When You Read This
For fans of Maria Semple and Rainbow Rowell, a comedy-drama for the digital age: an epistolary debut novel about the ties that bind and break our hearts.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.

When You Read This Details

TitleWhen You Read This
Author
ReleaseFeb 5th, 2019
PublisherHarper
ISBN-139780062834706
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Womens Fiction, Chick Lit, Adult, Adult Fiction

When You Read This Review

  • Angela M
    January 1, 1970
    This story is not a straight forward narrative and it took me a little while to get into it, into the rhythm of the emails and the blog posts, and the texts that tell this story. Once I did, I couldn’t help but like these characters and feel for them, want them to get through the things they were facing. Most of all I loved how they connected with each other. This was described as a comedy-drama and that’s a good description as it’s not always light, but there are some really humorous parts. It This story is not a straight forward narrative and it took me a little while to get into it, into the rhythm of the emails and the blog posts, and the texts that tell this story. Once I did, I couldn’t help but like these characters and feel for them, want them to get through the things they were facing. Most of all I loved how they connected with each other. This was described as a comedy-drama and that’s a good description as it’s not always light, but there are some really humorous parts. It is about grief and regrets, and coming to terms with the past, and finding ways to move forward, and it it’s full of heart. Iris Massey is dead of cancer at the age of 33, but she looms large throughout this novel as we come to know her through the blog she wrote before she died. It’s moving and enlightening to know her thoughts as she faces death. She leaves a printed copy for her boss and through a post-it note asks him to publish it in book form. Smith Simonyi is having problems trying to pull his life together. He’s divorced, estranged from his mother and his PR business is falling apart and he has a gambling problem. But Smith misses Iris and wants to follow through with her wishes. He contacts Jade, Iris’s sister to get her permission to publish it. Jade has some issues of her own, but she loved her sister. Her refusal is the beginning of a series of e-mails and texts between Jade and Smith. Another character, Carl, the overly ambitious intern who works for Smith didn’t seem to be a central character, but his e-mails to Smith and the things he takes into hand provide a good bit of the humor and move the story along. I found it so fascinating how much we learned about these characters through these writings. I hope that readers will not pass this up because its not a conventionally told story. They would be missing a wonderful debut about life, family, and the beautiful way that people touch each other’s lives.I received an advanced copy of this book from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.
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  • Larry H
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not crying, you're crying.With When You Read This , Mary Adkins has written a novel that is at times funny, poignant, and frustrating (because of the characters' actions or lack thereof; not because of any shortcoming of Adkins).This is a book that deals with being honest with yourself, facing the realities you try to hide, no matter how much they might hurt. It's a book about how we handle grief and regret, and how accepting that others may grieve, too, can actually help us. And it's also I'm not crying, you're crying.With When You Read This , Mary Adkins has written a novel that is at times funny, poignant, and frustrating (because of the characters' actions or lack thereof; not because of any shortcoming of Adkins).This is a book that deals with being honest with yourself, facing the realities you try to hide, no matter how much they might hurt. It's a book about how we handle grief and regret, and how accepting that others may grieve, too, can actually help us. And it's also a book about how we find the strength to start again, sometimes more than once.Iris Massey was only 33 when she died, after battling cancer. For four years, Iris worked as the assistant to PR expert Smith Simonyi, and the two managed his oddball assortment of clients with skill and more than a few outlandish ideas. Iris and Smith thought the same way about things, and each brought out the best in the other.With Iris gone, Smith is adrift. He has more than his share of other problems, problems which threaten the future of his firm, his finances, even his freedom. His clients start leaving the firm and he's unable to find new clients to take their place—and a new, overeager intern threatens to upend everything.Before Iris died, she started a blog about what it's like to face a terminal illness at such a young age, how difficult it is to deal with the fact that your dreams may go unfulfilled, and coming to terms with your feelings about the people in your life. Her dying request is that Smith get her blog posts published in book form, which he thinks is a terrific idea—but first he must convince Iris' prickly sister, Jade.Jade, Iris' opinionated older sister and a chef at a Michelin two-star restaurant, is rocked by grief. She's also preoccupied with concerns about her mother's being able to cope by herself. She feels robbed by Iris' death and wants to hold someone responsible. Did the doctor not prescribe the right treatment? Was Iris' boyfriend good to her? Was Smith holding her back from pursuing her dreams? Jade can't accept the fact that her sister is gone, and she definitely can't accept the idea of publishing Iris' thoughts about dying. When You Read This is told through emails, blog posts (sometimes illustrated with diagrams), text messages, and online therapy posts. You get a unique perspective into the minds of the characters, as you see everything filtered through their eyes. The epistolary style really draws you in, and I think it intensified the emotions I felt as the plot unfolded.I loved this book, even if I found Carl's character to be little more than a device to move the plot along, and I had to re-read a piece near the end to be sure I understood something that had happened. Smith and Jade's characters were fascinating, however, and of course, Iris' presence was tremendously felt throughout the book. I'll admit I teared up more than once while devouring this amazing story.How would it make you feel to read the thoughts of a family member or friend who had died? Would you be able to understand their choices, to honor their wishes? When You Read This gives you a lot to think about. It's definitely a book that will stick with me for a long time to come. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2018.html. You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/yrralh/.
