Cover of Funny Story, an illustration of a white, dark-haired woman and man toasting at a bar against a blue background

About the Book

Title: Funny Story
Published: 2024
Swoonworthy Scale: 7

First Impressions: Whiney Babies
Meet Cute: Make It a Double, Bartender
The Lean: Like That Sweet Burn of Booze
Dirty Talk: Shirley Temple
We Need to Talk: Where Everybody Knows Your Name
Was It Good For You: Pleased As (Spiked) Punch

First Impressions: Whiney Babies

Okay, hear me out. In Funny Story, the main character (Daphne) and her mom played a game called Whiney Babies when Daphne was a kid. The goal is to go back and forth with complaints getting more and more petty until the person with the most ridiculous, inane complaint wins.

So! It’s not like this cover is bad; it’s exactly in line with the previous artwork for Emily Henry’s books. But like, would it kill the publisher to change it up a little? Yes, the illustration is super accurate, down to Miles’ Crocs (bless), but this is same old same old. I don’t know what would be better, I’m just complaining that it could be better. And that’s how you win Whiney Babies.

(I do hear all of you freaking out about how, if they change the design, you have to order all new editions, but y’all, we’re already there.)

What’s Your Type?

  • Fake Dating
  • Small Town Romance
  • Librarians
  • Bearded Bartenders

Dating Profile:

Having spent her adolescence constantly moving around with her mom, Daphne couldn’t believe her good fortune when she (literally) ran into Peter, a successful golden boy who held the promise of a happy life filled with contentment and their future children. They eventually got engaged, and she followed him to Waning Bay, a charming town on Lake Michigan, where the next chapter of their lives together could begin. Unfortunately, that next chapter drastically switched up the narrative, and now Peter is engaged to his best friend, Petra, and Daphne has moved in with Petra’s ex, Miles. Yeah, it’s NOT GREAT.

Daphne begins planning her exit from Waning Bay, but she feels a duty to stick around until after the Read-A-Thon, a huge event for kids and teens that she’s planning at the library where she works. Determined to just push through her grief, Daphne isn’t prepared for two glossy envelopes in the mail inviting her and Miles to Peter and Petra’s wedding. OBVIOUSLY these roomies have no choice but to RSVP yes, together, and pretend to be a couple in the weeks leading up to the nuptials (a decision made after a drunken night at a bar called Meatlocker, of course). But as Miles shows Daphne the best nooks and crannies of Waning Bay, she begins to question her decision to leave, not to mention her feelings for Miles, and what her vision of future happiness truly looks like.

Meet Cute: Make It a Double, Bartender

I never met an Emily Henry heroine I didn’t like, and Daphne is no exception! First of all, she’s a librarian. Immediate fan. She’s also got a killer sense of humor wrapped in a socially awkward package (again, fan!), and she’s well aware that she does not have her shit figured out. While her relationship with her mom is close and sweet and BFF vibes, her self-esteem is still haunted by her fair-weather father, who waltzed in and out of her life as a kid and continues to do so even though she’s a grownass woman. Daphne allowed herself to become completely absorbed in being a “we” with Peter, and now she has to figure out her own self, and though it’s a messy process, I was happy to be along for the ride.

Miles! Miles is an angel with whiskey breath. Miles has a beard and messy hair and works as a bartender at a winery. Miles grieves the loss of Petra by playing Bridget Jones’ Diary at top volume and crying his eyes out. After he and Daphne post their first pic as a “couple” on Instagram, Miles asks, “Are we evil or just immature?” He starts to read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe at Daphne’s behest and texts her things like “i want to live w the beavers” and “wat is turkish delight” and “edmund needs 2 chill.” I MEAN ADORABLE. Apologies for including a whole freaking paragraph from the book but I can’t explain Miles’ je ne sais quoi better than Emily Henry (the passage starts with Daphne speaking):

“Nah, cool, laid-back girls never face consequences for their spontaneity. It’s how they’re able to keep being cool and laid-back. They’re genetically predisposed to health. They’re not allergic to poison ivy or shellfish, and they never get migraines, even if they only sleep for three hours in a cold tent, and they never burn in the sun.”

“Huh,” he says.

“What?” I ask, right as I spot Julia in line at the food truck, waving us over.

“I just realized I’m a cool, laid-back girl,” Miles says.

Yes, Miles. Yes, you are. And that means, as much as y’all try to fight it, you’re the perfect match for Daphne, who is neither cool nor laidback. But more on that below!

The Lean: Like That Sweet Burn of Booze

Daphne and Miles are both crushed by their break-ups, and Emily Henry is incredibly skillful in the way that she lights a fire between them while never watering down their grief. Sure, it doesn’t take Daphne long to notice that Miles is a hot AF magnet who effortlessly charms every single person in the room, but she also needs him as a friend, and as much as I was thinking JUST GET TOGETHER ALREADY, I understood both characters’ reluctance to act on their desires, because they truly become each others’ #1 confidantes and supporters.

Dirty Talk: Shirley Temple

There weren’t actually a ton of sexy times in this book? I’m okay with it, because Daphne and Miles’ refusal to take things to Boning Levels makes for some simmering tension. I particularly loved this line about Miles:

“…casting one last glance over his shoulder, a hazy look that makes me feel like a Christmas present he’s one sleep away from unwrapping.”

But also, seriously, IS IT MORNING YET?!!!

Ms. Perky’s Prize for Purplest Prose:

I lean back into my palms, breath quickening as he brushes my underwear aside, presses his mouth to me, murmurs my name in a low gravel that makes everything in me pull taut. I work my hips against him, his hands skating around to guide my movement until I feel like I can’t breathe, can’t see, like my heart might crack through my ribs if I can’t have more of him.

We Need to Talk: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Per usual, Emily Henry has staged her smokin’ romance in a world I desperately want to live in. Waning Bay is eccentric and darling and a little bit country, with a bar called BARn (with goats!), secret beaches, farmstands out the wazoo, and poker nights with sassy old people. It’s also the home to Ashleigh, a fellow librarian who becomes Daphne’s best gal pal. Ashleigh freaking rules. She named her son Mulder after The X-Files, y’all. At one point, she straight up says, “I’m the fun, take-charge one.” And when she meets Miles:

“Charmed,” she says, suddenly a Gilded Age heiress.

I only pray that someday, Emily Henry will consider doing a spin-off because I need more Ashleigh in my life!!!

Was It Good For You: Pleased As (Spiked) Punch

Just like the best nights at your neighborhood bar, Funny Story is a freaking great time. The chemistry between the two leads will leave you with an extremely pleasant buzz, and it’s crackling with characters you wouldn’t mind shutting the place down with. It may not be Emily Henry’s hottest book, but I would argue it’s her funniest, and she still packs that emotional punch that makes all of her stories linger in your heart long after the frisson of the romance subsides.

Literary Matchmaking

They Hate Each Other

For a queer, YA take on the fake dating trope, pick up They Hate Each Other by Amanda Woody.

Enchanted to Meet You (Witches of West Harbor #1)

Find romance in another charming small town with Meg Cabot’s Enchanted To Meet You.

The Spanish Love Deception

Looking for more fake dating fireworks? Feel the burn of The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free e-copy from the publisher for review. I received neither compensation nor cocktails in exchange for this review. Funny Story is out now!

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Sarah lives in Austin, and believes there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, which is part of why she started FYA in 2009. Growing up, she thought she was a Mary Anne, but she's finally starting to accept the fact that she's actually a Kristy.