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8 Best Emily Henry Books: The Ultimate Guide for Booklovers

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Emily Henry is hands down one of my absolute favorite authors – I liked her after Beach Read, and fell head-over-heels in love after I read People We Meet on Vacation. 

I love that I can pick up an Emily Henry book and transport myself to a place so far away yet incredibly real because her writing is so powerful. She has this style of writing that’s both witty and atmospheric – I simply can’t get enough. Honestly, I’d read anything she writes, even a grocery list (which, incidentally, is the name of her newsletter – check it out!). 

Her contemporary romances made her an instant #1 New York Times bestseller, but before she got to the romance genre, she wrote a few YA fantasy books. Overall, she’s published four adult contemporary romance books (with one upcoming book!) and four YA books – all of which I’ve covered in my list!

The adult contemporary romance novels have some spice in them, so my spice meter can come in handy! Your smut preferences might vary, but the meter will give you some idea of the level of smut in each book.

  • 🌶️– sexual language and a little on-page action
  • 🌶️🌶️– a lot of sexual language and some on-page action, may be occurring couple times
  • 🌶️🌶️🌶️– some explicit action and dirty talk, occurring frequently
  • 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️ – a lot of explicit action and dirty talk, occurring frequently
  • 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️ – super graphic and explicit, occurring very frequently

Let’s get to the reviews!

How I rated these books

I’m a mood reader, so whatever I felt at the end of the book makes it into my rating. But there are a few more things I think of when deciding on it:

  • Whether the plot makes sense
  • Whether there are interesting characters and character arcs
  • If the style of writing is appealing
  • Whether the book is worth a second read
  • What other readers say about them

Best Emily Henry Books List

Best Emily Henry Books Reviews

1. Book Lovers – My Favorite

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Synopsis:

Nora is not a storybook heroine – she’s a tough, no-nonsense literary agent. She softens only for her sister, Libby, who talks Nora into a small town holiday, pushing Nora to experience the small-town magic. But Nora keeps running into the brooding editor from the city, Charlie Lastra. Is it a meet-cute if they’ve met before and it has never been cute?

I’d been waiting for this book for a year since it was announced, and I made sure it hit my Kindle Library as soon as it was out. 

I’ll start by saying that this book left a bigass smile on my face. It was the most heartwarming and ‘breaking-into-giggles’ kinda book for a life-long reader, and I enjoyed every minute I spent reading it. 

Nora, our FMC, is tough as nails and didn’t appeal to me in the first pages, but the love she had for her little sister, Libby, won me over. Charlie, our MMC, didn’t appeal to me at all in the first few chapters, but that’s because he’s written from Nora’s POV – and she hates him😅.

We meet our MCs in the big city first and then (after Libby nags Nora to no end) in Sunshine Falls, a charming little town. Nora is first annoyed, and then intrigued to run into Charlie, the rude and uptight (or so she thought) editor, but it turns out Sunshine Falls is his hometown. 

What ensues is some conversations where they hash out past misunderstandings (the banter is to die for), some professional flirting (via emails! So cute!), fluffy feelings, and a dash of spice. Along the way, we see Nora coming to terms with past grief and present life changes, Charlie looking after his family, both of them teaming up to solve a client’s crisis, and making friends with the entirety of Sunshine Falls. It’s like Emily Henry took all the small town tropes and turned them around to create perfection. 

I related to this book so hard. Not to the story or the plot, but to the little bits that make the characters real and lovable, and to random sentences that warmed my reader’s heart. The rickety old bookshops, book scented perfume, references to my favorite books and authors, growing up with books, growing old with them, writing, editing, publishing… Little slices of my life were embedded in a story so charming, that it was the most wonderfully surreal experience to read this book. 

If you’re a passionate reader, you might’ve already read this book, but if you haven’t, this is the sign to read it. I promise you it would be an absolute treat, especially if you’re in a reading slump – pick it up for a pick-me-up!

  • Best for – Fans of Christina Lauren, Ashley Poston, and Ali Hazelwood, fans of small town tropes and books about books
  • Not for – Readers who are sensitive to grief and pregnancy

2. Happy Place

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Synopsis:

Harriet and Wyn are the perfect college sweethearts, engaged to be married – except they aren’t. They broke up a while ago and haven’t even told their closest friends, with whom they now have to spend a week. The friend group’s holiday home, Maine cottage, is up for sale, so they have to say goodbye and Harriet and Wyn can’t bear to break their friends’ hearts even more. They decide to pretend they are still together – lying through their teeth to the people who know them the best can’t be too difficult, can it?

