When You Read This

21,000+ Reviews
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Product Details
Harper Paperbacks
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.0 X 0.9 inches | 0.6 pounds

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About the Author

Mary Adkins is the author of When You Read This, Privilege, and Palm Beach. A native of the American South and a graduate of Duke University and Yale Law School, her writing has appeared in the New York Times and the Atlantic. She also teaches storytelling for The Moth. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.


"I found the romantic comedy -- about a man trying to fulfill his late friend's last wish -- both completely wrenching and hilarious. I mean like, crazy funny. The offbeat story about love, family and mortality really sticks with you. The ideal summer read." -- Cup of Jo

"An uncanny novel that hits the zeitgeist." -- Thrillist, "The Best Books of 2019 (So Far)"

"It's a risk to write a hilarious novel about grief and regret. It's a bigger risk to tell the story solely through virtual communication. Mary Adkins succeeds on both fronts in this epistolary novel . . . . A story of flawed people who have connected under the worst of circumstances. It's a quick, worthwhile read." -- Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Delightful... An epistolary novel for the 21st century, When You Read This sparkles with a perfect blend of humor, pathos and romance.... Adkins has managed to paint an authentic and nuanced portrait of grief and the various ways people attempt to cope and continue on with life when the worst has happened. Inventive and irresistible, When You Read This is a tender and uplifting story about love, loss and the resilience of the human heart that will have you laughing and crying in equal turns." -- BookPage

"Stellar. . . witty, entertaining and at times heartwrenching. . . . When You Read This is an outstanding addition to contemporary literature that effectively addresses the issues people face today in a poignant and cleverly insightful manner. It is a true standout and should not be missed." -- BookReporter

"Adkins brilliantly captures the rhythms and cadences of the epistolary format in the digital age through a delightful cast of quirky, imperfect characters, both dead and alive. Tart, sweet, poignant, and rich with humor; completely irresistible." -- Library Journal (starred review)

"When You Read This checks all the essential boxes of Up Lit--though-provoking, tear-jerking, funny--and adds a delectable epistolary twist." -- Refinery29

"A touching, funny, and life-affirming tale." -- Publishers Weekly

"[A] heartfelt page-turner . . . A natural readalike for Maria Semple's Where'd You Go Bernadette and Rainbow Rowell's Attachments." -- Booklist

"This inventive and hilarious novel has it all: Mid-life crisis sufferers denying their regrets, a lawless intern with alarming email etiquette, poetic online therapists and a moving message about the resiliency of the human heart. Read this book--I loved it!" -- Courtney Maum, author of Touch and I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You

"Warm, original, funny and heartbreaking, this novel made me drop everything so I could read it in one lovely afternoon. WHEN YOU READ THIS is 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

"Deeply moving but also uplifting, Mary Adkins' debut novel is easy to read but hard to forget." -- Anne Youngson, author of Meet Me at the Museum

"I loved every word of this sweet little gem of a book. It was a quick, humorous--but ultimately touching--read that I couldn't put down!" -- Meg Cabot