Thursday, July 3, 2014

ARC Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Landline
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: July 8, 2014 by St. Martin's Press
Amazon Goodreads

Synopsis: From New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell, comes a hilarious, heart-wrenching take on love, marriage, and magic phones.

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply—but that almost seems beside the point now.
Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her—Neal is always a little upset with Georgie—but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts. . . .
Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

*** I received a copy of this book by the publisher at BEA in return for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion in any way***

You guys know I LOVE Rainbow Rowell and her writing style. Two of her books are in my top five of the year and she is absolutely on my auto-buy list. I was so excited to get an ARC of Landline at BEA (especially after the struggle it took me to get it) and experience a more adult Rainbow Rowell. That's exactly what this book was, Rainbow Rowell all grown up.

Now I don't just mean this because the characters are pushing 40, even though they are. What I mean is that unlike most of Rainbow's books that deal with first love and finding love, this is a very different love story. It is a story about staying in love after all these years. It's a story about making love work through the troubles and turmoil that can plague it. One could argue that this is merely a cliched "chick lit" romance that follows all the rules and tropes of those types of stories and you would be right, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. The plot is creative and imaginative with the main character of Georgie who's marriage is on the rocks being able to communicate with her estranged husband via a magical phone that allows her to talk to him just before he proposed fifteen years previously. If it sounds crazy, it is, but that's part of it's charm. It's silly and unbelievable but it's also sweet and romantic.

But despite the fact that it's a big of a divergence from her usual thing, this book is classic Rainbow Rowell. What she does so brilliantly as a writer of Contemporary novels is walk the line between the lighthearted moments and the heavy with effortless brilliance. And while Landline wasn't laugh out loud funny like some of her other books, it was silly and absurd enough to break the tension with the difficult moments in the story. The way Rainbow writes just feels so real. She captures the highs and lows of love and life.

What she also does so brilliantly is create characters who are so realistic and relatable. Usually it is so easy for me to put myself in the shoes of her protagonists because I've already walked a mile in their moccasins but with Landline I didn't have much personal experience to pull from. However that didn't prevent me from being able to connect with Georgie and want to see her succeed. The characters have such depth and complexities that you can't help but compare them to yourself, or a friend and family member. Landline was no exception. Every last character was interesting, flawed, complex, and like someone I know personally. Reading a Rainbow Rowell book is like reading about people you know, and who doesn't love that?

The only thing I really missed from this book, that I got in all her other books, was the book hangover and feeling of hopelessness that her books usually leave me with (but who's complaining). I did however realize something after reading this book, none of Rainbow Rowell's books really concludes the story. Sure it has a resolution, but it always leaves you wondering what happens next (this is where I mention that there's an Easter Egg where two previous characters have a cameo). But that non-resolved resolution is another thing that makes her such a brilliant and realistic writer. It's not like all of our problems could be wrapped up with a shiny bow in thirty minutes or less. That's just not life, and Rainbow Rowell writes about real life! Life is messy and open-ended. It leaves you with questions and uncertainty but find memories of a time well-spent. That was Landline in a nutshell.

Yes the plot and ending was a tad predictable but this book is an entertaining and delightful contemporary read perfect for your beach bag. You'll want to read it all in one sitting and find yourself staying up way too late reading it without even realizing that you just devoured it whole.

I give Landline by Rainbow Rowell a 9 out of 10

It is the perfect summer beach read. Fans of Rainbow Rowell will love to grow with her writing. I would absolutely recommend this book especially to fans of Contemporary novels or people who like chick flicks.

Have you read Landline? What were your thoughts? Leave me a comment and let's keep the conversation going. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. Great review! This sounds very different from YA books that I typically read and review so I'm interested in reading it soon, hopefully!

    You mentioned how Rainbow Rowell gives us a resolution without a conclusion, and I'm so happy to see you point it out. I've only read one book by her, Fangirl, but I definitely got that sense, and I appreciated it. In the majority of contemporaries I've read, by the end all the protagonist's problems are solved and wrapped up neatly, as you put it, with a bow. I've always thought those endings were oftentimes rushed and took away from the overall story. So, I'm definitely curious about this book, and I am so glad that you appreciated that aspect of her writing as well.

    Love the review!

    1. Thanks Violet! I definitely appreciated it too. It didn't hit me until I had finished Landline that all her books end that way (I've read them all). It just adds to her level of realism in her writing. Just like life she effortlessly balances the light and heavy and thinks aren't perfectly wrapped up by the end.

      And while I like the mystery sometimes it is insanely frustrating to not know what happens to these characters that you are so invested in. But it still makes Rainbow Rowell and her writing incredibly fantastic and creative!

  2. Thanks for the great review. I've only read Eleanor & Park, but look forward to reading the rest of her books. Which book's couple is referenced in the Landline Easter Egg? I want to be sure to read that book before reading Landline.