by Rainbow Rowell
Amazon / Goodreads
Plot Summary:"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 . . . ?
Review:I would say that this story is pure adorable, but I don't want to sell short the depth of it. While the cuteness of the romance and the characters are undeniable, it is also very poignant and thought-provoking. And I think that's mostly because all of the characters are so intensely genuine. Their lives have drama but they don't devolve into dramatics - the writing knows when to dwell on a moment and when to allude to it in passing to make it even more effective. I feel like it's cliche to say that the characters are so real they feel like my friends, but it's so true!
The format of the story was very clever as well. We get to know Beth and her friend Jennifer just as Lincoln does through their emails, and we get to feel the same sense of suspense and furtive interest in their lives. With those moments when the reader realizes Beth notices Lincoln around the office, I feel like I felt the same glee as Lincoln must have as he read it. These characters just live in your head! And the secondary characters are just as fully formed - and they are so important in developing the main characters further for the reader. It was so easy to understand each characters actions and decisions.
The ending did let me down just a little bit though. Generally it was just what I wanted and almost perfect, but I think that because for the most part we are reading all the thoughts in these characters heads, when it came to Lincoln and Beth resolving their stories face to face, I felt the lack of having that same access to their thoughts. It was resolved too quickly too in some ways which detracted a bit from the wonderful credibleness of this story, but then again it was a very difficult situation to resolve.
This story is a beautiful combination of spare, effective writing and down-to-earth, rich characterization, with the added treat of an intensely sweet romance. I think it must be hard sometimes to find an ending for a novel, and while I don't want to over-hype it, I was very taken by the last lines of this book and how it captured their relationship so well in a moment of humor. This book is just pure loveliness.