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  • JanB
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a fun twist on the epistolary novel.Iris Massey is dead of terminal cancer at the young age of 33. Smith, her boss at a struggling PR firm, is still reeling from her death when he discovers she had spent 6 months writing a blog filled with her musings. She left instructions for him to publish them after her death. Doesn’t sound too fun yet does it? But, with the help of his overly-eager college intern Carl, Smith attempts to get permission to publish from Iris’s neurotic sister Jade This book is a fun twist on the epistolary novel.Iris Massey is dead of terminal cancer at the young age of 33. Smith, her boss at a struggling PR firm, is still reeling from her death when he discovers she had spent 6 months writing a blog filled with her musings. She left instructions for him to publish them after her death. Doesn’t sound too fun yet does it? But, with the help of his overly-eager college intern Carl, Smith attempts to get permission to publish from Iris’s neurotic sister Jade, and things quickly get complicated. Told in a series of e-mails, blog posts, text messages, and online therapy sessions, their inner lives and the baggage they each carry come to light. Carl the intern is hilarious and provides much of the humor.Equally funny and poignant, this is a look into how to come to terms with regrets, loss, and grief, and move on in life. But make no mistake, this book isn’t drab and depressing. Carl comes along at just the right moments to add the needed levity. The format may be a sign of the digital age but the insight and emotions conveyed are timeless.This was a buddy read with my friend Marialyce. While I enjoyed it a bit more than she did, we both found it to be a worthwhile read.
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  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    So much more than a rom com! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ The first thing that strikes me about When You Read This is that it’s fresh and different! And I love that! It is an epistolary novel for the digital age comprised of emails, texts, and blog posts. Also included were drawings from Iris, the main character. When You Read this is a romantic comedy centered around Iris Massey who is dying from cancer. Notice the juxtaposition in that? She’s dying, but this book is full of humor, insight, and an endearing sweet So much more than a rom com! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ The first thing that strikes me about When You Read This is that it’s fresh and different! And I love that! It is an epistolary novel for the digital age comprised of emails, texts, and blog posts. Also included were drawings from Iris, the main character. When You Read this is a romantic comedy centered around Iris Massey who is dying from cancer. Notice the juxtaposition in that? She’s dying, but this book is full of humor, insight, and an endearing sweetness. Iris works for a public relations hound, Smith Simonyi, when she is given the heartbreaking diagnosis. Not only is her cancer terminal, she has little time left. She secretly writes a blog, which she shares with Smith after she passes away, in hopes that he’ll find a way to publish it. While you would think Iris’ story would be tragic, and it certainly pulled on my heartstrings and made me tear up on several occasions, there is a lightness. I mean lightness, as in airy and refreshing, not as in too easy or trivial. The writing is sincere, and the messages are important in how we handle approaching death for ourselves, and how we come to terms with the death of our loved ones. It’s a topic I connected to on a personal level.In other words, When You Read This was much more than what I expected it would be. The pages are filled with fun, humor, and heart. I’m hoping Mary Adkins will gift us with another book (or three!) that leaves me feeling this same warmth. I buddy read When You Read This with my friend, Mere, and it’s the perfect type of buddy read with topics to discuss and a sentimentality you will want to share with a friend. Thanks to Harper Books for the complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
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  • Meredith B. (readingwithmere)
    January 1, 1970
    4 Heartfelt with a side of Comedic Stars! The thing is, there isn't one meaning that you remember or you don't. It was what it was and is what it is, both simultaneously, along with every version is evolved into along the way, and will, the million interactions all stacked up on top of each other like cans. Iris is a thirty-something year old woman and just found out she only has six months to live due to a deadly cancer diagnosis. She works for Smith, who owns a PR firm. Once Iris passes away ( 4 Heartfelt with a side of Comedic Stars! The thing is, there isn't one meaning that you remember or you don't. It was what it was and is what it is, both simultaneously, along with every version is evolved into along the way, and will, the million interactions all stacked up on top of each other like cans. Iris is a thirty-something year old woman and just found out she only has six months to live due to a deadly cancer diagnosis. She works for Smith, who owns a PR firm. Once Iris passes away (no this isn't a spoiler, it's in the blurb), Smith finds a blog that she kept for the last six months of her life. His business is struggling and he thinks letting the story of his best friend's journey be published can help a lot of people. However, Smith has to get the OK from Iris' sister, Jade. Jade and Smith become unlikely friends and develop a relationship through the love they had of Iris.Smith and Jade continue to communicate in hopes that they can comfort each other. One day Jade finds out about Smith's pitch to a couple publishers in regards to Iris' blog after she explicitly stated she did not want it published. Smith challenges Jade to understand why she wouldn't want that for her sister and what Jade really wants out of life. Ultimately the hurt that they feel and the parallels in their lives help them heal and move forward.This story is full of love, loss, grief and quite a bit of humor. It really shows the different ways that people grieve as well as the way people come together when they're hurting over the same person. I luckily have not known many people to go down the cancer journey but I think this book does a great job of documenting the bits and pieces of what goes on in a cancer patients head. It wasn't sugar coated, it was real and I loved that. This book is not written as a traditional novel. It's all in blog, text and email form, which for me worked, and it made the book a very fast read. It also allowed for Iris' blog to have graphics which helped tell her story. Although it was a story of loss and grief, it didn't make me cry. There were times it was a little sad but I felt it was more of an honor of Iris rather than a pity party. I also loved that because I think everyone deserves to be celebrated. There were also times when it was funny with a few laugh out loud moments or chuckles. I loved the range of emotions.Also, I loved Carl. Carl is Smith's Intern. He is so over the top and the things he said in his emails made me laugh. You love to hate him.Overall, this was a great read and I read it in less than a day. I would definitely recommend if you are looking for something a little on the lighter side and a quick read. These are easily characters to enjoy!Thank you to Harper Books for my advanced copy of this book and for Jen (tarheelreader) for buddy reading with me!
