Traveling Sisters Book Reviews

Traveling together through books. Join us on our adventures through the books we read

Discussion Post for People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

August 9, 2021


Welcome Friends! Norma and I put together a bookish kit for People We Meet on Vacation and add some thought-provoking questions inspired by an interview with the author along with some fun questions I have added. If you haven’t read this one yet we highly recommend packing your bags with some bookish fun, travel with Poppy and Alex to the places they vacation on, then travel on back here and see what we have to say or join on in the discussion. If you like to join the discussion please add your answers to the comments. We love to see what you think!!!

Please Note: We will try to keep the spoiler free for any major spoilers, however if you haven’t read the book it is best to read before reading any further in this post. some things might tip you off on something and spoil some things for you.

We have been closed off from traveling for quite some time now!!  Do you have any plans or hope to travel ?

Brenda

I would love to do some traveling again and have been thinking of some places I would like to go but no plans. 

Norma

No, we don’t have any plans except for camping.  We do hope once the border opens to go for a road trip to Montana that is one of our favourite things to do.

Do you have a friend you would like to take a vacation with?  No family members please!

Brenda

I can’t pick Norma because she is my sister, Lindsay is my reading sister and I would love to take a vacation with her.

Norma

Haha I guess I can’t pick Brenda either.  The introvert in me finds it really hard to travel with others outside my family.  Even though I’d love to travel with friends it isn’t really the most comfortable thing for me to do.

The story starts with well-used tropes; opposites attract, and when Poppy and Alex meet, she hopes she doesn’t see him again. Poppy then starts to see Alex differently as she gets to know him, and they begin to grow as friends. She refers to him as “naked Alex.” Do you think by the end of the story, after all the layers are pulled back, they are so different from each other and what they wanted out of life?

Brenda

I think Poppy thought she wanted that dream life, but once she did, she started to like the simpler, deeper things like “Naked Alex” did. I believe Alex opened her eyes to what she was running from and what she wanted from life. So I think Poppy grew as a person and found out what she wanted in life, and it was a simpler life, and what they wanted was each other.

Norma

I don’t think Poppy and Alex were all that different from each other.  I think Poppy was hiding from what she truly wanted and through Alex she was able to see that her carefree/traveling life wasn’t really what she wanted.  It was actually a stable and lifelong relationship with Alex that she yearned for.

Who did you most relate to, Poppy or Alex? 

Brenda 

I think I related to both of them.  Each had something relatable to them and then in the end it felt like those things came together as one person that I relate too. 

Norma

Alex for sure!  I am definitely more reserved than outgoing.

At first, we know they are experiencing a “friendship breakup,” and there is some suspense about what caused the rift between them. Do you think that was enough to drive the story forward? Would you say the friendship breakup and trying to repair that friendship was the heart of the story or something else?  Please no spoilers as to what the rift was.

Brenda

I am interested in seeing what others think about this question. I don’t think this was the strongest part of the story, and I didn’t feel the suspense I wanted to feel, and it felt predictable. I was looking for something more as to what caused the “friendship breakup.” Because they only saw each other once a year on vacation, I questioned how well they knew each other, and I was hoping that tied into what caused the rift. I didn’t feel like they were repairing their friendship but more like they were reconnecting again. Their chemistry as friends and the connection between them was the heart of the story for me. Wanting to see how their friendship evolved was what drove the story forward for me.

Norma

I agree with Brenda on this one.  The only thing I’d like to add is that I didn’t really like the two year quiet period between these two and didn’t think the rift was enough to warrant total silence. 

Have you been to any of the places Poppy and Alex vacationed?  What of their vacations did you like best?  Would you like to go to any? 

Brenda

Canada “speaks to me” (I live there) LOL. I have been to Victoria and Tofino, and that was my favorite vacation they went on. I thought it shaped and started that great banter and dynamics I enjoyed between them. I did think the people they met there were a bit stereotypical, though. I loved that they spent some time in Chapters bookstore. I have also been to San Francisco. I have made a few wine tasting trips to wine country and loved it.

Norma

I have also been to Victoria and Tofino (not with Brenda though LOL) and the familiarity definitely made it my favourite vacation of theirs.  Like Brenda said the mention of Chapters was a highlight!  Loved that!

Alex and Poppy find the things they enjoyed the most on their Vacation are the things they didn’t plan or the things that went wrong, sending them on a new path and connecting with people they met. As we see their history and friendship evolve across the vacations they shared, do you think the paths they found themselves on helped Poppy see she wanted something different for herself, and that brought them closer together as a couple in the end?

Brenda

That was my favorite thing about their vacations. I think it helped Poppy see that the “dream life” was not the things she enjoyed, and she liked the simpler, quieter things. I think it helped Poppy see all she wanted was to do something with Alex, and the best part was being together.

Norma

Most definitely! I think Alex was the main attraction in all of their vacations together and vice versa. It was something to look forward to yearly and that path was always open until it wasn’t anymore with the two year break. I think they both got scared too and didn’t realize that they were both falling for one another. I think her eyes really opened up and realized that something was missing from her life. And that was Alex but her mind and heart had to feel it simultaneously in order to accept and really allow herself to have the life she really wanted even though it wasn’t necessarily the one she had chosen for herself. I think we always go home!

