Poppy Wright and her best friend Alex Nilsen have taken a summer trip almost every year since they’ve met, but could this one be their last?
Author of this light, summery novel, Emily Henry studied creative writing at Hope College and the New York Centre for Art and Media Studies, and currently spends most of her time in Ohio.
When Poppy and Alex first met, they instantly knew they were polar opposites; Alex likes following the rules and hates public displays of affection, while Poppy is outspoken, witty, and just plain goofy.
After running into each other by chance after their first meeting, the two get to know what the other hates, and a friendship is built from their dislikes; an odd yet funny start to the friendship.
Since then, the two have taken a summer trip more or less each year, sometimes due to Poppy’s job, which sends her across the world to tour vacation spots to write articles on various locations.
We follow Poppy during both the present and past tense, and find out that the reason the pair’s relationship is on thin ice happened in Croatia, two summers ago.
Will Poppy and Alex rekindle their friendship, or turn it into more? Or, will they simply part ways?
So, what did I think?
Upon receiving a copy of You and Me on Vacation from the lovely Rare Birds Books, I was drawn to both the beautiful packaging and bright, cheery cover of the book itself. This book was a charming take on a complex friendship and I loved every page.
It must be said that the relationship between Poppy and Alex is downright perfect; she is rather boisterous and cares very little about what people think of her, and Alex is the opposite, with his serious answers to fun questions and concerns about the smallest things.
At first glance, I was genuinely amused by Poppy’s fun, flirty attitude. Her wit and habit of making people uncomfortable with her odd questions made me smile, and she was always herself on every single page, and I loved her for it.
Henry has told this story in such a brilliant way; we get a chapter or two focusing on the present, then a chapter focusing on 12 summers ago when the two met, then a chapter from the current day, then a chapter from 11 summers ago, and so on.
The forward-moving story told through Poppy’s account was fantastic, and the countdown of summer trips until we reach two summers ago, when it all went wrong, was such a clever way to tell this story. Their tale isn't perfect, which made this book all the more perfect.
It was as if the book had a timer, and it was only a matter of time before I found out what went wrong between Poppy and her perfect friend Alex.
It is rather clear not too far in that Poppy loves Alex, more than you would love a friend. Every time she describes him, she finds different things to love about him. First, it’s his hair or his smile, next it’s his odd sense of humour or a quirk he has; it’s a beautiful way to subtly let readers know that Poppy Write is in love.
The only thing I can pick out from this novel that would be a negative, was in the writing in some parts. Words sometimes seemed to be jumbled, and I couldn’t help but think that some sentences would make more sense with the words swapped around.
Having said that, Henry has created two beautiful and unique characters that seemingly don’t match, but their friendship and loyalty to one another proves that opposites do attract.
The storytelling is stunning; slowly working towards the Croatia trip, which is mentioned by Poppy every now and again as what caused her and Alex to fall out, really made me glue my eyes to each page.
It was similar to binge-watching a series, where you just have to watch the next episode to see what happens; I had to keep reading to find out why the infamous Croatia trip caused a rift between the two perfect friends, who would move heaven and Earth for one another.
You and Me on Vacation is a beautiful, wonderful adventure that follows two uniquely different people who adore one another. It was a perfect summer read!
Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal
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