Funny Story

Funny Story

by Emily Henry

Narrated by Julia Whelan

Unabridged — 11 hours, 23 minutes

Funny Story

Funny Story

by Emily Henry

Narrated by Julia Whelan

Unabridged — 11 hours, 23 minutes

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Overview

Notes From Your Bookseller

Emily Henry is back with a relatable, hilarious and cathartic rom-com built around the struggle of making friends as an adult and the familial relationships that shape who we are. With smart, joyous prose, this read is a delight on multiple levels, as all Henry tends to be.

 
AN INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

Named a Most Anticipated book of 2024 by*TIME*¿ The New York Times ¿ Goodreads ¿ Entertainment Weekly ¿*Today ¿*Paste ¿*SheReads ¿ BookPage ¿ Woman's World ¿ The Nerd Daily*and more!


A shimmering, joyful new novel about a pair of opposites with the wrong thing in common, from #1 New York Times bestselling author Emily Henry.


Daphne always loved the way her fiancé Peter told their story. How they met (on a blustery day), fell in love (over an errant hat), and moved back to his lakeside hometown to begin their life together. He really was good at telling it...right up until the moment he realized he was actually in love with his childhood best friend Petra.
*
Which is how Daphne begins her new story: Stranded in beautiful Waning Bay, Michigan, without friends or family but with a dream job as a children's librarian (that barely pays the bills), and proposing to be roommates with the only person who could possibly understand her predicament: Petra's ex, Miles Nowak.
*
Scruffy and chaotic-with a penchant for taking solace in the sounds of heart break love ballads-Miles is exactly the opposite of practical, buttoned up Daphne, whose coworkers know so little about her they have a running bet that she's either FBI or in witness protection. The roommates mainly avoid one another, until one day, while drowning their sorrows, they form a tenuous friendship and a plan. If said plan also involves posting deliberately misleading photos of their summer adventures together, well, who could blame them?
*
But it's all just for show, of course, because there's no way Daphne would actually start her new chapter by falling in love with her ex-fiancé's new fiancée's ex...right?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

02/05/2024

Bestseller Henry (Happy Place) takes on fake-dating in this equally poignant and charming tale of love after loss. When Daphne Vincent’s fiancé, Peter, leaves her for his best friend, Petra, she’s both devastated and unmoored. Petra’s ex, Miles Nowak, seems to be handling the catastrophe better, but when each receives an invitation to Peter and Petra’s wedding, they’re both knocked off kilter. Together they drunkenly RSVP yes, and Daphne impulsively tells Peter that she and Miles are dating. That lie leads to Daphne and Miles building a real friendship (and developing real chemistry), but Daphne is determined to leave their small Michigan town—and its associations with Peter—behind, even if that also means forfeiting what she might have with Miles. Despite the tropey conceit, it’s the believable conflict rooted in the characters’ backgrounds and an alluring small-town setting on the shore of Lake Michigan that will suck readers in. Henry perfectly balances sorrow and discord with love and humor, and romance fans will appreciate watching the growth of the characters’ relationships and of Daphne as a person. This is a heartwarming take on summer love. Agent: Taylor Haggerty, Root Literary. (Apr.)

From the Publisher

Emily Henry has made a name for herself as among the hottest romance writers in the game right now.” 
People

Funny Story is Henry’s latest romance — and her steamiest one so far. It’s a mixture of will-they-won’t-they in a way that makes you really want them to. They’re the protagonists in separate love stories who are brought together by heartbreak. Daphne and Miles are characters you can empathize with and root for.” 
Associated Press

“A rising-star writer of literary romance, Emily Henry has garnered a devout readership by consistently delivering dreamy modern love stories. Building on a run of best-sellers—from Beach Read (2020) to Happy Place (2023)—in which Henry found innovative ways to subvert tropes of the genre, Funny Story puts the author’s signature spin on the idea that opposites attract.”  
TIME

“Henry doesn't disappoint. It's sweet, passionate, and just hot enough to steam up the book, if not set it on fire. Just like in her other novels, the author's characters are deep, realistic and relatable…Henry is so particularly talented at creating romance that eschews tropes and clichés but still satisfies our innate desire for predictability and happy endings in this genre. It's certainly not easy to balance the comfortingly formulaic with the tantalizingly unique. Funny Story might hit the mark best of all of Henry's books so far.” 
USA Today