You know how I feel about second chance romances, so when Emily Henry announced Happy Place, I squealed and set myself up for a long wait. Once it came out – you guessed it – I read it in one sitting, skipping two meals and one sleep.

It was absolutely worth the wait! Happy Place had all the wholesome feels of a holiday home, summery vibes, found-family trope, and amid these, we also had the deliciously soul-crushing angst from Harriet and Wyn’s second-chance romance. 

Their break up was a mess – they’ve been together for so long when Wyn broke up with Harriet over a four-minute phone call, leaving Harriet (and us) with a lot of questions. Why was it just a phone call? What led to the break up? Why doesn’t Wyn respond to her at all when she reaches out? Henry answers them, but not as directly as we want her to. 

The book alternates between the present, where the friend group is having a last hurrah before the Maine cottage is sold, and flashbacks to the past, when they all met each other during college days and our two MCs fell for each other. It was heart-wrenching to read about Harriet and Wyn meeting and falling in love, as opposed to now, how they still yearn for each other while guarding their hearts against more pain. 

Happy Place is a lot more introspective than any other book by Emily Henry because second chance romance always needs a lot of ground to establish the first love story, clear the air, and show us how the leads fall in love the second time around, which in this book gave me hair-pulling frustration. Harriet has people pleasing tendencies so she avoids conflict and change and Wyn has always been quiet and insecure, so they spend most of the book not really communicating.

Miscommunication is a part of their break up as well, so if you dislike the trope, here’s my heads up. I don’t like that trope either, but the way Emily Henry handled the narrative was pure perfection, so I can live with that. 

So if you want a summer romance with holiday vibes and some angst thrown in, Happy Place is an awesome choice. The title is deceiving, by the way – there will be tears.

  • Best for – Fans who like second chance romances and books about summer
  • Not for – Readers who are sensitive to depression and death of a parent

3. Beach Read – My First Emily Henry

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Synopsis:

January Andrews is a romance author who no longer believes in love, and Augustus ‘Gus’ Everett is a literary writer stuck in a rut. They are polar opposites and don’t like each other much, but after ending up in neighboring summer homes, they strike a deal to clear out their writer’s block. January will write a literary fiction, Augustus will write a romance with a happily-ever-after, both will complete a book and no one will fall in love. At least, that’s the plan.

Beach Read will always have a special place in my heart because it’s the first Emily Henry book I’ve read (and also because the plot is based on writer’s block, which I entirely empathize with 😅).

January and Gus have been college rivals, and after some ‘she said – he said’ shenanigans back at college, January is convinced Gus has no respect for the romance genre she writes in. She doesn’t care much for the books he writes either because, in her words, ‘he kills off his entire cast.’ 

Both are annoyed to find out they are neighbors for the summer, both nursing writer’s block on their separate projects. Enter the genre swap (which I thought was the cutest thing a pair of bickering writers could do). They agree to swap genres for the summer, with January showing Gus how she finds romance in everyday moments, and him showing her how he conducts research for his literary fiction project. 

Along with a lot of trips downtown, a hike into the wild, some tanning together, and a few feedback sessions, we see Gus and January falling in love. They are both smart, funny, and witty people so the banter is on point. Gus’s ‘I’ve been in love with you whole time’ complements January’s insecurities, and her genuinity cures him of his broody ‘I don’t believe in happily-ever-afters.’ 

I loved the banterful, bickering, and cutesy ride of the two of them falling in love, but in this book, my biggest highlight was how they wrote together. As a writer myself, it was truly a chef’s kiss to see how two different kinds of writers worked together and fell in love along the way.If college rivals-turned-work buddies falling in love is your jam, Beach Read is a fabulous pick for you. January and Gus are a perfect Emily Henry special served with banter and a side of sweetness – you have to indulge.

  • Best for – Fans of Christina Lauren and Ali Hazelwood, fans of contemporary romance
  • Not for –  Readers who prefer a lot of smut 

4. People We Meet on Vacation

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Synopsis:

Poppy and Alex have nothing in common – she’s a wild child and he’s grounded. They became best friends after a wild car ride ages ago, and although adulthood has pulled them in different directions, they meet up for a week-long vacation every year. That is until two years ago, when the unthinkable happened and they never talked after. Fast forward to now, Poppy is miserable, and she knows when she’s last been happy. So she reaches out to Alex for a final trip where she wants to make their friendship work. But will it make their connection or break it beyond repair?

