Release Date: April 14, 2011
Age Group: Adult
Buy: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Google
Beth and Jennifer know their company monitors their office e-mail. But the women still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers at the newspaper and baring their personal lives like an open book. Jennifer tells Beth everything she can't seem to tell her husband about her anxieties over starting a family. And Beth tells Jennifer everything, period.
When Lincoln applied to be an Internet security officer, he hardly imagined he'd be sifting through other people's inboxes like some sort of electronic Peeping Tom. Lincoln is supposed to turn people in for misusing company e-mail, but he can't quite bring himself to crack down on Beth and Jennifer. He can't help but be entertained-and captivated- by their stories.
But by the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late for him to ever introduce himself. What would he say to her? "Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you." After a series of close encounters and missed connections, Lincoln decides it's time to muster the courage to follow his heart . . . even if he can't see exactly where it's leading him.
Written with whip-smart precision and charm, Attachments is a strikingly clever and deeply romantic debut about falling in love with the person who makes you feel like the best version of yourself. Even if it's someone you've never met.
One of the most buzzed about (and completely worth the buzz) books of the past few months is Rainbow Rowell’s heart-breaking-and-heart-lifting story of first love, Eleanor & Park. It deserves every bit of exaltation it’s received. According to very in-depth research I’ve done (aka looking at my Twitter feed), the immediate reaction after finishing E&P is MORE?! Which leads me here, to Rainbow Rowell’s first book, 2011’s Attachments. Disclosure: this is not YA. However, it’s got enormous crossover appeal for an older teen looking to branch out to new horizons or the YA-reading adult who has grown weary of teenage vampires making teenage vampire choices. The best part (to me) is that this is different from yet similar to E&P in all the ways that matter.
Lincoln is 28, living with his mother after years and years of garnering college degrees, and working as the IT guy for a local Omaha newspaper in the distant past of 1999. His specific job is reading through and warning the senders of any and all emails that have been flagged as inappropriate by their system’s Webfence. In doing this, he comes across multiple exchanges between copy writer Jennifer and film critic Beth. Their emails are witty, personal, sweet, and harmless so he doesn’t send them a warning. Many exchanges later, things start to get a little more complicated. Attachments is about being yourself, even when it seems like that is beyond impossible. It’s hilarious and romantic and nostalgic and deep. It’s also the most fun I’ve had reading someone else’s emails since Meg Cabot’s The Boy Next Door.
There’s something so compelling about Lincoln, about his awkwardness and somewhat arrested development, that keep this from edging over to creepy. Yes, he shouldn’t be reading Beth and Jennifer’s emails without warning them. Yes, he definitely shouldn’t look forward to hearing what they have to say. But it’s so obvious that Lincoln is completely non-threatening (despite his large stature), and he means well. Lincoln is still recovering from an age-old broken heart in a way that shows how deeply he feels things and how important his relationships are to him. His mother takes advantage of that situation too much for me to ever totally forgive her, but it’s not really my place to worry about forgiveness.
It’s also quite easy to see why Lincoln falls for Beth just by her words. The girl is a writer by trade, but she is equal parts quick, funny, and nerdy. I’d be friends with Beth in a heartbeat. The story flows easily between the emails and a third person narrative of Lincoln, and Rowell’s writing shines once again. She can drop a quip that makes you snort, and two pages later she hits you with phrases worthy of their own tumblr posts.
I also have lots of personal reasons to love Attachments. 1999 was my last year of high school, my first year of college. I worked in a television newsroom, so there were many asides to which I could relate. The quote that goes straight to my heart, though? “I knowingly got involved with a guy who plays the tuba.” Yep. Me too, Jennifer.