by Rainbow Rowell

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A "New York Times" Best Seller "Goodreads" Choice Award Winner for Best Fiction of 2014 An Indie Next Pick
From "New York Times" bestselling author of "Eleanor & Park" and "Fangirl," Rainbow Rowell, comes a hilarious, heart-wrenching take on love, marriage, and magic phones.  Read more...

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More About Landline by Rainbow Rowell

A "New York Times" Best Seller "Goodreads" Choice Award Winner for Best Fiction of 2014 An Indie Next Pick
From "New York Times" bestselling author of "Eleanor & Park" and "Fangirl," 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?

  • ISBN-13: 9781250049377
  • ISBN-10: 1250049377
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publish Date: July 2014
  • Page Count: 310

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Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-05-26
  • Reviewer: Staff

Rowell follows up children’s novels Fangirl and Eleanor and Park, both released in 2013, with an adult novel about the ups and downs of marriage. Georgie McCool (yes, that’s her real name) is a successful TV writer with a handsome writing partner and a chance to finally take her career to the next level; she’s just been offered her own pilot, which means no more writing jokes for characters she didn’t invent. The only problem? Her husband, Neal, is growing increasingly discontent with Georgie’s endless work and his status as stay-at-home dad to their daughters, Noomi and Alice. When Georgie cancels the family trip over Christmas, Neal takes the girls and leaves Georgie behind. This is where the story gets interesting. When Georgie calls Neal’s home, she doesn’t reach the husband who’s on the verge of leaving her—she reaches the moody cartoonist she fell in love with during college, a past version of the current Neal. This magical plot device allows Georgie to investigate what drove her and Neal apart in flashbacks, and consider whether they were ever truly happy. Rowell is, as always, a fluent and enjoyable writer—the pages whip by. Still, something about the relationship between Georgie and Neal feels hollow, like it’s missing the complexity of adult love, despite the plot’s special effects. First printing of 100,000. (July)

BookPage Reviews

Dialing back the time

First love, young love, unexpected love—any kind of love with a deep vein of naiveté and innocence—this is Rainbow Rowell’s wheelhouse. She manages to capture raw emotion with a wave of nostalgia that captivates not only her primary audience of young adult readers, but also those of us who, at least in theory, have moved past the age of soaring crushes and crushing heartbreak.

Rowell’s new novel, Landline, aims to capture adult fans with the story of sitcom writer Georgie and the conflict between her relationship with her best friend, the womanizing Seth, and her husband, the long-suffering Neal. Thankfully, Rowell avoids the played-out chick-lit love triangle and creates a much more interesting story of the tension between friendship and love, and between a successful woman’s work life and her family life. Georgie has complicated choices even before she discovers the magic telephone.

That’s right—the title refers to an old phone Georgie uses to call college-age Neal, the boy she fell in love with. Rowell uses the phone to play with the differences between old technology and new, and she leverages it to echo the differences in the relationship between young-in-love college students and the married adults they grow up to be.

The sci-fi elements make Landline a bit of a bumpy ride, and Rowell’s description of adult relationships lacks the authentic feeling of her description of young love. Still, her characters are incredibly true-to-life, and her writing is consistently fun. We may not all have access to magic phones, but Landline gives us all a way to travel back in time and remember the emotional roller coaster of loves we may have left behind.


This article was originally published in the July 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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