Book Review: When You Read This

Happy Belated (yesterday!) Pub Day to WHEN YOU READ THIS! And thanks to Harper Books for the free review copy – as always all opinions are my own.

Author: Mary Adkins
Genre: Fiction
Pub Date: February 5, 2019
Feel Learn Wonder Rating: 4/5

This book a cornucopia of contradictions that develop in to a lightly dark, quirky, unique, and entertaining book. To get us started: it’s 400 pages but easily read in 2-3 sittings, and light in writing style but heavy in topics. While the contradictions can lead it at some points to feel disjointed, this is one book that will keep you entertained from start to finish.


When You Read This is a story told through emails, texts, and blog posts to tell the story of the people in Iris’s life after she has passed away from cancer, leaving a manuscript of her blog for her former boss to publish. What starts as casual communication between Iris’ boss and sister, turns in to a relationship that forms over the internet.

As I mentioned, the meat of the story is quite dark – Smith and Jade (Iris’ boss and sister, respectively), both have complicated lives and past relationships. Additionally, there’s the obvious: Iris has recently passed away. Naturally, the grieving of her death dominates this storyline. To lighten this up some comedic characters are added in – like Smith’s overeager intern and outrageous rapper-turned-country-singer client. (LOL)

In a way, the story felt disjointed because it was both funny and sad. The comedic parts felt thrown in a little haphazardly, without much of their own development, and the epistolary style leads to a non-straightforward approach to telling the more serious parts of the story, which can limit its impact at times. But part of the joy of this story, is that it’s scattered and you have to think a little. At the end of the day, while the story isn’t life changing by any means, you got to laugh and cry and get to know some characters in a short form book.

I’d recommend this book either as a lighthearted vacation read, or a book to read between some other heavier ones. It won’t blow you away, but you’ll definitely enjoy it for a short time it takes you go get through it.



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