This is the book that made me fall for Emily Henry and for that reason, People We Meet on Vacation and its adorable MCs, Poppy and Alex, will always be special to me. 

They are the unlikeliest of friends – Poppy is outgoing and boisterous, Alex is introverted and funny, but they find ways to make it work. Ever since they left college, they’ve been taking a week-long trip to any place they can think of but two summers ago, everything went wrong and they split apart – I’m not sharing why because it’s a spoiler!

Poppy desperately wants to try and be friends with Alex again, and miraculously, he agrees to go on one trip. I first thought Alex was too aloof and brusque but I changed my mind when I realized where his demeanor comes from. The guy is in love with Poppy and he’s afraid she doesn’t want him the same way he wants her. 

Poppy is a bit oblivious, yes, but she’s adorable and puts in so much effort to make their trip work – because she’s in love with him too. So these two very cute dumbasses go on a life-defining trip, and after a delicious one bed trope and a confession-in-rain later, they finally get together. 

I’m still in awe of how Emily Henry managed to write this book so beautifully because it was utterly fairy-tale-like and heartbreakingly real at the same time. I gotta say, taking the much popular friends-to-lovers trope to write an original story that’s not at all formulaic is nothing short of magic. 

Check this book out if you want all the feels of falling in love slowly and inevitably, accompanied with a lot of nostalgia for your own friendships and summer trips.

  • Best for – Fans of friends-to-lovers and one-bed trope
  • Not for – Readers who prefer a quick burn

5. The Love That Split the World – Emily Henry’s Debut

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Synopsis:

High school senior Natalie can’t wait to leave her small town, but as she gets ready to say goodbye, she starts seeing the ‘wrong things’. Is she seeing visions like she used to back when she was a kid? ‘Grandmother’, the apparition she saw years ago, tells Natalie she has three months to save him, but save whom? From what? Natalie must find answers from the stories Grandmother told her and within herself to save the future of a boy she doesn’t know yet.

At first, I wasn’t super tempted to read Emily Henry’s YAs; I’ve been spoiled by her amazing contemporary romances and couldn’t figure how her early work could live up to her current authorship. But one day I decided to pick up her debut, The Love That Split the World, and immediately regretted not reading it sooner. 

This story is so different from what I’ve known as Henry’s work. The genre is YA with romance as a big part of the plot, but in The Love That Split the World, we have supernatural, magic realism, and even thriller elements which worked so well together that I was awestruck by how they all blended without a hiccup. But blend they did, because Natalie and Beau’s story is just as beautiful as any other work by Emily Henry. 

Natalie, our FMC, has a native American heritage that shines through the stories she hears and shares across the book. Adopted into a small town Kentucky family, she struggles with her identity and Grandmother’s stories help her understand her true self. 

Mostly though, the stories and Natalie’s deep-buried memories are the key to discovering who needs to be saved and how. While she’s frantically grasping at anything to figure out who’s in danger, she runs into Beau, our MMC, who seems real and unreal at the same time and lives in a replica of her town with subtle differences. This adds to the mystery because they both have to figure out if they are time traveling, crossing a parallel world, or merely seeing things.

If that throws you in for a loop, don’t worry, because Henry writes so elegantly that everything is cohesive and easy to follow. It was slow to start but once the book picked up pace, steady friendships, loving family relationships, and cute banter took the stage and worked their magic.

If you are in the mood for a slow, magical read, this YA book can do wonders. You only need to pick up the book and give it time to build up the pace – it will snatch you right into the imaginative world that Emily Henry built.

  • Best for – Fans of young adult thriller, supernatural, and magic realism genres
  • Not for – Fans who are looking for romance only, and readers who don’t like insta-love

6. A Million Junes

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Synopsis:

Many generations of O’Donnells have advised June to not go anywhere near the Angert family. But when she literally bumps into Saul Angert, there’s no animosity in his eyes. They quickly find themselves drawn to each other despite the deep hatred and the century-old rift between the two families. Can June and Saul break the harrowing curse that plague their families or will their connection cause the ruin of them all?

I loved Emily Henry’s first young adult book, and it seemed natural to pick up the second because it was yet another YA that looked like it fits on all young adult, fantasy, and thriller shelves in the bookstore. 

