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Emily Henry releases fifth novel with events for romance readers

Emily Henry’s releases fifth romance novel

“Funny Story” tells the story of Daphne and her unexpected roommate through a breakup and friendships as an adult.

Emily Henry's
Penguin Random House
Emily Henry’s fourth novel, “Funny Story” was released on April 24.

Emily Henry’s fifth novel, “Funny Story,” was released on April 23 with an exciting set of events throughout the week. Henry, a contemporary novelist whose past four romance novels have gained critical acclaim and upcoming film adaptations, announced the book in July. 

“When I started writing this one, I was fresh off of editing ‘Happy Place,’” Henry said about “Funny Story,” “While I had assumed at the start of that book that I’d be writing a screwball comedy, the book of course had other ideas.”

Henry’s newsletter, called Emily’s Grocery List, is the main source romance fans receive updates from her, aside from the occasional book selfies she shares on her Instagram. Henry is a 33 year old writer from Cincinnati, Ohio with her last three books winning the 2023, 2022 and 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Romance.  “‘Funny Story’ is my personal breath of fresh air,” Henry wrote.

Although Henry’s books “straddle the line between romance and general fiction, it’s always been important to me to claim that romance title,” she said in an interview with The New York Times on April 21 about “Funny Story.” “A lot of times, bad things happening, in surprising ways, is what makes a story funny.”

Emily Henry
Alex Caban-Echevarria

Her newest romance is about a children’s librarian and her unlikely roommate. Henry’s female main characters are usually writers or book lovers in some way: This time her name is Daphne Vincent. She has just been dumped by her fiancé after moving to his hometown in Michigan. Daphne’s ex Peter, who is now getting married to his childhood best friend Petra, is off on a trip while Daphne finds somewhere else to live. 

In comes Miles Nowak, the only person who could understand her predicament, Petra’s ex. From strangers to roommates and the forced proximity tropes go, their plan to mislead their exes online through posting their summer adventures is on par for romance formulas. An excerpt of the novel came ahead of its release in January 2024.

The book is a 395 page hardcover published by Berkeley, an imprint of Penguin Random House. The audiobook is narrated by Julia Whelan, who has voiced all of Henry’s novels and her own, “Thank You For Listening.” Henry’s summer romances have been set across many vacation spots, including Palm Springs and fictional towns of Michigan, South Carolina and Maine. “Funny Story” returns to Michigan in the fictional town of Waning Bay.

With the release of this new book, Henry appeared on Good Morning America on April 22, where she detailed the romantic comedies that inspired this book. Sharing how each of her novels are visualized in her head, Henry considers even directing one someday, while three of them are currently in pre-production. A new merchandise line with Out of Print also dropped on Tuesday with “It’s actually a very Funny Story” T-shirt, sweatshirt, tote bag and a pouch to complement her last book’s “Books are My Happy Place” collection in the same shop. An updated tote bag to feature the new book is also included in the collection, for book lovers’ ultimate homage to Henry’s colorful stack of beach reads.

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On  April 24, Henry spoke to romance author Jasmine Guillory at a launch event hosted by her hometown bookstore, Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati. Henry spoke to an additional romance author, Yulin Kuang, the following day with Barnes & Noble. Kuang is familiar with Henry’s work, as she is the director for the upcoming adaptation of “Beach Read,” and is the screenwriter for “People We Meet on Vacation.”

Because the book is “partly about how to make friends as an adult,” Henry said in her newsletter, bookstores across the country are hosting release week parties. On Sunday, April 28, the Barnes & Noble in Rochester hosted one of Henry’s “Funny Story” events. The release party featured giveaways, games and trivia. 

Lindsey Eklund, senior bookseller, planned the event. “My manager approached me and asked if I would like to do the event because she knows I like to read Emily Henry books,” Eklund said. “I like the rom-com chick lit genre. It’s something I’m very interested in.”

Some of the activities included the heartthrob game that Henry likes to play with her friends. Described as, “He’s a 10 but…” four names are given and attendees pick who is their type. Eklund gave away “In My Emily Henry Era” tote bags and seven of Henry’s favorite things, including an Olive and June nail polish and Out of Print book socks. Attendees also speed dated with books and had one minute to pitch a new romance to fellow readers. The event ended with trivia of quotes from all of Henry’s books. 

Romance readers, if not already Emily Henry fans, enjoyed talking about books and celebrating a new release.