Library Journal Review
DEBUT Four short months after she was diagnosed with lung cancer, 33-year-old Iris Massey breathed her last, leaving behind her grief-paralyzed older sister, Jade, and equally devastated boss, Smith Simonyi, who runs a flailing PR management firm. Jade walks away from a successful career as an in--demand chef, and Smith is in danger of tanking his business with gambling debts. Enter sassy millennial Carl Van Snyder III, hired by Smith as an intern for Iris's position. Carl discovers a blog that Iris wrote as she was dying, with instructions to publish it, warts and all. Thus begins the quest to make Iris's last wish a reality. Told entirely in emails, texts, and blog entries, the narrative traces the collision between good intentions vs. privacy-triggered resistance, angry distrust vs. cautious contact for comfort, mixed with perfectly timed comedic moments of relief. VERDICT Debut novelist Adkins brilliantly captures the rhythms and cadences of the epistolary format in the digital age through a delightful cast of quirky, imperfect characters, both dead and alive. Tart, sweet, poignant, and rich with humor; completely irresistible. [See Prepub Alert, 8/27/18.]-Beth Andersen, formerly with Ann -Arbor Dist. Lib., MI © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Iris Massey may be dead, but her story isn't over in Adkins's endearing epistolary novel for the modern age. Before the events of the novel, Iris has died of cancer; prior to her death, she had maintained a secret blog about her health during treatment. After Iris's former boss and close friend, Smith Simonyi, learns of the blog, he approaches Iris's sister, Jade, about having the blog made into a book. Jade is not only opposed, but furious with Smith for wanting to reveal such private writing. After a rocky start, Smith and Jade eventually start corresponding about Iris, whom Smith misses so much he continues to "talk" to her over email. Jade, meanwhile, dedicates herself to researching a potential malpractice lawsuit against Iris's doctors and an email-based therapist. Told entirely in email exchanges and blog excerpts, the novel follows Jade and Smith as they help each other move on after Iris's death. Smith's emails to Iris are realistically personal, like diary entries, and Jade's initial defensiveness is an understandable coping mechanism. Although the format doesn't allow the characters to come fully to life, Adkins's debut is a touching, funny, and life-affirming tale. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.