A Million Junes is best described as a modern Romeo and Juliet-esque story with a paranormal setting, but thankfully, June and Saul (our FMC and MMC) are a few years older and actually communicate. Side note: this book has some cutesy and angsty email flirting that reminded me of Nora and Charlie’s banter in Book Lovers – makes sense, considering it’s the same author 😅.

There’s always been myth and magic surrounding the O’Donnells and Angerts, not limited to their century-old rift. June, for example, has been able to see ghosts since she was a child and now she can visit memories of other people through ‘Whites’ – the snowflake/dandelion-like things that float around her house.

Watching past memories with Saul, she finds out that some things may not be what she believed them to be, not even her father who passed away a decade ago. Shaken by what they see, June and Saul try to get to the root of the animosity between their families and discover a painful truth. They have to figure out how to break the generational curse or let each other go, so the story moves with gun-clenching anticipation for what happens next.

So when Emily Henry said young adult, she didn’t mean the lighthearted kind. This book is heavy with grief, moving on from grief, unlearning the past, and navigating the trials of growing up amid it all. That said, Henry doesn’t make it difficult for us to read it. Her writing is as witty, intriguing, and atmospheric as ever, and the purity of June and Saul’s story make up for the emotionally rough bits in the book. 

Pick up this book for a slow, immersive read when you want to sink into a world full of magic and ghosts where memories float in the air.

  • Best for – Fans of YA paranormal and fantasy genres
  • Not for – Readers who don’t like slow pacing

7. When the Sky Fell on Splendor

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Synopsis:

Splendor, Ohio will never be the same — the town’s steel mill exploded, taking the lives of many. Every family lost someone, either to the accident or the grief that followed. Five years later, Franny, whose brother lies in coma, tries to find solace in a group of friends whose experiences mirror her own. The group explores an abandoned house, and they see a sudden, strange light that blinds them and wipes a few hours of their memory. The same event gives them strange powers which they use to investigate the light. But when the tragedy of the steel mill seems connected, should they stop or choose to face the past they wanted to bury?

Let me preface this by saying I’m not a sci-fi girl and the only reason I picked up this book was the fact that it was written by Emily Henry – and I did tell you I’d even read a grocery list by the woman. Emily Henry has gone on record saying this is her favorite book she’s written and I simply had to know why. 

Right off the bat, I found that this novel is a heavy hitter; it’s a breathtaking narrative about grief, community, family you are born into, and the family you find. As I learned from Beach Read, Emily Henry excels in writing books about grief and how it affects you. This is a really touching story and Franny was a very relatable protagonist to follow. Her writing is also so elegant and moving that I was constantly stopping in the middle of reading to highlight and tab a page or paragraph. 

All that said though, the pacing was atrocious. I picked this up for a quick read but it took me almost a whole week to work through it, mostly because nothing really happens until you cross the halfway point. I’m also not a big science/math fan so my eyes glazed over the sections on black holes, Fibonacci sequence, and space/time conundrums. 

That said, if you are someone who enjoys genre mashups and intelligent books about found family, you’d love When the Sky Fell on Splendor. It is a truly unique YA novel and I can really understand why this is the author’s favorite book.

  • Best for – Fans of books about science, friendship, and grief
  • Not for – Fans of YA romance

8. Hello Girls

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Synopsis:

Winona and Lucille become friends because of their families. They come from vastly different backgrounds, but Winona lives with an abusive father and Lucille is crumbling under the weight of her family. Having finally had enough, they decide to take life into their own hands, so this is how it goes: Find three grand and then steal a vehicle to take them to Las Vegas in an epic romp of a road trip.

This book was unlike anything Emily Henry had written, so I didn’t know what to expect when I went into the book. So when a road trip of two best friends hit me with mature themes tackling misogyny, feminism, substance abuse, physical abuse in a story packed with dark humor and poignant friendship, I was surprised, to say the least.

We find out from the onset that this is a heavy book: Winona’s father is abusive and Lucille’s family is a (criminal) dead weight on her shoulders, so when we meet the two girls, they are tired, disillusioned, and eager to escape. 

They escape in a stolen vehicle, driving to Las Vegas to find Winona’s mom, and true to the road trip trope, the action happens along their way. The two girls get into hijinks and disasters, all the while getting ever closer and helping each other get through their trauma. 

