People We Meet on Vacation is the right fit for you and how likely you are to enjoy it. I really hope you love it if you decide to pick it up! Let me know in the comments whether you have plans to read it.

Oh! And be prepared for this book to make you want to travel again. I was a little caught off guard by how much I miss traveling while reading this, though that might also be because I’ve been to a lot of the places Alex and Poppy visit in this book. It was definitely bittersweet to read about!

I received an arc of People We Meet on Vacation from the publisher via Netgalley in order to participate in this blog tour.

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