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Emily Henry’s latest romance novel, “Funny Story,” begins with two tumultuous break-ups that uproot the lives of its protagonists, Daphne and Miles. This sets the stage for a heartwarming and unexpected connection that readers will find both poignant and engaging.

Daphne is a meticulous planner, always on time, and known for her buttoned-up demeanour. As a children’s librarian, she hosts lively reading hours that delight young minds, but she keeps her personal life closely guarded, leading her colleagues to speculate about her mysterious background.

They even joke that she might be in witness protection or part of the FBI. Daphne’s life takes a sharp turn when she finds herself stranded in the picturesque but lonely town of Waning Bay, with no friends or family to lean on. Her dream job barely pays the bills, and she’s grappling with the aftermath of a crushing break-up.

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Miles, on the other hand, is a more subdued character. He’s kind-hearted, thoughtful, and has a natural ability to win over everyone he meets, especially the regulars at the local farmers market.

Despite his charm, Miles has a strained relationship with his parents, but he is very close to his younger sister, Petra. Miles’s world is also shaken by a recent break-up, leaving him feeling adrift.

Twist of fate

In a twist of fate, Daphne and Miles, both nursing broken hearts, decide to become roommates. The only common link between them is Petra, Miles’s sister and Daphne’s ex-girlfriend. This unconventional living arrangement brings together two people who couldn’t be more different.

Daphne’s practical, orderly life contrasts sharply with Miles’s scruffy, chaotic existence. He finds solace in the melancholy tunes of heartbreak love ballads, while Daphne clings to her structured routines.

Initially, the two avoid each other, navigating their shared space with minimal interaction. However, their mutual loneliness and the need to heal from their pasts eventually draw them together.

Illusion of happiness

One evening, in a shared moment of vulnerability, they form a tentative friendship and concoct a plan to stage their summer adventures for social media, crafting an illusion of happiness and camaraderie.

The novel eschews typical romantic tropes, such as slow dances at weddings. Instead, it focuses on the emotional and personal growth of its characters.

Daphne and Miles slowly open up to each other, sharing their deepest fears and past traumas. Their interactions are filled with chemistry, balanced by genuine moments of connection and understanding.

In the end, “Funny Story” is more than just a romance; it’s a story about personal growth, overcoming past wounds, and discovering the beauty of second chances.

Emily Henry reminds us that sometimes, a bit of pretend can lead to something truly real and lasting. This novel is a heartfelt exploration of love, loss, and the transformative power of connection.

Ahmad Nazir is a UAE based freelance writer