“When romance novelist Emily Henry releases a new book, it’s nothing short of a literary event. And this spring’s Funny Story — which has already been named one of the most anticipated books of 2024 by everyone from the New York Times to the Today show — is sure to be no exception... this sumptuous novel is Henry at her very best.”
Bustle

"Dazzlingly electric."
Buzzfeed

“Bestseller Henry takes on fake-dating in this equally poignant and charming tale of love after loss… Henry perfectly balances sorrow and discord with love and humor, and romance fans will appreciate watching the growth of the characters’ relationships and of Daphne as a person. This is a heartwarming take on summer love.”
Publishers Weekly

“Reliable bestseller Henry has written another surefire hit that manages to be dramatic, sexy, and fun....As always, Henry’s biggest strength is the sharp, often hilarious dialogue that makes the story a joy to read. Henry fans, rejoice: This is her best yet.” 
Kirkus (starred review)

"With her latest impeccably written rom-com, literary supernova Henry continues to gracefully dispense wit, whimsy, and wisdom in equal amounts. Fans of opposites-attract love stories will revel in the buoyant banter and swoonworthy romantic moments, not to mention Henry’s delightful pairing of a precision-driven children’s librarian and a jack-of-all-trades winery employee who could give Matthew McConaughey lessons in chill."
Booklist (starred review)

“This opposites-attract meets fake-dating plot has vividly drawn characters, emotionally charged storylines, and a beautiful small-town Michigan setting that will captivate devoted followers of Henry’s work and convert new readers into ardent fans.” 
Library Journal (starred review)

“With her signature laugh-out-loud banter and flawed but lovable characters, Henry has created another novel that’s everything her readers have come to expect, without falling into predictable patterns. Funny Story is Emily Henry at her best.” 
BookPage

“[Emily Henry's] latest novel is another sparkling love story.” 
Women's World

“Emily Henry proves once again she's a leader of the romance genre with her latest book, Funny Story.”
San Francisco Book Review

Library Journal

★ 03/01/2024

Just weeks before Daphne's dream wedding to her picture-perfect fiancé Peter, he abruptly leaves her for his childhood best friend Petra. Adding insult to injury, he gives Daphne one week to move out. Her job as a children's librarian doesn't pay much, and she doesn't have any friends or family nearby after recently moving to be closer to Peter's family. Blindsided and desperate, she moves in with the equally jilted Miles, Petra's ex-boyfriend, who now has extra space in his apartment. Living with Peter's new fiancée's ex-boyfriend is not something Daphne ever expected. Virtual strangers, buttoned up Daphne and laidback Miles, have nothing in common, except their mutual broken hearts. When Daphne and Miles get invited to their exes' wedding, they decide to attend together, as a pretend couple. As the summer progresses, they become close and start to realize that their flourishing love is anything but fake. VERDICT This opposites-attract meets fake-dating plot has vividly drawn characters, emotionally charged storylines, and a beautiful small-town Michigan setting that will captivate devoted followers of Henry's (Happy Place) work and convert new readers into ardent fans.—Migdalia Jimenez

APRIL 2024 - AudioFile

Julia Whelan tells a funny story, much like a Shakespearean comedy is a funny story, of a woman who falls in love with her ex-fiancé's new girlfriend's ex-boyfriend. When Daphne's fiancé, Peter, realizes he is in love with his formerly platonic best friend, Petra, just days before their wedding, Daphne recognizes she has built her whole life around Peter. Furthermore, she doesn't have any of her own friends. Soon, she's forced to move in with Petra's ex, Miles. Whelan accentuates Daphne's devastation with believable sobs and sniffles. She especially shines in the second half of the story with well-matched voices to likable secondary characters Julia, Starfire, and Harvey. S.S. © AudioFile 2024, Portland, Maine

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2024-02-17
A recently dumped librarian finds herself fake dating her polar opposite.