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  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    January 1, 1970
    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/2.5 StarsI think my expectations may have been set a little too high here due to the fact that epistolary novels (confession: I just learned that word about a week ago – I always used the term “mixed media” as my descriptor of stories like these (and probably will continue to do so after this)) have become sort of my bag. The premise here is a decent one: Iris Massey has succumbed to cancer at the young age of 33. In passing, she has b Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/2.5 StarsI think my expectations may have been set a little too high here due to the fact that epistolary novels (confession: I just learned that word about a week ago – I always used the term “mixed media” as my descriptor of stories like these (and probably will continue to do so after this)) have become sort of my bag. The premise here is a decent one: Iris Massey has succumbed to cancer at the young age of 33. In passing, she has bequeathed to her former employer a blog she started upon learning she was not long for this world . . . . . If you think this is any good, feel free to publish it. No pressure just because I’m dead. What comes next is said boss Smith’s attempt to save his flailing business, his interactions with Iris’ half idiot/half mastermind replacement and his ever-evolving relationship with Iris’ sister. This was a giant win for my friends who have read it. Unfortunately, it fell in the “meh” category for me. It took me a good 20% before I even felt like there was a chance I would become interested in any of the characters, I never did grow to like the blog posts and it didn’t make me have any feelings (and I totally just had a feeling about a porny the other day so I do get stricken by them every once in a while). If you want something light and cutesie (I know, creepy term to use about a death book, but it is fitting), this might be just the thing you’re looking for.
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  • Cheri
    January 1, 1970
    “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” The Summer Day - Mary Oliver ”Here’s the thing I need to figure out. This whole time I thought my real life hadn’t started yet. Turns out that was my life. I have six months or so to make that okay, somehow.” A simple thing like a phone call, especially one in the morning shortly after you’ve arrived at your work – early, but not too early, shouldn’t be life changing, shouldn’t herald news of death, especially your own. “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” The Summer Day - Mary Oliver ”Here’s the thing I need to figure out. This whole time I thought my real life hadn’t started yet. Turns out that was my life. I have six months or so to make that okay, somehow.” A simple thing like a phone call, especially one in the morning shortly after you’ve arrived at your work – early, but not too early, shouldn’t be life changing, shouldn’t herald news of death, especially your own. But that is where Iris is when she is told that she has a lifetime of dreams to compress into maybe six months of living, possibly less. She is 33. There is a bittersweet humour in her story, in the way this is told through a variety of emails, her blog posts, her thoughts, and the other characters in this story: Smith who is / was her boss, her mother, her sister Jade, and Carl, an intern hired by Smith after Iris shares her news with Smith. Each character adds a bit more to this story as Smith tries to fulfill Iris’s wish that he publish her blog. As such, the narrative takes some turns, seemingly detours, throughout this story, which gradually merge, a little at a time. Carl, whose energy and ‘enthusiasm’ for his new job have him constantly overstepping his boundaries as an intern, adding frustration to Smith’s life; Smith, who already feels overburdened with bad life choices, a divorce, money problems, and missing Iris’s presence in his life, is trying to fulfill Iris’s wish, so he contacts Jade, to let her know that Iris had asked him to publish her blog. An exchange of emails, texts follow, and more of their stories, their relationships with Iris, and with others, add even more to the story. Iris may be gone from this life, but she lives on through their love in these pages, we come to know more of her life story, and more of the others, as well. I loved that Iris had a dream of, and a savings account for, opening a bakery, and that her sister Jade is a chef who hates desserts, or anything sweet, and that they included a recipe she creates with a thought of pursuing her sister’s dream.A touching often bittersweet epistolary patchwork made up of family drama, a dash of romance, a pinch of satire with a smidgen of sweet make this a pleasure to read. The insight into the emotions of grief and regret that come with a loved one’s passing make it a heartfelt message on handling grief, and all that it entails. A literary hug.Many thanks, once again, to the Public Library system, and the many Librarians that manage, organize and keep it running, for the loan of this book!
