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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

With incredibly witty banter and a notable storyline, Funny Story continues Emily Henry’s long line of spectacular romance novels

The cover for Emily Henry’s latest book.

When I arrived in Ada directly after school on April 23, I nearly leaped out of my car to run to Plumfield Books, where a special new release awaited me.

Romance author Emily Henry began to receive recognition in 2020 after releasing her first romance-centered novel, Beach Read. The book immediately became a sensation on social media platforms, especially BookTok, helping to propel Henry’s career to massive success. Her popularity continued to grow, as she has released a new novel every year since then. I first read her sophomore book, People We Meet on Vacation, in 2022 after seeing her books everywhere on shelves at bookstores. After finishing the witty novel, I knew I had found a new favorite author. 

Therefore, I cannot explain how excited I was when her fifth novel, Funny Story, was announced to be released in April 2024. Ever since she released Book Lovers in late 2022, I have always made a perfect afternoon out of reading her books in one sitting, and this book was no exception. 

Funny Story presents the most intricate plot among Henry’s works. The story revolves around Daphne, a 33-year-old woman engaged to Peter, her apparent soulmate. They’ve done everything together, from a perfect meet-cute to moving into a Victorian-style lake house in Waning Bay, Michigan. However, their idyllic life is shattered when Peter realizes he’s still in love with his childhood best friend, Petra. Daphne is then forced to live with Petra’s ex-fiance, Miles, in a deteriorating apartment. 

As expected, they land upon a particular predicament where they form a tentative plan to get revenge on their exes in the most cheesy way possible—fake dating. As an avid romance reader, I’ve seen this trope far too many times, and honestly, I’ve gotten somewhat tired of seeing this repetition. However, Henry incorporated the factor of Daphne and Miles’s family life, adding an interesting twist, so I was compelled to continue reading. 

From the start, Daphne is portrayed as a reserved—or, as Miles says, buttoned-up—woman. Her past trauma with her father’s detached lifestyle makes it hard for her to form relationships. She yearns for stability, for someone she can lean on. Miles, too, has his share of family issues, with a spontaneous sister and a challenging mother. As they spend more time together, their shared struggles and unique traits bring them closer. The use of shared trauma as a bonding element resonated with me, adding depth to the characters and the story.

When I read a romance novel or watch a romantic movie, the first thing I hope for is to find myself laughing out loud or having some physical, positive reaction, and that is precisely what I found myself doing as I read this.

Even so, what truly captivated me about this book was the meticulous attention to detail. Henry’s storytelling is a masterclass in weaving beautiful prose into Daphne’s perspective. Even without a single chapter from Miles’s viewpoint, I could empathize with both characters equally, feeling their emotions as if they were my own, especially toward the conclusion. 

However, as the book progressed, Daphne and Miles’ traits got superimposed due to the romance, and although I don’t usually mind this switch in rom-coms, I felt that the romance became too “fluffy” at times. What’s different about Henry’s books than most romances is the main element of literary fiction, where each character has a sense of individuality that sets them apart from the romance, so there’s a healthy balance of both. Her signature writing style was lost in Funny Story, but I still adored Daphne and Miles’s love for each other. 

Additionally, I also loved the use of banter and humor that rom-coms are known for. When I read a romance novel or watch a romantic movie, the first thing I hope for is to find myself laughing out loud or having some physical, positive reaction, and that is precisely what I found myself doing as I read this. Every few pages, there was an element of humor that was so expertly written that I couldn’t help but laugh. The humor was realistic and grounded but still so effortless. I would expect nothing less from one of the best authors in the world right now.

When picking up the $30 book, I was fully expecting something familiar that would help lead me out of the reading slump I was facing at the time. I wanted a heartfelt, kind romance that Emily Henry is known to deliver. Although Funny Story didn’t surpass all of my expectations that come with a romance, it still gave me a wonderful reading experience that brightened my week considerably. What’s more, People We Meet on Vacation and Beach Read are currently set to be adapted into films, along with her next novel. Until then, I will wait with anticipation until I am once more engrossed in a world of summer romance written by Emily Henry.

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About the Contributor
Maylee Ohlman
Maylee Ohlman, Staff Writer
Maylee Ohlman is a sophomore going on to her first year on The Central Trend.  She spontaneously decided to join Writing for Publication this year and is now excited to keep writing for the rest of her time in high school. She dances on the FHCVDT in the winter. In her free time, she loves to read, swim at the beach, and try new bubble tea spots across Michigan. Maylee loves to feel like a tourist anywhere she goes and aspires to travel as much as she can in her lifetime. Besides reading and traveling, she's always loved movies and good food, and hopes to eventually combine her passions into a journalism career. Favorite book: I Hope This Doesn't Find You by Ann Liang Favorite TV show: The Last of Us Current favorite song: No One Knows by Stephen Sanchez and Laufey Go-to bubble tea order: A peach milk tea with lychee jelly and tapioca pearls

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