When Daphne Vincent’s fiance, Peter, dumps her, she’s shocked—but the worst part is that he’s leaving her for his gorgeous best friend, Petra Comer, the woman he’d always told Daphne not to worry about. Now Daphne has to move out of Peter’s home and restart her life in the small Michigan town where she’d moved to be with him. Salvation comes in the form of Miles Nowak, Petra’s ex—he has a tiny spare room in his apartment, and he understands what it’s like to wallow in heartbreak. Daphne feels lucky to have her dream job as a children’s librarian, but other than that, she feels adrift and friendless in Waning Bay—and then she and Miles get invitations to Peter and Petra’s wedding. In a momentary lapse of judgment, Daphne not only says she’ll attend the wedding, but tells Peter she’s dating Miles. It would be the perfect way to show Peter and Petra that they’ve moved on…if only it were true. In the grand tradition of fake-dating romances, Daphne and Miles pretend to be in love, getting to know each other while having various adventures and misadventures. Daphne quickly learns that although she’d dismissed Miles as a pothead with a lack of direction, he’s actually a good time—and a loyal friend. But Daphne knows she needs to get out of Waning Bay, so this fake relationship can’t lead anywhere…can it? Reliable bestseller Henry has written another surefire hit that manages to be dramatic, sexy, and fun. Miles and Daphne have chemistry that leaps off the page, and their will-they-or-won’t-they energy propels the story to its satisfying conclusion. Daphne is an immensely likable character, one whose past realistically informs her current relationships. The world of Waning Bay is charmingly quirky, and Daphne’s co-workers at the library are endearing. As always, Henry’s biggest strength is the sharp, often hilarious dialogue that makes the story a joy to read.

Henry fans, rejoice: This is her best yet.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940159516459
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication date: 04/23/2024
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 200,005

Read an Excerpt

1

Wednesday, May 1

108 Days Until I Can Leave

Some people are natural storytellers. They know how to set the scene, find the right angle, when to pause for dramatic effect or breeze past inconvenient details.

I wouldn't have become a librarian if I didn't love stories, but I've never been great at telling my own.

If I had a penny for every time I interrupted my own anecdote to debate whether this actually had happened on a Tuesday, or if it had in fact been Thursday, then I'd have at least forty cents, and that's way too big a chunk of my life wasted for way too small of a payout.

Peter, on the other hand, would have zero cents and a rapt audience.

I especially loved the way he told our story, about the day we met.

It was late spring, three years ago. We lived in Richmond at the time, a mere five blocks separating his sleek apartment in a renovated Italianate from my shabby-not-quite-chic version of the same kind of place.

On my way home from work, I detoured through the park, which I never did, but the weather was perfect. And I was wearing a floppy-brimmed hat, which I never had, but Mom mailed it to me the week before, and I felt like I owed it to her to at least try it out. I was reading as I walked-which I'd vowed to stop doing because I'd nearly caused a bike accident doing so weeks earlier-when suddenly, a warm breeze caught the hat's brim. It lifted off my head and swooped over an azalea bush. Right to a tall, handsome blond man's feet.

Peter said this felt like an invitation. Laughed, almost self-deprecatingly, as he added, "I'd never believed in fate before that."

If it was fate, then it's reasonable to assume fate a little bit hates me, because when he bent to retrieve the hat, another gust swept it into the air, and I chased after it right into a trash can.

The metal kind, bolted to the ground.

My hat landed atop a pile of discarded lo mein, the lip of the can smashed into my rib cage, and I did a wheezing pratfall into the grass. Peter described this as "adorably clumsy."

He left out the part where I screamed a string of expletives.

"I fell in love with Daphne the moment I looked up from her hat," he'd say, no mention of the trash-noodles in my hair.

When he asked if I was okay, I said, "Did I kill a bicyclist?"

He thought I'd hit my head. (Nope, just bad at first impressions.)

Over the last three years, Peter dusted off Our Story every chance he got. I was sure he'd work it into both our vows and his wedding reception speech.

But then his bachelor party happened, and everything changed.

The story tipped onto its side. Found a fresh point of view. And in this new telling of it, I was no longer the leading lady, but instead the teensy complication that would forever be used to jazz up their story.

Daphne Vincent, the librarian that Peter plucked out of the trash, nearly married, then dumped the morning after his bachelor party for his "platonic" "best" "friend," Petra Comer.

Then again, when would he even need to tell their story?

Everyone around Peter Collins and Petra Comer knew their history: How they'd met in third grade when forced into alphabetical seating, bonding over a shared love of Pokémon. How, soon after, their mothers became friends while chaperoning an aquarium field trip, with their fathers to follow suit.

For the last quarter of a century, the Collinses and the Comers vacationed together. They celebrated birthdays, ate Christmas brunches, decorated their homes with handmade picture frames from which Peter's and Petra's faces beamed out beneath some iteration of the phrase BEST FRIENDS FOREVER.

This, Peter told me, made him and the most gorgeous woman I'd ever met more like cousins than friends.

As a librarian, I really should've taken a moment to think about Mansfield Park or Wuthering Heights, all those love stories and twisted Gothics wherein two protagonists, raised side by side, reach adulthood and proclaim their undying love for each other.