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  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    Thirty three years old and dead of cancer. This is an age where many are just starting to live and find their way and place in the world, and yet for Iris Massey, life was at an end. She worked for Smith Simonyi, and it is he who is surprised by a blog written by Iris that contained her musings about life, death, love and longing. The blog was a sad, yet oftentimes humorous look at life and death. Carl, an over zealous intern, though not too hard working intern, and Smith decide to honor Iris's Thirty three years old and dead of cancer. This is an age where many are just starting to live and find their way and place in the world, and yet for Iris Massey, life was at an end. She worked for Smith Simonyi, and it is he who is surprised by a blog written by Iris that contained her musings about life, death, love and longing. The blog was a sad, yet oftentimes humorous look at life and death. Carl, an over zealous intern, though not too hard working intern, and Smith decide to honor Iris's last wish which was to have her blog published. Entering into this, was Iris's sister, Jade, who is reeling from the loss of her sister. She doesn't want the blog published so she enters this war of words with Smith and as they battle one another verbally, they learn not only about Iris but also about themselves.I have to say, I am not a fan of books that tend to be on the gimmicky side. I think the gimmicks often take away something, (don't ask me what exactly), from the telling. I guess I prefer the words, and yes, there were some wonderful words in this story, to be the harbingers of the book. Did I laugh, you bet. Did I cry, well no, but I did feel sadness, and in the end is that not what a book should do, make you feel something? This was a book to make you think of what the loss of a young life does and how in the end, life does go on, but for those left behind the void can never be filled. Jan and I read this one together and we had a slightly different view on this book. To see our reviews you can go here: http://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpress...
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  • Nikki (Saturday Nite Reader)
    January 1, 1970
    Has a book ever made you laugh and cry at the same time? Well this book will make you "craugh" and craugh hard. The story unfolded over a series of emails, texts and blog posts. I had never read a book entirely in that format and it totally worked here. It was expertly done! I read a majority of this book in one sitting because I needed to keep turning the page. Thirty-three year old Iris Massey has died of a terminal illness. She left behind a blog and instructions to her former boss, Smith, to Has a book ever made you laugh and cry at the same time? Well this book will make you "craugh" and craugh hard. The story unfolded over a series of emails, texts and blog posts. I had never read a book entirely in that format and it totally worked here. It was expertly done! I read a majority of this book in one sitting because I needed to keep turning the page. Thirty-three year old Iris Massey has died of a terminal illness. She left behind a blog and instructions to her former boss, Smith, to share her words with the world. Smith along with those close to Iris are experiencing and dealing with grief in different ways, which makes Smith's task of publishing Iris' work a bit of a challenge. Author Mary Adkins wrote of different grief journeys in a beautiful way. It felt as if all the blog posts, texts and emails I read were from real people. It was authentic and raw, and communicated with a side of humor: with such a delicate subject, the author inserted humor at all the right places. There are even budding romances in the book - but do not feel forced- it all felt very real. So you can see why one would "craugh" throughout the book. ;)I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did! I definitely recommend the read.Thank you to the kind folks at Harper who sent me an advanced reader’s copy of this book!To read my reviews visit: www.saturdaynitereader.com 
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  • Chris
    January 1, 1970
    This debut novel is written as a series of documents; diary entries, emails, texts, blogs, drawings, paper. Its done in an epistolary manner. Four main characters:Iris Massey, 33 years old, assistant to Smith - recently diagnosed with cancer, given six months to live. All her hopes and dreams, thoughts, feelings and regrets. She puts these out there to share with us. It’s a fine reminder for us all to live our lives to the fullest and that life is too short. Smith Simonyi, owner of a flailing br This debut novel is written as a series of documents; diary entries, emails, texts, blogs, drawings, paper. Its done in an epistolary manner. Four main characters:Iris Massey, 33 years old, assistant to Smith - recently diagnosed with cancer, given six months to live. All her hopes and dreams, thoughts, feelings and regrets. She puts these out there to share with us. It’s a fine reminder for us all to live our lives to the fullest and that life is too short. Smith Simonyi, owner of a flailing branding PR firm. Iris’ illness and death have really impacted him. He also suffers from a cold hearted divorce and prior child family abuse. He has a serious gambling problem. Carl, the new intern/Iris’ replacement (and what a character this guy is! He’s comical and nosy and flagrant and gets involved in what he shouldn’t and puts out too much information; yet he’s so integral in this story plot). I laughed out loud a few times which helped to lighten up the sad parts. Jade, Iris’ sister. These two sisters are nothing alike. Their personalities are so different. Jade is/was a haute cuisine chef at a Michelin restaurant and is a bit lost in life, especially after the loss of Iris. At the start of the book, Iris goes to the doctor and has some tests and discovers she has cancer at the age of 33. Suddenly her life flies before her eyes; will she survive this, will she die? She starts her treatments and she also decides to start a blog on herself and her cancer journey. It’s quite interesting to see and hear what’s on her mind. We get to hear her different thoughts and see hand drawn pictures she posts and the answers she gets in return from her blog group (some funny, some crass, some rude, some emphatetic). Her family did not know she had this blog, nor her employer, or her new boyfriend, until the very end. Iris’ final wish was that Smith publish her blog communications, but this does not go over very smoothly with Jade. Each of these characters is flawed in some way. No one is ever perfect. They all have some backstories. It is Iris, though, who in death, brings them all together, through their knowing each other and working together. Even though she is gone, she is able to help them process their grief, heartache, unaccomplished dreams, and get unstuck and get moving forward. To see and experience life to its absolute fullest, which she was, sadly, not able to do. I read through this book pretty quickly as the pages were not filled completely with text as in a regular book. I did enjoy the set up style; I felt as if I was just reading through someone’s personal emails, phone conversations, texts, medical files, and hand drawn art work. Before I knew it, I was on the last page!
