Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Publication Date: January 2011
Series: Stand Alone
Reason for Discovery: the Internet & the Rainbow Rowell Read-a-Thon
"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . "
Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.
Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke. When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained- and captivated-by their stories. By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself. What would he say . . . ?
Lincoln is a late 20-something year-old who is trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life. He is living at home with his mom who loves cooking delicious meals for him. Lincoln also took a night job reading emails to make sure people are being respectful and appropriate at a local newspaper. Beth and Jennifer are two employees that work at the newspaper and are constantly getting their emails flagged for using inappropriate language or sending too many emails to each other. Lincoln slowly yet surely gets pulled into Beth and Jennifer's world via their emails. He knows that he needs to stop reading their emails, but he can't stop; he is falling in love with Beth.
Maybe it was all of the dystopian novels that I have been reading recently, but this book was just freaking adorable. I had a grin on my face the entire time. I kept making excuses to read just one more chapter. I loved the emails between Jennifer and Beth. The emails reminded me of emails that I would send to colleagues at work. I could have read an entire book of just Jennifer and Beth's emails. I love books that are letters between two characters, because I like to imagine that I am one of the characters writing the letters. Because Beth and Jennifer's scenes primarily take place within the emails, you get a very particular view of these two ladies. I wish I got a more three-dimensional view of Beth and Jennifer; however, this is a minus with the epistolary form.
I also loved to watch Lincoln find himself and figure out who he is (his chapters are told in third person). Self-identity and finding one's way in life are themes that seem to be found only in YA books nowadays. It was refreshing to see an adult trying to figure out who he is and what he wants in life. As a graduate student and in my early 30s, I feel like my life is on hold at times. It was nice to meet a character that is around my same age and is experiencing some of the same issues.
I really enjoyed everything about this book except for the ending. I wished things had gone a bit differently. I don't want to say too much and spoil you. I will just say that the ending was fine and expected, I just don't feel it was the best for the story.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I loved Beth, Jennifer, and Lincoln. I thought that they were relate-able and refreshing. Also, the writing was super clever and spot on. The characters felt real and talked like normal people. If I could tweak the ending, I would, but it didn't ruin the story for me by any means.
I give this book 4 out of 5.