This is one of the most popular books on this site, and it’s one I’ve been meaning to get around to. Bingo was the perfect opportunity to kick me in the butt and start it for the So Poplular slot. That said, while I see that it’s one of the more popular books on the site I could not get past the icky plot. Rowell is a fantastic writer. Her characters are very well drawn and engaging. I honestly felt for every single one. However, I simply can’t get past the stalking nature of what Lincoln does, and I don’t think the fact that both he and Beth fall in love justifies the end result. I was hoping that they would both end up with other people, and this would have simply been a learning experience for Lincoln about what is not acceptable behavior when pursuing a woman.
Briefly, because it’s been hashed out many times on this site, Lincoln is hired by a newspaper to be their IT security guy. Now, apparently the people running the paper are backwards idiots who think that having someone read any ‘suspicious’ emails of their employees is an ok thing to do. Granted this book does take place in 1999, which is right when the internet was just starting to explode. So Lincoln, who has no idea what to do with his life, takes this job even though he feels kind of gross about it. He does his job, and while doing it ends up reading an email exchange between two of the newspaper’s employees; Beth and Jennifer. Now, even though he’s supposed to, he doesn’t tell them that their email was flagged (he feels kind of gross about this remember) and so their email exchanges keep getting flagged and he keeps reading them and eventually falls in love with Beth through her emails.
I enjoyed reading this book. I liked Lincoln, and I felt for him. I loved his interactions with the other characters, and his slow developing independence. And while I wasn’t fond of his email stalking, I sympathized. My issue was that while the book acknowledged that the stalking was gross, it was eventually rewarded. Rowell was trying to have her cake and eat it too, and for that this book simply wasn’t for me. I thought the end, where Beth and Lincoln finally meet and talk, was contrived and rushed. The other problem I have is that while we can see why Lincoln would fall for Beth, there really isn’t any reason for Beth to fall for Lincoln. She never interacts with him, though she knows about his interactions with other characters I don’t think that’s enough to really fall for someone. Insta-love isn’t a thing and I wish authors would stop using it as a way to cross plot hurdles.
Rowell is a great writer, I’m very glad I was introduced to her through this site, but this book is just not for me. Seriously, read that tittle and imagine it directed at you from someone you’ve never met. It’s beyond gross.