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve always been a huge fan of epistolary novels, there’s such an intimate feeling when you’re reading someone’s emails or text messages that satisfies my nosy side. Most of the ones I’ve read in the past have been on the lighter side, but this has some heavy moments, (it does take place after Iris’ death after all) that really gave this one unexpected depth for me.The stars of the show are Jade and Smith, but there’s a supporting cast of quirky characters that brought some much needed life and I’ve always been a huge fan of epistolary novels, there’s such an intimate feeling when you’re reading someone’s emails or text messages that satisfies my nosy side. Most of the ones I’ve read in the past have been on the lighter side, but this has some heavy moments, (it does take place after Iris’ death after all) that really gave this one unexpected depth for me.The stars of the show are Jade and Smith, but there’s a supporting cast of quirky characters that brought some much needed life and light to a oftentimes sad tale. Jade and Smith begin communicating after Iris dies and begin to find comfort in each other that they both desperately need. Just when things would get a little depressing Carl, Smith’s intern would appear with some off the wall idea or big gaffe that would crack me up.If you’re a fan of epistolary definitely check this out, a really fast and surprisingly fun read that charmed me.When You Read This in three words: Fresh, Poignant and Touching.
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  • Lori L (She Treads Softly)
    January 1, 1970
    When You Read This by Mary Adkins is a very highly recommended, heart-breaking epistolary novel set in our current digital-age.Iris Massey, 33, worked for four years helping clients perfect their brands alongside Smith Simonyi in his PR firm. Once she found out she only had six months to live, she began blogging on Dying to Blog, a blogging platform for the terminally ill. Now, after Iris has died, Smith is surprised to learn about her blog. She also had one final request for Smith: she wants hi When You Read This by Mary Adkins is a very highly recommended, heart-breaking epistolary novel set in our current digital-age.Iris Massey, 33, worked for four years helping clients perfect their brands alongside Smith Simonyi in his PR firm. Once she found out she only had six months to live, she began blogging on Dying to Blog, a blogging platform for the terminally ill. Now, after Iris has died, Smith is surprised to learn about her blog. She also had one final request for Smith: she wants him to get her blog posts published as a book. Smith looks at fulfilling this request with the help of his new intern Carl, while trying to get approval from Iris's sister, Jade. Jade, however, is adamantly opposed to this, but the two begin a correspondence and relationship while trying to deal with their grief.The chapters in this novel are all emails, blog posts, online therapy sessions, text messages, legal correspondence, charts and graphs, comments, instant messages, etc., that work together to create a montage of interpersonal communication and relationships in the digital age. I enjoy epistolary novels when they offer insight into characters and situations. This one is an excellent example of the format. The communications are charming, tragic, insightful, hilarious (yes, there are some very funny moments), surprising, empathetic, belligerent, and self-aware. They provide the platform for present day actions and part of the backstory to the flawed characters.Adkins did a great job keeping all the various correspondence from the characters true to their personalities along with what they are experiencing, feeling, and thinking. Carl is the impetus for much of the humor, along with Smith's patience with him. There were also several heartbreaking things shared, helping to further the development of the characters through this modern format. While the layout of this novel may not appeal to everyone, for those who can appreciate the format When You Read This is a real treat. Oh, and expect to cry. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2019/0...
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    Not at all what I was expecting, but this one was satisfyingly odd :)
  • Kate ☀️ Olson
    January 1, 1970
    Compulsively readable, this epistolary novel is quirky and reveals so much of human nature. I read the entire book in a day! Told entirely through emails, it tells the story of a woman who died of cancer in her early thirties, and the people she left behind - her boss, sister, mother and boyfriend. Throw in the new intern who takes over at her PR firm and the clients at the firm, and this zany tale is one you won't forget. And while it's about grief, it is also about so much more. This one fills Compulsively readable, this epistolary novel is quirky and reveals so much of human nature. I read the entire book in a day! Told entirely through emails, it tells the story of a woman who died of cancer in her early thirties, and the people she left behind - her boss, sister, mother and boyfriend. Throw in the new intern who takes over at her PR firm and the clients at the firm, and this zany tale is one you won't forget. And while it's about grief, it is also about so much more. This one fills my spot for "epistolary novel or book of letters" for the 2019 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge!