Do you like meeting people on vacation or prefer to spend time with who you are traveling with or alone reading?

Brenda

I think meeting people would be a fun thing to do and make a vacation more interesting, however, I am introverted and do prefer to keep to who I am traveling with and, of course, spend some time alone reading. I often think about just laughing around the beach and pool by myself reading, but I do like to have someone with me.

Norma

I’d prefer to spend time with who I’m vacationing with rather than meeting new people. I always bring books with me but sometimes I don’t get much reading time in. It’s more family time…..or people watching. LOL

Are you a planner or go with the flow vacationer?

Brenda

I am a planner right to timing. I have what we are doing, where we are eating, and downtime planned. I would like to take a relaxing unplanned trip with what we are doing, but I have to plan where we eat. Being busy all the time, as Alex said “ Won’t leave a lot of time for reading.”

Norma

The only thing I plan is the date, hotel, and destination. The rest I’m going with the flow.

We start to see a personal growth dimension to the story here with Poppy untangling her identity, her high school past, wanting to escape and never return home and finding career meaning, purpose, and how that factors into what she wants out of life.  Emily Henry gives Poppy her “dream life,” but about halfway, Poppy starts questioning if she wants the same things as she once wanted. Do you think from the personal growth dimension, their friendship evolved by seeing and learning what they went through as individuals, and they will make it, or do you think they “were meant to be?”  

Brenda

I didn’t see much of a personal growth dimension with Alex. It was mainly with Poppy, but I think Alex helped Poppy grow, and they evolved together as a couple as Poppy started to see what she wanted out of life. Poppy’s dislike for her hometown was one of the biggest roadblocks, and I think she began to see things differently through Alex. I am not sure if what Poppy was going through helped Alex to evolve as a person. He seemed to have reached what he wanted out of life well before Poppy. I have my doubts if they will make it because I wasn’t all that convinced that Alex evolved enough with the things Poppy wanted or made any changes for Poppy. Maybe in a small way, I think they are meant to be, and because of that, they will make it. I am interested to see what you all think about Alex’s growth dimension.

Norma

I think that Alex pretty much knew what he wanted from life so we didn’t necessarily see a personal growth dimension from him.  His growth dimension we knew what it was right from the very start and I’d say that was Poppy and that they were meant to be.  I think Poppy had to grow into Alex and Alex was already there. 

One of the hardest things to keep fresh in a rom-com is the banter and dialogue between the characters, which can often get tiring. In the interview I read with Emily Henry, Poppy and Alex’s love was described as a “quiet yet strong love.” What do you think that meant, and would you describe it like that or a different way and why?  

Brenda

I think that is a perfect way to describe their love. The dynamics between them felt natural and not like they were trying to be funny. They just were! LOL, We could see how their love grew over the time they enjoyed together, and nothing felt like it was forced on us.

Norma

Poppy and Alex had so much fun together!  Poppy was always teasing him.  I loved their banter.  Poppy brought out the fun in Alex and they had that fun together.

A few standard tropes are used in rom-coms, opposites attract, best friends to lovers, secretly in love with each other. Emily Henry adds a more modern one: friendship breakups. Do you think she kept those tropes fresh and exciting and why?  

Brenda

Yes I thought she did. Just by their friendship growing over the vacations they took together added something fresh to them.

Norma

Yes, this was a most refreshing rom-com!  Even though we know that there is going to be a happily ever after in the end it was so much fun getting there.  I liked that the grand gesture was Poppy.  In my eyes she’s the one that really needed to see that Alex is the life that she wanted.

Rom-coms have traditional, standard elements, usually ending with the grand gesture and confession of love. One of them is the golden age standard “chasing you at the airport scene,” and Emily Henry takes that and adds something different here with that? Did you find that made Poppy and Alex more relatable? What did you think of Poppy’s grand gesture in the end? 

Brenda

Yes, I loved seeing something different here. Poppy’s grand gesture was not what I was expecting at all and it felt genuine over the golden age standard. I thought that made them more relatable.

Norma

Loved it!

The title in the UK is You and Me on Vacation. Which title do you think fits the book best and why?  Were there any people they met that stood out for you?  From the two titles what takeaway did you get from it? 

Brenda

I like the title You and Me on Vacation because I thought the main takeaway from their vacations was the best part is being together.

Norma

I like the title You and Me on Vacation a little bit more because I see it more as that than the people they met on vacation.  I think it was more about them.  

What was the biggest takeaway from the story for you? 

Brenda

The biggest takeaway for me is that what we think we want in life is not what we want, and it’s ok to question and challenge that. To challenge what we show the outside world is what we really want, and maybe what we want has always been right in front of us.

Norma

I think the biggest takeaway for me was that sometimes life shows us what we really need and want and to realize that it has been with us all along.  

You can find the list to the interview with Emily Henry here

Thank you so much for joining us and reading our answers to the question. Please join in and answer any questions you like in the comment section. We love to see them!!

2 thoughts on “Discussion Post for People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

  1. BookishGal says:

    I simply adore both of your answers to these questions.. Makes me feel like I’m right there with you. Sending virtual hugs sisters.

    Like

    1. Brenda~Traveling Sister says:

      Thank you, Susanne!! That’s so nice to see!! Sending you back hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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