|The much nicer UK cover|
I read a review of this by Hanna at Booking in Heels the other day and thought it sounded interesting, so I put it on hold at the library. And I did enjoy it quite a bit--it's a fun, cute read (not too cute), and a romance, but not sloshy or overly steamy. About the level of romance that I like, in fact.
The premise is a tricky one. It's 1999, and Lincoln gets a job at a newspaper that is finally letting all employees have email and Internet access. It's Lincoln's job to monitor the emails and enforce rules about off-color jokes, gambling, and too much personal email. Meanwhile, the other half of the novel is epistolary; Jennifer and Beth are employees who email each other a lot with everyday chat about their lives, and it gets flagged for checking. As Lincoln reviews their correspondence, he develops a crush on one of the women. He knows perfectly well that it is creepy to read the email of someone you have a crush on, but how to stop when it's kind of his job, and he doesn't want to?
The completely skeevy premise works! For one thing, a novel is not real life (pro tip: don't do this IRL). Even more, Rowell does a great job giving us a character who is a truly good person and conflicted about what he's doing. You can't not love Lincoln, and the same goes for the girl he falls for before he ever sees her.
What Lincoln really reminds me of is that show that was on for a while--Chuck. If you didn't see it, Chuck is this really nice, smart, good guy whose life was derailed in college, and it takes him years to really get himself back together, but you root for him the whole time because he's just such a good person.
I really enjoyed it. A sweet, not-too-fluffy novel that I couldn't put down, and a nice break.