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  • Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)
    January 1, 1970
    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, 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.)Thank you Harper Books for this copy.
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  • MaryBeth's Bookshelf
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Harper Books for gifting me a copy of When You Read This in exchange for an honest review.When Iris Massey dies of cancer, her loss is felt by everyone that knew her. Told through text messages, Iris's blog posts, messages to therapists between Iris's sister, Jade, and e-mails between Jade, Iris's old boss, Simon, and Simon's crazy new assistant, Carl, Adkins weaves a beautiful story of loss, life, and love. I adored this book. It made me laugh, it made me cry.
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  • SueKich
    January 1, 1970
    e-pistolary.Using emails, texts and blog posts to convey a story is now a somewhat hackneyed device but it invariably makes for a fun, breezy read and this – despite its dark side - is no exception. The characters fairly pop out at you from their missives: Smith Simonyi the surprisingly tolerant owner of a struggling PR firm, Carl his annoyingly ambitious intern, Jade the star chef who’s walked out of her job and her younger sister Iris who worked as Smith’s assistant. It is the blog about Iris’ e-pistolary.Using emails, texts and blog posts to convey a story is now a somewhat hackneyed device but it invariably makes for a fun, breezy read and this – despite its dark side - is no exception. The characters fairly pop out at you from their missives: Smith Simonyi the surprisingly tolerant owner of a struggling PR firm, Carl his annoyingly ambitious intern, Jade the star chef who’s walked out of her job and her younger sister Iris who worked as Smith’s assistant. It is the blog about Iris’s imminent death from cancer that is the glue holding the plot together. This is a promising debut by Mary Adkins: smart writing, wry humour and a light touch with her serious central subject matter. I found Smith Simonyi to be an immensely appealing protagonist - I’d rather like to hear more from him.My thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for the review copy courtesy of NetGalley.
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  • Jasprit
    January 1, 1970
    I went into When You Read This not really sure what I was expecting, and to be honest this book did end up surprising me in a lot of ways. Although the story was given to us from the main character Iris’ blog, I liked how despite Iris not being here anymore, the blog had an effect on all those left behind. Those individuals who were an integral part of her of life were bought together in the most unexpected of ways. I really liked the way the story was given to us in the form of emails and text I went into When You Read This not really sure what I was expecting, and to be honest this book did end up surprising me in a lot of ways. Although the story was given to us from the main character Iris’ blog, I liked how despite Iris not being here anymore, the blog had an effect on all those left behind. Those individuals who were an integral part of her of life were bought together in the most unexpected of ways. I really liked the way the story was given to us in the form of emails and text messages, I’ve read a handful of books where this format has worked before, and I’m pleased to say that Adkins was also able to make it work with this book too. It is typically an unusual format, but once you got to know the characters, the story really begins to flow easily amongst them. Despite the story focusing on loss, I liked how Adkins was able to sprinkle some humour in the story too and gave us some lighter scenes to turn too when things became a little grim. I wish I had more of a connection with certain characters, that definitely would have made this story for me, but overall I did enjoy this book and how Adkins showed people dealing with a loss in their own different way.
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  • Cozydayscoffeebooks
    January 1, 1970
    Leider hat mich das Buch mehr als nur enttäuscht. Ich fand es sehr langweilig und bis auf die Blogbeiträge der Verstorbenen konnte mich nichts an die Geschichte fesseln, da mir ein roter Faden gefehlt hat.
  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    When You Read This is a story told thru emails, text messages and blog posts. I am not sure what genre I would classify this book as. It reads a bit like Women's Fiction mixed with some comedy and a bit of romance.This story is about Iris. She dies and we get to see how she affected those around her. We get to read her blog entries (after her death). We see how her boss Smith and her sister Jade are coping in the aftermath.It was an interesting way to tell a story. But I found the book sort of s When You Read This is a story told thru emails, text messages and blog posts. I am not sure what genre I would classify this book as. It reads a bit like Women's Fiction mixed with some comedy and a bit of romance.This story is about Iris. She dies and we get to see how she affected those around her. We get to read her blog entries (after her death). We see how her boss Smith and her sister Jade are coping in the aftermath.It was an interesting way to tell a story. But I found the book sort of sad and a bit morbid (reading the blog of a dead woman).The book does have some funny parts. Mainly to do with Smith and his intern Carl. Carl is constantly doing things that completely mess up Smith. But I just found most of these things to be super annoying.I liked Smith. And I enjoyed Iris's sister Jade. But unfortunately I just found this book to be somewhat depressing. The book was just okay for me.Thanks to edelweiss and HarperCollins for allowing me to read this book.
