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Review: The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

Where did I get this book? My local library!

Where did I get this book? My local library!

This engaging novel, written by two best friends, explores the consequences that arise when a jilted bride has the chance to rewrite her own history–on social media.

After her fiance Max breaks the news at the rehearsal dinner that he can’t go through with their wedding, Kate is crushed. She doesn’t know how she can possibly explain what’s happened to all the people posting congratulatory messages on her Facebook feed, especially when she doesn’t understand what’s happened herself.

When Kate posts a status update wishing she could go back and do the past month over, she gets an unexpected second chance at saving her relationship with Max. It’s not surprising that her efforts have unintended consequences, but the story has enough twists and turns to keep it fresh and interesting. The book’s real strength lies in its depiction of strong and lasting friendship, as Kate’s friends Jules and Liam do their best to support her even after she throws them for a loop with her crazy tales of time travel.

In the end, The Status of All Things serves as a good reminder that the lives we see on Facebook are rarely as effortless and perfect as they appear.

Genre: Female friendship fiction with a time travel twist.

Read it if: You love the movie My Best Friend’s Wedding, the collected works of Jennifer Weiner, and/or Landline by Rainbow Rowell; you spend too much time looking at your friends’ perfect lives on Facebook; you have always dreamed of a do-over button.

Skip it if: You have difficulty suspending disbelief when confronted with Freaky Friday style plot devices; you really can’t stand Facebook; you are squeamish about occasional use of profanity and very mildly naughty bachelorette parties.

Movie-worthy: This definitely has potential–its success would depend entirely on casting.

Best enjoyed with: A mocha from Starbucks or shots of Pappy van Winkle.

Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

LandlineWhen Rainbow Rowell has a new book out, I don’t even bother to read what it’s about. I just buy it. Ever since I got my hands on an advanced reader’s copy of her first novel, Attachments, I have been a huge fan of her funny, heart-warming style and her lovable characters.

In Landline, 37-year-old Georgie McCool is looking at what might be the biggest opportunity of her successful career: a chance to run her own TV show along with her longtime writing partner Seth. The catch: finishing the four scripts she needs for the big meeting would mean working over Christmas, separated from her husband and two daughters.

Georgie’s husband, Neal, is a man of few words. He has stayed home with the kids while Georgie pursued her dreams and although Georgie knows he isn’t particularly happy in LA, she has taken his help and support for granted. Unable to reach him at his mother’s house in Omaha, increasingly unsure whether Neal has left for Christmas or for good, Georgie begins to wonder if her choices have jeopardized her marriage.

While Georgie is crashing at her mom’s house, she pulls out an old rotary phone and attempts to reach her husband on the landline at his ¬†mother’s in Omaha. She discovers that, somehow, she can use the phone to speak with Neal in 1998–the Christmas break after their big fight in college, the last time she thought they might have broken up.

I’ll be honest here, people: if this were any other author, I would snort derisively and toss the book aside at this point. A magic phone? Seriously? But since this is Rainbow Rowell we’re talking about, I not only continued to read but couldn’t put the book down. Tension builds as Georgie struggles to focus on her work while the looming questions about her marriage distract her; in the meantime, her nightly conversations with 1998 Neal remind her why she fell in love in the first place.

It’s possible this book resonates with me even more because I married at about the same age as Georgie, and 16 years later a lot has changed. It is all too easy to forget who we were all those years ago, broke and in love, ridiculously optimistic and really, really young. Four kids and a few countries later, I loved reading this book not least for its funny, heartfelt depiction of marriage and parenthood, and because it reminded me of my own choices and why I’m still very glad I made them.

Genre: Contemporary fiction with a magical twist

Read it if: you already love Rainbow Rowell, you fell in love in the 1990s and want to have flashbacks, or you can’t resist a novel featuring a bedazzled pug sweatshirt.

Skip it if: you dislike funny heartwarming books about married people pushing forty; you have strong feelings about strong language; you have an unreasonable hatred of Omaha.

Movie-worthy: Yes! The casting would have to be perfect, but this would make a great movie. They could release it at Christmas. I demand to see this movie!


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