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Sunday, January 27, 2019

REVIEW: When You Read This by Mary Adkins @harperbooks @AdkinsMary

When You Read This
by Mary Adkins

Thanks so much to Harper Books for this delightful copy!

Publisher: Harper Books
Publish Date: February 5, 2019
384 Pages
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction

A comedy-drama for the digital age: an epistolary debut novel about the ties that bind and break our hearts, for fans of Maria Semple and Rainbow Rowell. Iris Massey is gone. But she’s left something behind.

For four years, Iris Massey worked side by side with PR maven Smith Simonyi, helping clients perfect their brands. But Iris has died, taken by terminal illness at only thirty-three. Adrift without his friend and colleague, Smith is surprised to discover that in her last six months, Iris created a blog filled with sharp and often funny musings on the end of a life not quite fulfilled. She also made one final request: for Smith to get her posts published as a book. With the help of his charmingly eager, if overbearingly forthright, new intern Carl, Smith tackles the task of fulfilling Iris’s last wish.

Before he can do so, though, he must get the approval of Iris’ big sister Jade, an haute cuisine chef who’s been knocked sideways by her loss. Each carrying their own baggage, Smith and Jade end up on a collision course with their own unresolved pasts and with each other.

Told in a series of e-mails, blog posts, online therapy submissions, text messages, legal correspondence, home-rental bookings, and other snippets of our virtual lives, When You Read This is a deft, captivating romantic comedy—funny, tragic, surprising, and bittersweet—that candidly reveals how we find new beginnings after loss.

My Review:

What a delightful cast of characters.  Centered around Iris, the girl who died all too young from cancer, Adkins brings us a group of characters, mainly her sister, Jade and her boss, Simon, who are dealing with the aftermath of her death, the blog she left behind and unanswered questions that bring them together and also threatens to tear them apart.

Along with these "main" characters, we get introduced to YOPLAY, who I found annoying and endearing BUT WHO TYPES WITH CAPITAL ALL THE TIME?!  Carl, the intern who comes to take Iris's place at Smith's agency - who lives in his own little eccentric world.  While he repeatedly irritated me with his mercury in retrograde and inability to follow simple directions, his comic relief and brightened take on the world provided some much needed levity throughout the read.  (Carl, I want to have coffee with you!)

At the end of the day, it all comes down to Jade and Simon.  Each wanting to do what they think Iris would have wanted and having to come to terms that they both knew a different side to her.  The biggest stories here are theirs to tell.  The ups and downs of love, loss and grief.  Certainly some learning moments throughout.

Written in various forms of blog posts, emails and texts, this book pulls at the heart strings, gives some hope to the world and takes a real look at how people deal with grief.  (And I do believe I'll be trying to make those Orange-Kissed Chocolate Chip Cookies.)


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