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  • Blodeuedd Finland
    January 1, 1970
    This was different. I have read books like this but I have never done it in audio. At first I was not sure, but it did work really well and you felt really close to everyone.The book takes place after Iris' death. Her boss Simon is struggling with losing her. Her sister is struggling with loosing her. He wants to publish her blog (as was her wish), and her sister does not like it.So what do we get? We get emails and text messages between these too as they get to know each other better. We get em This was different. I have read books like this but I have never done it in audio. At first I was not sure, but it did work really well and you felt really close to everyone.The book takes place after Iris' death. Her boss Simon is struggling with losing her. Her sister is struggling with loosing her. He wants to publish her blog (as was her wish), and her sister does not like it.So what do we get? We get emails and text messages between these too as they get to know each other better. We get emails from his intern Carl, who is so so annoying, but whom you still have to like. And everything else in a modern world. Online therapy, spam, you name it. And it does work.I'd say the only thing I did not get a sense of was how everyone looked. I really could not picture them at all when it was in this way.Also, yes we do get Iris too, but only though her blog posts, which I guess does not make this as sad as it could have been. which is a good thing.As it was now. I enjoyed it. It was sure a different way to listen to audio.NarratorI liked her, and omg her Carl voice was exactly him! She brought order to this book as it was done in this format.
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  • Taylor (shihtzus.and.book.reviews)
    January 1, 1970
    IM NOT CRYING! YOU ARE!! Full review to come!
  • Susan's Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    Well, this book certainly had its funny moments, as well as several poignant blog excerpts. Poor Iris is given only about six months to live, and, as she posts on her blog, she is not ready to go. But she has no choice in the matter, so she starts to "get her affairs in order". And even though Iris does die as predicted, we discover that she left one last card up her sleeve: she stipulated that Smith should have her blog published after her death, and she knew her sister Jade would have to work Well, this book certainly had its funny moments, as well as several poignant blog excerpts. Poor Iris is given only about six months to live, and, as she posts on her blog, she is not ready to go. But she has no choice in the matter, so she starts to "get her affairs in order". And even though Iris does die as predicted, we discover that she left one last card up her sleeve: she stipulated that Smith should have her blog published after her death, and she knew her sister Jade would have to work with Smith on this posthumous project. Iris was reaching out/down from the celestial plane to play cupid. But she had help on the terrestrial plane from Carl, the crazy and hilarious college intern, who managed to move the story along.Reading books like this make me want to book another trip to Paris or London, or chuck my demanding day job and starve in a garret for art. But not really! Life is often mundane, and the majority of us can't live at top speed, unless you are an adrenaline junky. Many of us live vicariously by reading about others' adventures. So, do we avid readers really live, you might ask?You bet: reading has enriched my travels and my relationships with family and friends. Hopefully, we become more enlightened and tolerant people as a result of all the reading we do. I know that THIS book affected me. I'm not going to start a bucket list or go sky-diving, but maybe I will try to enjoy each day a bit more, and challenge myself with something new every once in a while? I highly recommend this book.
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  • Jenny Eulenmatz
    January 1, 1970
    INHALT:Jades Leben liegt in Scherben, seit ihre Schwester Iris mit 33 Jahren an Krebs starb. Auch Smith, Inhaber einer maroden New Yorker PR-Agentur, hat mit dem Verlust zu kämpfen. Noch immer schreibt er seiner verstorbenen Assistentin Iris E-Mails, so sehr fehlt ihm ihre humorvolle Art. Als Smith herausfindet, dass Iris bis kurz vor ihrem Tod einen Blog über ihre Krankheit geschrieben hat, setzt er alles daran, ihn zu veröffentlichen und kontaktiert ihre Schwester - Jade jedoch vermutet, er wo INHALT:Jades Leben liegt in Scherben, seit ihre Schwester Iris mit 33 Jahren an Krebs starb. Auch Smith, Inhaber einer maroden New Yorker PR-Agentur, hat mit dem Verlust zu kämpfen. Noch immer schreibt er seiner verstorbenen Assistentin Iris E-Mails, so sehr fehlt ihm ihre humorvolle Art. Als Smith herausfindet, dass Iris bis kurz vor ihrem Tod einen Blog über ihre Krankheit geschrieben hat, setzt er alles daran, ihn zu veröffentlichen und kontaktiert ihre Schwester - Jade jedoch vermutet, er wolle lediglich Geld machen, um seine Agentur zu retten. Kann es ein Happy End für zwei Menschen geben, die schon vor langer Zeit aufgehört haben, an ein Happy End zu glauben?MEINUNG:Wenn du das hier liest gehört für mich in die Kategorie Briefromane, wenn auch hier in  einer modernen Variante. Ich bin großer Fan von solcher Art Romanen, denn es fasziniert mich immer wieder aufs Neue, wie man durch diese indirekte Form eine Geschichte erzählen kann.Der Roman besteht zu