By Elyssa Friedland
Available now from William Morrow (HarperCollins)
LOVE AND MISS COMMUNICATION looked super cute. It's the story of Evie Rosen, who gets fired for sending too many personal emails and discovers that her commitment-phobe ex got married six months after their breakup on Facebook, and decides to stay off the Internet for a year. I spent the first half of the book wanting to shake Evie out of her self-absorbed funk.
I wasn't surprised by the zeal she brings to her decision to leave the Internet behind; there's nothing like the converted to disdain they were before. I did think her characterization needed work. Debut author Elyssa Friedland describes her as always having her Blackberry in her hand and constantly Facebook stalking people. Yet, for instance, she's surprised when one of her stepsisters has already made friends at the college she's going to in the fall through Facebook. It's not like she'd never used the Internet.
Then there's the way she is with her family and friends. She's weirdly contemptuous of her stepsisters and has inappropriate boundaries with a student at her new job. For talk of using actual phone calls to get closer to people, she never reaches out to her friends but waits for them to reach out to her. However, LOVE AND MISS COMMUNICATION did start clicking into place for me once Evie's mother snaps at her that everyone tries to matchmake for her because she's so desperately and obviously unhappy being single. The characters finally get tired of Evie and start talking to her and helping her realize that she needs to change her attitude.
Thus, the second half did work better for me. Evie does have a journey to go on and a coherent character arc. There is room in the world for grating characters. And throughout the book I thought the romance worked well. Now, it shows how much Evie idolizes marriage and how bad she is at communication that she never thinks to just ask the guy if she's divorced, but I did like that she holds back from actually making a move until she knows he isn't attached. I also just thought their flirting was cute. I also liked the parts about Evie's ex, Jack. She's still reeling from the bad breakup, and Friedman captures the way you never really forget the people you loved.
I loved the premise of LOVE AND MISS COMMUNICATION. I feel like it could've been explored more to its full potential with a character who was interested in actually connecting with people instead of being content to just complain about another missed evite. The romance was cute and I liked Evie's grandmother and mother. I also enjoyed every time someone pointed out to Evie how self-absorbed she was. It made for an uneven reading experience, but not a wasted one.