‘Book Lovers’ by Emily Henry review


Emily Henry | Instagram @emilyhenrywrites

Daniella Plotkin

At first glance, “Book Lovers” by young-adult author Emily Henry seems like a common, cliché romantic comedy. But Henry’s novel explores all types of relationship dynamics, including but not limited to romantic relationships, through her captivating writing and layered characters.

“Book Lovers,” Henry’s sixth novel, was published last May, but The New York Times bestselling author had gained substantial popularity before from her other romance novels such as “Beach Read” and “You and Me on Vacation.” “Book Lovers” found popularity after trending on TikTok throughout the summer of 2022.

Nora, the female lead of the novel, spends much of the story working on her relationship with her sister whom she has felt distanced from. The continuous plot line drives much of the book and helps create an emotional attachment to the characters.

Nora and her younger sister Libby are not as close as they used to be since they both live busy lives. Nora works long hours as a literary agent while Libby is a dedicated wife and a mother to two kids. To help repair their relationship, they agree to go on a vacation together to North Carolina.

Nora and Libby have fun throughout the novel, but there is always some slight tension as a result of the secrets they have kept from one another. One of the biggest bonds is that their mom died when they were both young. Nora, being the older sister, stepped up to fill their mom’s shoes for the sake of Libby and was always protecting her and putting her first. Now grown women, Libby reveals that Nora’s constant protection is what makes her feel the need to create distance.

Libby feels guilt over how much Nora has given up for her and wants Nora to act like her sister instead of placing herself in the role of their mother. The revelation is very impactful. In the book, Nora always tries to fix things for her sister even when she is not asked to. She never considers what Libby wants her to do, acting on her instinct to protect her sister at all costs. She took up the role that their mother held while she was grieving and was never able to let go of it. Both sisters deal with the fact that grief changed their relationship and they must both try to understand each other to fix it.

Of course, there is also a romance that takes place throughout the novel. The love interest is Charlie, an editor who originally meets Nora at a work-related lunch. They get off on the wrong foot and don’t see each other again until Nora bumps into him in North Carolina. It just so happens that Nora and Libby are staying in his hometown. They encounter each other randomly a few times until they form a solid friendship, a key aspect of what was so enjoyable about their romance.

Admittedly, the romance plot is not unlike anything you’ve ever seen. But their friendship throughout much of the novel and the tension that is felt while reading is what makes their eventual relationship feel believable. It doesn’t feel rushed, which is a common fault in rom-com style books and movies.

Nora and Charlie really get to know each other and help build each other up. They work on a book together as one of Nora’s clients ends up needing a new editor. The progress of them working together adds humor to the book and brings in entertaining banter.

Arguably, one of the most important relationships in this book is Nora’s relationship with herself. In the beginning of the book, she is very set in her ways. She doesn’t give herself opportunities to branch out or consider any possibility of change. She struggles to prioritize herself.

But Nora goes through a lot of emotional growth, and it shows by the end of the novel. She learns how to be vulnerable with people and process the emotions she has been suppressing since her mom died. Nora opens up to new possibilities and for once learns to accept help from the important people in her life.

“Book Lovers” does a great job emphasizing personal growth while also demonstrating the importance of having loving and reliable relationships in your life.