Funny Story by Emily Henry

’Tis the season … oh, no, not that season … the season for the release of bestselling author Emily Henry’s latest book.

It definitely feels like a celebratory season to anyone who has counted down since the last one came out in spring 2023. And it would seem that I am not alone in my excitement because Henry’s latest offering, “Funny Story,” was named one of the most anticipated books of 2024 by Time magazine before its release April 23. The real question is, was it worth the wait?

Let me give you some details about the book first, and then I will share some thoughts.

The book’s main character, Daphne Vincent, loves a good story. She especially loves how her fiance, Peter, would tell the story of how they met — in a park on a windy day, with Daphne trying to retrieve her hat and eventually getting some assistance from Peter. Though unbeknownst to lovestruck Daphne, their breakup on the night of Peter’s bachelor party, when he dumps Daphne for childhood best friend Petra, will prove an even more interesting story than their first meeting.

After the breakup, Daphne is not sure what to do. She has moved to Michigan from South Carolina for Peter. She has a new job as a children’s librarian, and her co-workers think she must be in the witness protection program or working for the FBI because she is so hush-hush about herself. Her friend group consists only of people who are also friends with Peter. She feels sad, overwhelmed and alone. With no other place to go, Daphne accepts an invitation from Miles, Petra’s ex-boyfriend, to move into the apartment that he and Petra used to share.

Miles is the opposite of Daphne’s organized, introverted, neat personality. His fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants adventurous personality allows him much adventure, and he has the ability to charm complete strangers, though his breakup with Petra has really shook him. After moving in, Daphne observes him mostly spending a lot of time in his room watching sad movies and listening to loud, depressing music.

Despite living in the same apartment, the two avoid each other for several weeks, but a chance encounter and a fun night out leaves their exes thinking the two are more than just roommates. From this misleading event, the two form a precarious friendship, with Miles offering to help Daphne get out of the house and see more of what their small town in Michigan has to offer. She has been so focused on counting down to the end-of-summer readathon fundraising event that she is in charge of that she has forgotten to see where she is and enjoy her time in a new place. It is thanks to Miles that she begins to explore and appreciate Michigan.

In this new chapter of Daphne’s life, the two become close, but several misunderstandings involving their exes, as well as Daphne’s mostly absent father, who springs a surprise visit on her, get in the way of their happiness. Ultimately, Daphne has to decide what is most important to her and whether she will leave Michigan once the library’s readathon is over.

Yes, yes, yes — this book was worth the wait. The characters are well drawn and relatable. Of course, I especially love that Henry made Daphne a librarian and that the whole book is about a story or, rather, multiple stories that converge to make a wonderful read. It is clever, and while nothing is too surprising, everything fits and makes the book compelling and easy to read. My perfect beach read. Now to start my new countdown — only 330 days, or something close to that, until Henry’s new book gets released.

Review written by: Jeana Gockley, Joplin Public Library Director

Find the book in the catalog.