It’s not an easy book to read but we have some signature Emily Henry dialogues that take us along the rough edges. In fact, I wish the dark humor was more frequent because it would have been an awesome plot device to tackle what Winona and Lucille were going through in an easy-to-read but not overly sensational way. 

This is a book about growing up and friendship, and although there’s some hints of Lucille crushing on Winona, it’s not fully fleshed out. This book might not be for everyone, but if friendship, a lightly illegal roadtrip, and coming-of-age sounds like your thing, I definitely recommend Hello Girls.

  • Best for – Fans of dark humor, coming-of-age trope, and mature themes
  • Not for – Readers looking for a romcom

You made it to the end! Now you know which author I’d be lining up to read whenever she publishes (soon!🤞), and if you choose to give her a try, I’m sure you’ll end up falling for her writing as well. If you want an immersive, comforting read to sink into with laugh-out-loud dialogues and lovable characters, you can’t go wrong with an Emily Henry book. Pick one from my list today!

All Emily Henry Books by Order of Publication

There isn’t a particular reading order for her book because all of them are standalones, but here’s the list of Emily Henry books by the order of publication.

  1. No products found. (January, 2016) – YA fantasy
  2. No products found. (May, 2017) – YA fantasy
  3. No products found. (March, 2019) – YA fantasy sci-fi thriller
  4. No products found. co-written with Brittany Cavallaro (August, 2019) – YA contemporary
  5. No products found. (May, 2020) – Adult contemporary romance
  6. No products found. (May, 2021)  – Adult contemporary romance
  7. No products found. (May, 2022)  – Adult contemporary romance
  8. No products found. (May, 2022) (April, 2023) – Adult contemporary romance
  9. No products found. (Expected – April, 2024) – Adult contemporary romance

While her romances are almost always set in a bookish context like publishing, writing, libraries and the like with relatable characters, her YA thrillers have paranormal and supernatural elements. Interestingly enough though, the YAs have a running motif about sharing stories. I think that’s probably why a lot of readers (including myself) find her books comforting to read and easy to relate to. 

Whether it’s a YA you’re in the mood for or a contemporary romance, Emily Henry delivers. She builds characters with such expertise you’d think you know them IRL, and the stories she weaves together are so real that they sit close to your heart long after you’ve read them.

What to Read Next

If you’ve read Emily Henry’s contemporary romances, you have to read the Layover. It’s an extended epilogue about January and Gus from No products found. and to my utter delight, they keep running into our favorite couples from No products found. and No products found.

If you’d like to read more contemporary romances, you might want to check out Tessa Bailey. She’s another witty writer who makes cute (and hot) couples out of everyday characters and treats us to a lot of spice. Check out my list of best Tessa Bailey books!

FAQs

1. What Emily Henry book is the best?

No products found.,’ ‘No products found.,’ and ‘No products found.’ are my top three Emily Henry books. They’re all different from each other but explore difficult themes in-depth while giving us a magical romance to dream about.

2. What is Emily Henry’s best selling book?

Emily Henry has quite a few New York Times and Sunday Times bestsellers, but among them, ‘No products found.’ and ‘No products found.’ are the best of the best.

3. Is ‘Book Lovers’ or ‘Happy Place’ better?

This is a tough one as both of them are absolutely amazing reads, but for me, ‘No products found.’ takes the #1 spot.

4. Is ‘Book Lovers’ or ‘Beach Read’ better?

Again, it’s tough to select the better book because it’s a matter of personal taste. For me, it’s ‘No products found..’

5. What age is ‘Beach Read’ appropriate for?

It’s appropriate for readers who are 17 years and older. While it’s not the spiciest book out there, there’s some pretty steamy scenes and mature themes in the book.

6. Is ‘Happy Place’ by Emily Henry spicy?

No products found.’ is a second-chance romance with evocative dirty talk and some spice.

7. Why is Emily Henry so popular?

Emily Henry’s stories are so popular because she offers a modern twist on classic romantic tropes, quirky, lovable characters, and settings like small towns and holiday homes that create a perfect world to escape into.

8. What age is ‘Book Lovers’ by Emily Henry for?

No products found.’ has some graphic content, smutty scenes, and deals with older characters with mature issues. I’d recommend this to readers who are 16 years and older for a thought-provoking read.

9. What is Emily Henry’s next book?

No products found.,’ a tale of two roommates who entangle themselves in some fake dating, is due to be released in April 2024! Pre-orders are now out for the book.

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