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  • Writer's pictureGrace Hamilton

Book review: Why 'Funny Story' is my Emily Henry favourite

It takes a certain type of author to write and produce back-to-back best sellers. Not the kind of 'best seller' that was a hit with some and elected to adopt the term, but a real crowd favourite. Emily Henry is that writer, and 'Funny Story' is just another tick of the box - in my opinion, her best so far.


WHAT IS 'FUNNY STORY?'

Think: the classic plotline of opposites attract combined with the zestiness of a 'they were roomates???' moment. Henry's fifth romance fiction, 'Funny Story' came out in stores April 2024. I was fortunate to get my hands on a copy and indulge for five days straight in and amongst my actual life (the boring stuff). It's witty, ignites the classic rom-com feel as you read, and is the perfect balance for anyone just getting into the real juicy part of romance novels (I mean low-level SMUT people). As someone who's recently flipped from crime-fic fanatic to rom-com queen, I found it extra spicy compared to Henry's first three novels - Beach Read, You and Me On Vacation and Book Lovers. Bonus points to myself for reading in public spaces (plane and bus) just to incite extra sneakiness when turning the page to a spicy scene.


WHO, WHAT, WHERE & WHEN?!

I may have missed a reference to the exact year, but 'Funny Story' is set in modern day - quite possibly 2024. Each chapter gives you a date and month to go off (Tuesday, August 6 for example).


Funny Story, Emily Henry
Funny Story, Emily Henry

Trust me, follow this or you'll feel it gets rushed. Almost all of the story - bar some scenes - is set in the fictional Waning Bay, Michigan. Apparently this Waning Bay is beautiful - though Daphne Vincent finds herself rather stranded following a failed engagement, constantly counting down the days until she can pack up and set home. Yes, Daphne Vincent is the main character - closely followed by Miles Nowak (the ex-fiancees's new partner's ex-boyfriend... and now roomate). I know, complicated. That's probably why the spiciness fits so well. It feels shocking.

Note: I've just checked the 2024 calendar and August 6 does in fact land on a Tuesday.





THE BEST:

  1. I was feeling heated early - chapter 2 to be exact. I don't want to spoil anything, but boy did I want to throw almonds at Petra's Jeep. It was a recount of Daphne's break-up with Peter, and as someone who's never experienced a break-up to that extent, I felt as though I was part of it. So well written - not to sound rushed, childlike or unbelievable - but still incite a 'what the f*ck' in my mind.

  2. The first kiss. Nope, I won't tell you when. But the scene, the moment, the circumstances? Brilliant way of keeping it light while forshadowing what was to come. Bonus points because the playfulness of it all had me giggling at 10pm mid-plane flight.

  3. Page 266. There's a moment where Daphne and her father clash on a memory. Given the background readers have on their relationship at this stage, it's very emotional. One remembers it so clearly - treasures it - while the other doesn't hold any memory at all. An entire special day for one person forgotten by the other. There's immense guilt on that character's behalf, and I couldn't help but adopt that guilt as a reader - despite having no experience of it in real life. Something that takes up less than a page ends up having such a strong impact on two characters.

  4. The super spiciness starts: page 290.

  5. The friendship break-up on chapter 30 is so relatable. Not just to me - but for practically any reader. Being told from Daphne's perspective - given she's arguably the one in the wrong - adds a layer of complexity where it feels unforced into the storyline.

  6. The saddest chapter: 32.

  7. The very first scene and the very last scene tie perfectly together - with each other and into the title. You need to be a super conscious reader to fully grasp how well it connects (it's quite simple in fact), but promise me you'll hold onto the first scene all the way through.


THE NOT BEST:

I would have liked even a little bit more spiciness before shit hit the fan between certain characters, but I know that's not everyone's taste. And really, the plot doesn't lose anything without the extra scenes, so I'll deal. I also found some of Daphne's flashbacks/ reflections to her parents overdone. Not in the sense they were useless, but rather sometimes repetitive. By the last couple I already knew what would come next: Dad would disapear then show up with toys as a meaningless sorry, young Daphne would feel abonded, Mum would come to the rescue as a hero. But again, it doesn't do any damage to the story.


Funny Story, Emily Henry

WHO WOULD LOVE IT?

In terms of Emily Henry reference...

If you enjoyed 'Book Lovers' and 'Beach Read' - this is your thing.

If you found 'Happy Place' slower than anticipated - this is your thing.

In terms of other romance authors...

If you found Colleen Hoover's 'Verity' too dark - this is your thing.

And if you found Hannah Grace's 'Ice Breaker' and 'Wildfire' too teenlike - this is your thing.


WHERE TO FIND 'FUNNY STORY:'

Note I am based in Australia, so sellers/ price may differ internationally. I got my copy directly from the publishers, but it's avaliable practically anywhere you'd usually purchase books from: Kmart, Big W, Booktopia, Amazon, Target and Dymocks just to name a few. The paperback copy goes for AUD$18 in most places - though I've seen it priced as high as AUD$51.95 from Booktopia (hard cover).


If you do grab a copy, let me know what you thought and feel free to to challenege me on anything. I aready have a pile of books lined up ready to read next, but I'll never say no to another rec!




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