Monday, June 25, 2012

I've Got Your Number

By Sophie Kinsella
 ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Three Things I Liked About I’ve Got Your Number:
1. London (okay…this one’s definitely a default).
2. Wedding planning/drama
3. E-text-olary novel

Sophia Kinsella makes me laugh. Seriously, she is to my (young) adult self what Meg Cabot was to my pre-teen self: always reliable for some good old fashioned funny, frivolous chick-lit with romantic drama tempered by an ample dose of romantic comedy. Not to mention heroines sweet, silly, and serious by turns, all of whom I’d love to be friends with. You might recognize her name from her series Confessions of a Shopaholic, which was actually adapted into a movie.

Poppy Wyatt is just two weeks away from living out every girl’s secret, most idealistic romantic fantasy: meeting a handsome, rich, talented, and loving man at the altar, wearing a gorgeous family heirloom of an engagement ring. Things are going better than she ever could have dreamed…until – oops! – she misplaces her gorgeous family heirloom of an engagement ring. On the very day her intimidating soon-to-be in-laws are arriving from Chicago. As if that wasn’t enough, moments after the ring goes missing, so does her phone. But what at first seems like unmitigated disaster may turn out to be something different entirely, as an abandoned phone Poppy obtains from a trash bin (finder’s keepers) pulls her into the world of one Sam Roxton. As the two begin communicating, it soon becomes clear that neither of their lives will emerge from the experience unchanged.

Implementing a texting take on the epistolary form (i.e. “e-text-olary”) can often be kind of an iffy move on an author’s part. I’ve seen it done badly enough times to be immediately skeptical. But Kinsella got it right in I’ve Got Your Number. The text exchanges between Poppy and Sam were some of the most amusing in the entire novel, and were some of the most significant scenes in terms of character and relationship development. I was also impressed that Kinsella was able to effectively use photo attachment texts in addition to standard text messages, especially since she only narrated what had been sent rather than including actual pictures (smart move; pictures would have been over the top and disruptive).

Whenever I like an unapologetically chick-lit novel, I feel the need to defend it/myself for some reason. Why should a book like I’ve Got Your Number be rated higher than other books that, if not enjoyable or successful reads, at least tried to tackle something a little more ambitious or original? I think the answer to that lies right there in my statement: unapologetic. I will be the first to admit that Sophie Kinsella’s books are formulaic; that her heroines (and leading men) are virtually interchangeable; that her plots are predictable, and if you charged them with being cheesy, too, I would have a hard time arguing with you. But her books never try to pass themselves off as being any more than that. They deliver exactly what they advertise: frivolous, silly fun.

Books Read This Year: 48
Top 100 Progress: 48/100

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