Published by Berkley Books on May 11, 2021
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Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love.
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?
From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read, a sparkling new novel that will leave you with the warm, hazy afterglow usually reserved for the best vacations.
Happy book birthday to my new favorite contemporary romance! Yeah, you read that right. For a few years I have been waiting for a new book to dethrone my reigning favorite, but I wasn’t ready or expecting it to be this one. I guess that’s how it happens when you fall in love sometimes.
“My life turned out how I hoped it would, and now I just miss wanting something.”
Alex and Poppy are best friends. Every summer, they go on a trip together. Despite being polar opposites (hello, modern When Harry Met Sally alert!), these week long vacations sustain their relationship over a decade – until something happens and they stop speaking altogether. Two years later, Poppy has a realization during a bout of “Millennial ennui”: without Alex, nothing has that sparkle any more. So she sends him a hopeful text, an invite for another vacation to save the friendship.
Ninety-five percent of the time, I see Alex Nilsen in a purely platonic way, and I’d guess his number hovers a bit higher. But for that other five percent of the time, there’s this what-if.
The story alternates between This Summer, where Alex and Poppy are trying to salvage what once was, and all of the Summer Trips that came before it. There is a delicious tension as you see their relationship blossom and drift in and out of that grey area of could they be more? Through highs and lows, and trips all their trips around the world, we get these little glimpses of yearning and oh-so-many opportunities to yell “OMGGG just kiss already!” at your preferred reading format.
When I look at that photo, I don’t remember what Alex said to me to elicit that face, or what I yelled back at him. But I feel that same rush of warmth I get when I think about any of our past summer trips. That crush of happiness, that feeling that this is what life’s about: being somewhere beautiful, with someone you love.
Though many of Alex’s and Poppy’s issues could have been solved with more alcohol…I mean, conversation, frankly I’m glad they weren’t. Instead, we get an honest look at self-doubt and a reminder that sometimes you have a to take the big risk for big happiness. And it’s that journey of discovery that makes this my favorite book of the year.