When You Read This

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What to expect

WHEN YOU READ THIS is a warm, heart-breaker of a novel, and just as you think you might be on the verge of tears, it will tip you over into laughter instead.

On his first day of work at a struggling brand management firm, an ambitious intern discovers a blog created by his predecessor, Iris Massey. Iris, he quickly learns, died a few months earlier, leaving a hole in the life of the firm’s morose boss, Smith. Now, stuck at his desk all day, Carl-the-Intern – whose sky-high aspirations are thwarted only by Smith’s sluggishness – gets hooked on Iris’s blog, and the stories she tells about the life she left behind.

Determined to share her story, Carl and Smith soon track down Iris’ sister Jade, an haute cuisine chef who’s been knocked sideways by her loss, finding solace only in potato chips and red wine. Smith and Jade, tied together by their mutual grief and each carrying their own baggage, end up on a collision course: with their own unresolved pasts, and also with each other.

Funny and moving in equal measures, WHEN YOU READ THIS is a sparkling debut about love, life, and all the emails you really wish you’d never sent.

(P)2019 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

Critics Review

  • This gentle tragicomedy unfolds in a series of text messages, blog posts and emails . . . while dealing sensitively with loss

    Daily Mail
  • When You Read This checks all the essential boxes of Up Lit – thought-provoking, tear-jerking, funny- and adds a delectable epistolary twist.

    Refinery29
  • A touching, funny, and life-affirming tale

    Publishers Weekly
  • As with Maria Semple’s mixed-media masterwork Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Adkins’s debut novel is so much more than its clever style. I read it briskly with a permanent smile on my face, even when the tears were falling . . . miraculous and leaves a lasting impression long after its final moment

    Val Emmich, author of The Reminders and Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel
  • A remarkable new take on the epistolary novel, When You Read This manages to thread the finest of needles: a book about a young woman who died of cancer that is neither maudlin nor sentimental, but rather clear-eyed, poignant, and just as often hilarious as it is sombre . . . memorable

    Doree Shafrir, author of Startup: A Novel
  • Warm, original, funny and heartbreaking, this novel made me drop everything so I could read it in one lovely afternoon . . . inventive and witty, but more importantly it’s honest and wise. I adored it.

    Jennifer Close, author of Girls in White Dresses and The Hopefuls

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