But I didn't.

So now here I am, sitting in a tiny apartment, scrolling through Petra's public social media, seeing every detail of her new courtship with my ex-fiancé.

From the next room, Jamie O'Neal's rendition of "All By Myself" plays loudly enough to make the coffee table shiver. My next-door neighbor, Mr. Dorner, pounds on the wall.

I barely hear it, because I've just reached a picture of Peter and Petra, sandwiched between both sets of their parents, on the shore of Lake Michigan-six abnormally attractive people smiling abnormally white smiles over the caption, The best things in life are worth waiting for.

As if on cue, the music ratchets up.

I slam my computer shut and peel myself off the sofa. This apartment was built pre-global warming, when Northern Michiganders had no need for air-conditioning, but it's only May first and already the apartment turns into a brick oven around midday.

I cross to the bedroom hallway and knock on Miles's door. He doesn't hear me over Jamie. I escalate to pounding.

The music stops.

Footsteps shuffle closer. The door swings open, and a weed fog wafts out.

My roommate's dark brown eyes are ringed in pink, and he's in nothing but a pair of boxers and a funky knitted afghan wrapped around his shoulders like a very sad cape. Considering the overall climate of our hotbox apartment, I can only assume this is for modesty's sake. Seems like overkill for a man who, just last night, forgot I lived with him long enough to take a whole-ass shower with the door wide open.

His chocolate-brown hair sticks up in every direction. His matching beard is pure chaos. He clears his throat. "What's up."

"Everything okay?" I ask, because while I'm used to a disheveled Miles, I'm less used to hearing him blast the saddest song in the world.

"Yep," he says. "All good."

"Could you turn the music down," I say.

"I'm not listening to music," he says, dead serious.

"Well, you paused it," I say, in case he really is simply too high to remember more than three seconds back. "But it's really loud."

He scratches one eyebrow with the back of his knuckle, frowning. "I'm watching a movie," he says. "But I can turn it down. Sorry."

Without even meaning to, I'm peering over his shoulder to get a better look.

Unlike the rest of our apartment, which was perfectly tidy when I arrived and is still perfectly tidy, his room is disastrous. Half of his records are stacked atop the milk crates they ostensibly belong inside. His bed is unmade, a rumpled comforter and the sheet untucked all the way around. Two tattered flannel shirts hang out of his mostly closed dresser drawers, like little ghosts he's pinned there, midescape.

In direct opposition to the creams and taupes of my room, his is a messy, cozy mix of rusts, mustards, seventies greens. Where my books are neatly organized along my bookcase and the shelf I installed above my window, his (very few) are face down, spines cracked, on the floor. Electronics manuals, loose tools, and an open bag of Sour Patch Kids are scattered across his desk, and on his windowsill, a stick of incense burns between a few surprisingly vivacious houseplants.

His TV, though, is what catches my eye. Onscreen is the image of a thirty-year-old Renée Zellweger, sporting red pajamas and belting a song into a rolled-up magazine.

"Oh my god, Miles," I say.

"What?" he says.

"You're watching Bridget Jones's Diary?"

"It's a good movie!" he cries, a little defensive.

"It's a great movie," I say, "but this scene is, like, one minute long."

He sniffs. "So?"

"So why has it been playing for at least"-I check my phone-"the last eight minutes?"

His dark brows knit together. "Did you need something, Daphne?"

"Could you just turn it down?" I say. "All the plates are rattling in the cabinets and Mr. Dorner's trying to bust down the living room wall."

Another sniff. "You want to watch?" he offers.

In there?

Too big of a tetanus risk. An ungenerous thought, sure, but I have recently tapped out my supply of generosity. That's what happens when your life partner leaves you for the nicest, sunniest, prettiest woman in the state of Michigan.

"I'm good," I tell Miles.

We both just stand there. This is as much as we ever interact. I'm about to break the record. My throat tickles. My eyes burn. I add, "And could you please not smoke inside?"

I would've asked sooner, except that, technically, the apartment is his. He did me a huge favor letting me move in.

Then again, it's not like he had many options. His girlfriend had just moved out.

Into my apartment.

With my fiancé.

He needed to replace Petra's half of their shared rent. I needed a place to sleep. Did I say sleep? I meant weep.

But I've been here three weeks now, and I'm tired of showing up to work smelling like I came straight from the least famous of the Grateful Dead's spin-off bands' concerts.

