Review: Book Lovers by Emily Henry

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Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Book Lovers by Emily Henry summary

Nora Stephens’ life is books–she’s read them all–and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby. 

Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away–with visions of a small town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute. 

If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again–in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow–what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry Review

I’ve always found a self-aware book to be a bit cheaty — just acknowledging that you are using cliches and then going ahead and writing it anyways feels like laziness. We all know that books are just stories recycled and rewritten and I think we are all willing to engage in a little suspension of disbelief together.

But this one worked. I can’t explain why this story escapes my criticism (perhaps because yes, I too am very obviously a book lover) but I deeply admire Henry for it. I was a bit snobbish about her books after seeing them touted as the “perfect summer reads” for the past few years, but the title of this one wooed me (genius move, by the way — there was no way bookstagram could have ignored this).

I saw some people online complain that this book is just “trope after trope” (which let’s not even talk about conflating “tropes” with “cliches” but okay), and I get that, but that is the gimmick of the whole thing. I also think that this is one of those reads you pick up for the same reason we love to rewatch a Nora Ephron film — it’s a story that makes us feel good regardless of the unbelievability of it. The whole point of the book is that the sisters are seeking out these cliches and tropes to see if they really exist.

Book Lovers would have been an immediate drop if the lead character hadn’t been so relatably not perfect. I’m still not over a good not-the-MC kind of story — absolutely love them, for the time being. The idea that Nora has been the “villain” of the story multiple times in a so-unreal-it’s-believable turn of events warmed me to her.

I especially adored the ending. Once again, I’m not normally one for happy, everything-works-out endings. This one though didn’t land sickly-sweet — instead, I found it to be just the right amount of satisfying.

Have y’all been convinced to read Book Lovers yet?

Love,

Book Lovers by Emily Henry was released May 3, 2022. Although Berkley Books and libro.fm provided me with a free review copy, this did not in any way affect my review.

CW: death or dying, pregnancy/childbirth

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