I love this author. This could have been a light, knock-it-off-quickly sort of book, but Rainbow Rowell elevates the story to make this a book you want to hug, and take to bed with you.
Lincoln O’Neill has a job at The Courier as an “Internet Security Officer,” monitoring the emails of all the other newspaper employees for possible misuse. [They have been warned their emails are subject to scrutiny.] In time, he finds he can’t resist following the ongoing correspondence between two best friends at the paper (and strangers to Lincoln), Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder. The chapters alternate between their email transcripts, and Lincoln’s story.
What’s so fun about this book is the way in which it expands the usual conversation between the reader and the author to a small group. It is not just Lincoln who is eavesdropping and getting to love these two women, but you as well. And when Beth starts noticing the quiet, handsome guy who works nights (who Lincoln quickly realizes is himself), your heart buoys up with Lincoln’s, and you can’t wait to find out what will happen next.
I won’t spoil what happens, but there is some of the best dialogue ever as the book reaches its denouement, and Lincoln describes how he pictured Beth.
Evaluation: Lincoln is shy but smart and funny and sensitive, and the women are both people you wish could be your best friends too. It sounds like a predictable plot, but it has some surprises, and so many laugh-out-loud and warm moments, you wouldn’t care if it didn’t.
Published by Dutton, a member of Penguin Group (USA), 2011