"I stick my head out the window," Miles says.

"What," I say.

Immediately I picture a chocolate Labrador riding in a car, its mouth open and eyes squinting into the wind. The few times Miles and I met before all this, on awkward double dates with our now-partnered partners, that's what he'd reminded me of. Friendly and wiry with an upturned nose that made him look a bit impish, and teeth that were somehow too perfect in contrast to his scruffy face.

The toll of the last three weeks has given him a slightly feral edge-a Labrador bitten by a werewolf and dumped back at the pound. Relatable, honestly.

"I stick my head out the window when I smoke," he clarifies.

"Okay," I say. That's all I've got. I turn to go.

"You sure you don't want to watch the movie?" he says.

Oh, god.

The truth is, Miles seems like a nice guy. A really nice guy! And I imagine that what he's feeling right now must be comparable to my own total emotional decimation. I could take him up on his offer, go sit in his room on an unmade bed and watch a romantic comedy while absorbing fifteen hundred grams of weed smoke via my pores. Maybe it would be nice even, to pretend for a bit that we're friends rather than strangers trapped together in this nightmare of a breakup.

But there are better uses of my Wednesday night.

"Maybe some other time," I say, and go back to my computer to continue looking for new jobs, far away from Peter and Petra, and far away from Waning Bay, Michigan.

I wonder if Antarctica is in need of a children's librarian.

One hundred and eight days, and then I'm out of here.

2

Back in April

Before I Knew I Needed to Leave

Here's how the rest of the story goes, when I'm the one telling it: Peter Collins and I fell in love one day in the park, when the wind swept my hat from my head.

I am arguably the world's worst small-talker, but he didn't want to small-talk.

When I told him the hat was a gift from my mother, he wanted to know if we were close, where she lived now, what the gift was for, and by the way, Happy birthday, are you a birthday person? And when I told him, Thank you, and yes, yes, I am, he volunteered that he was too, that his family always treated birthdays like huge personal successes rather than markers of time. And when I told him that sounded beautiful, the birthdays and his family, he said, They're the reason I've always wanted a big family of my own someday, and at that point, I already would've been a goner, even if he hadn't asked me right then, as if there wasn't garbage sticking to my chestnut-brown hair, What about you? Do you want a big family?

Dating in my late twenties had been hell. This was the kind of question I'd usually ask right before the guy on the other end of the phone ghosted me. As if it had been a formal proposition: Should we skip grabbing a drink and maybe freeze some embryos, just in case?

Peter was different. Stable, steady, practical. The kind of person I could imagine trusting, which didn't come naturally to me.

Within five weeks, we'd moved in together, synced our lives, friend groups, and schedules. At the first over-the-top birthday party I ever threw him, Peter's and my respective best friends in Richmond, Cooper and Sadie, hit it off and started dating too.

Within a year, Peter proposed. I said yes.

A year later, while wedding planning, we started looking for a house to buy. His parents, two of the loveliest people I've ever met, sent him the listing for a gorgeous old house not far from them in the lakeside Michigan town he'd grown up in.

He'd always wanted to get back there, and now that his software development job had gone remote, nothing was stopping him.

My mom lived in Maryland by then. My dad, a title that really deserves to have scare quotes around it, was out in Southern California. Sadie and Cooper were toying with the possibility of moving to Denver.

And as much as I loved my job in Richmond, what I really wanted-what I'd always wanted-was to be a children's librarian, and lo and behold, the Waning Bay Public Library was looking to fill that exact position.

So we bought the house in Michigan.

Well, he bought it. I had terrible credit and slim savings. He covered the down payment and insisted on paying the mortgage.

He'd always been so generous, but it felt like too much. Sadie didn't understand my hang-ups-I let Cooper pay for literally everything, she'd say, he makes a shit-ton more than me-but Sadie hadn't been raised by Holly Vincent.

There was no way my badass, hyperindependent mother would approve of me relying on Peter so heavily, and so I didn't approve either.

He came up with a compromise: I'd furnish the place, add piecemeal to the assortment of furniture we'd brought from Richmond, while he covered the bills.

Most of his far-flung friends had cushy white-collar jobs and could afford to take a separate trip for his bachelor party. Whereas Sadie and the rest of my friends were mostly other librarians-or booksellers, or aspiring writers-who couldn't afford two separate trips. Thus, she and Cooper would fly in a few days before the summer ceremony instead, and we'd do my bachelorette then.

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