Review: When You Read This by Mary Adkins


Release date: February 5, 2019

Publisher: Harper

Genre: Contemporary Fiction


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. 


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.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

3 thoughts on “Review: When You Read This by Mary Adkins

  1. Ola says:

    I haven’t ready any epistolary novel for ages, but I do like them, for the same reason as you do, they so intimate and satisfy my nosiness 🙂 I might read this one, thanks for the review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s