[mild spoilerage included]
This novel is incredibly poignant. Teresa Medeiros has hit a vein with the topic and structure of her book. To recap it quickly for you, the heroine, Abby meets a random man on Twitter, embarks on a series of conversations and becomes close to him rather quickly. Subsequently, she overcomes the stagnation in her life to enter a period of progress. Slowly Abby finds out that her online friend has been keeping some important ‘real life’ details from her.. to find out how she reacts you will need to pick up the novel yourself.
To start off, the structure of the book is quite unusual, as it mostly follows the online conversations between the characters, rather than go into long descriptions of their internal states. Embrace it. This is our reality today, and the majority of relationships feature a heavy element of online talk/ texting/ or another digital element. It might make the majority of us nostalgic, but it rings true, and the enormous gratification Abby feels from her interaction with Mark is real. Many of us who work from home (or have been unemployed like me!) are interacting with our circle of friends mostly online (or via phone). The era we exist in has forged slightly different rules for communication, but they aren’t any less legitimate. The characters got to know each other while jumping straight into deep personal topics and shedding the awkwardness of in-person conversations. Abby did have difficulty communicating with the world that surrounded her (there was a note about her loving the immersion into New York’s anonymity) and Mark was impeded in other ways. Luckily Mark’s secrecy wasn’t covering up anything disturbing - when the discovery was made, I found the moment quite profound and associated with Abby’s awkward first reaction.
I highly recommend this novel to anyone who is looking to reevaluate how they communicate with others, as well as weigh in on the gratifying aspects of both online/ in person communication. Buffy fans will love some of the references as well. ;-)