großen Teilen aus E-Mails, aber auch aus Einträgen von einem Blog, den Iris vor ihrem Tod geführt hat. Der Roman beginnt damit, dass Iris vor einem Jahr gestorben ist. Zurück gelassen hat sie u.a. Jade, ihre große Schwester und ihren ehemaligen Chef, Smith, der ihr immer noch schreibt, was Jade eines Tages entdeckt. Dazwischen gibt es noch Smiths Praktikanten Carl, den ich sehr gerne mochte, weil er höchst amüsant war und recht proaktiv vorgeht, was aber das ein oder andere Mal kräftig daneben geht.Obwohl Iris bereits seit einem Jahr tot ist, scheinen sowohl Smith als auch Jade deren Tod noch nicht besonders gut verarbeitet zu haben. Besonders bei Jade spürt man auch, dass sie ihre Schwester und deren Leben vielleicht gar nicht so gut kannte, wie sie glaubte. Die beiden haben auch kein einfaches Verhältnis zu ihrer Mutter. Iris mehr als Jade. Ich hatte auch den Eindruck, dass Iris als jüngere Schwester immer ein wenig das Nachsehen hatte, was Aufmerksamkeit und Wahrnehmung durch ihre Familie anging. Dessen wird sich auch Jade bewusst. Nur leider gibt es nun keine Möglichkeit das wieder aufzuholen.Die Blogeinträge von Iris sind sehr eindringlich, manchmal lustig, manchmal verzweifelt und manchmal tief traurig. Untermalt hat sie das mit verschiedenen Grafiken, die allerdings etwas seltsam fand. Allerdings waren sie als Reaktion auf die Blogbetreiber gedacht, die meinten, sie könne nicht nur Fließtext veröffentlichen, wenn sie viele Leser und Klicks möchte. Die Grafiken als Reaktion darauf fand ich dann allerdings sehr amüsant.Smith hat auch ein Haufen Probleme. Er ist spielsüchtig, hat ein schwieriges Verhältnis zu seiner Mutter bzw. seinen Eltern, seine Firma ist fast pleite und er hintergeht seine Klienten. Iris war ihm sehr wichtig. Möglicherweise kann man es als Verliebtheit bezeichnen. Auf jeden Fall hat ihr Tod bei ihm ein relativ großes Loch hinterlassen. Auf diesem Weg trifft er Jade, die auch merkt, dass ihr Leben so nicht weitergehen kann. Zwischen den beiden bahnt sich etwas an, was man aber immer nur so ein einem Halbsatz mitbekommt. Das gilt für so einige Themen. Es gibt manchmal Dinge, die dem Leser vorenthalten werden. Hier empfand ich die Umsetzung nicht ganz gelungen. Die Geschichte braucht auch, um in Fahrt zu kommen. Der Fokus lag ganz eindeutig darauf, dass Jade und Smith erkennen, was ihnen wichtig ist nach der Phase der akuten Trauer um Iris. FAZIT:Auf Wenn du das hier liest habe ich mich wahnsinnig gefreut, weil ich einfach eine Schwäche für Briefromane habe. Ich bin mir sicher, dass diese Art von Roman zu schreiben nicht einfach und ich kann das auch nur immer wieder nur honorieren, aber leider konnte mich diesmal die Umsetzung nicht so richtig überzeugen. Ich vergebe 3 von 5 Sternen.
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  • BookOfCinz
    January 1, 1970
    +B for being Charming There is something about a book written in email/text format that makes it charming for me. I may sound like a creep but something about reading other people's digital communication makes it more interesting and engaging. I did enjoy some parts of the book, other parts really dragged on or felt force. Overall I loved how Adkins was able to maintain strong character voices through the email communications. The book went between being sad and charming and wasn't able to stri +B for being Charming There is something about a book written in email/text format that makes it charming for me. I may sound like a creep but something about reading other people's digital communication makes it more interesting and engaging. I did enjoy some parts of the book, other parts really dragged on or felt force. Overall I loved how Adkins was able to maintain strong character voices through the email communications. The book went between being sad and charming and wasn't able to strike a good balance, however for the most part I did enjoy the book. I particularly loved Carl's emails. A somewhat light and fun read to clear your palette.
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  • Kristen Beverly
    January 1, 1970
    Loved it! This book is hilarious, moving and tear jerking all at the same time. At the end I cried big fat baby tears. It’s told through a series of emails and blogs, but still manages to capture the reader and endear you to each of the characters. I received an early manuscript for review purposes. Full review to come.
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  • Suzze Tiernan
    January 1, 1970
    Written as emails, blog posts and texts. After Iris dies, her sister, her boss and the intern who takes over her position discuss publishing her blog posts as she was dying. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad.
  • Saly
    January 1, 1970
    This one was okay! I expected too much I guess and I also felt I never really "got" to see characters interacting only read about in emails. All characters in this are flawed, gambling addict, abusive parents, dead parents, relationship hang-ups etc. It could be a case of just me.
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  • Sarah Russell
    January 1, 1970
    What a fun, but also sentimental book. Reads like a rom-com but you’ll also find yourself crying in parts. Debuts can be risky, but I loved this one and can’t wait for Mary Adkins to release her next book.
  • Georgette
    January 1, 1970
    OMG. Bawling at the end. What a great book about the end. Sisters, coworkers, friends, lovers. And what you leave behind. Loved it!
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