Goodreads Choice Awards 2021: Best Romance Novel


Emily Dvareckas/The Hawks' Herald

Emily Henry’s “People We Meet on Vacation” is Goodreads’ best romance novel of 2021.

Soraya Bettencourt, Herald Reporter

As Valentine’s Day approaches, chocolate hearts and flowers are appearing on store shelves along with old and new romance content alike. Whether you wish this holiday did not exist or you absolutely love it, there is no denying that book lovers will see this as the perfect opportunity to get lost in a romance novel. If you are looking for that perfect romance read this Valentine’s Day, Goodreads has found it.

Goodreads, by popular vote, has determined the best romance novel of 2021 from several nominations. In third place, with 54,845 votes, is “One Last Stop” by Casey McQuiston and in second place is “The Love Hypothesis” by Ali Hazelwood with 88,192 votes. This is a close second to Goodreads’ big Best Romance Novel of 2021 winner: “The People We Meet on Vacation”, written by Emily Henry.

“The People We Meet on Vacation” is about two best friends, Poppy and Alex, who took summer vacations together since meeting in their freshman year of college until one tumultuous trip abruptly ended it all. Two years later, the characters reunite for a vacation to mend their friendship.

The book takes readers through various locations and years of travel while perfectly setting the scene and subtly hinting at the Croatia trip that ended Poppy and Alex’s friendship years before. The two characters complement each other in an “opposites attract” sort of way that makes readers root for their friendship. Their witty banter and comical interactions with each other as well as the people they meet through their journey leave readers laughing along with them.

Poppy is unhappy with where her life is heading and left without closure on her feelings for Alex. While Poppy is outgoing and wild, Alex is quiet and reserved. Author Alice Henry perfectly catalogs the development of their friendship as the two discover unexplored feelings for one another. The cliche of friends-to-lovers has certainly been done before, but Henry’s writing makes the arc feel new and refreshing. It is no wonder fans call this novel a must-read. With the recent weather on campus, it would be nice to escape to a few summer vacations through this novel.

Henry has another hit novel titled “Beach Read” and fans are looking forward to her new release, “Book Lovers”, coming this spring. If romance is not your thing and you would rather forget Valentine’s Day altogether, I suggest taking a look at the other winners of various categories on the Goodreads website. It will give you an opportunity to forget the romance and immerse yourself in all different types of genres, from fantasy to nonfiction, at the recommendation of fellow readers and their votes on the best novels of 2021.