Book Review: "Attachments" by Rainbow Rowell

Imagine being the person hired to monitor emails at work. What would you do if you slowly began to fall in love with a person you know you should turn in?

Well, that’s the story for Lincoln O’Neill, who enjoys his everyday conversations with Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder—ones he never has to participate in. But as soon as he realizes his feelings for Beth, it’s too late. The problem is, Lincoln’s never seen Beth in person — but she’s seen him around the office without even knowing his name. (“My Cute Guy” she refers to him as.) Lincoln knows Beth, but has never seen her. Beth’s seen Lincoln, but doesn’t know who he is.

This is the story of boy meets girl…without the actual meeting part.

Attachments play out like a rom-com in a way no movie could do justice. Fortunately, it’s set in 1999 — right before the millennial New Year, and deals a great bit in nostalgia and pop culture so that light-hearted feel settles in without ever seeming over-the-top.

One thing to note about this novel is that it plays as a back and forth between Lincoln’s perspective and Beth and Jennifer’s emails. It does an excellent job of switching from the character to the reader acting as the character in real time. You’ll be surprised to catch yourself feeling as if you are Lincoln, which speaks volumes about Rowell’s writing and realism.

Like every Rainbow Rowell book (see Eleanor & Park, Landline, Carry On, and Fangirl for more) these characters feel real the moment you begin reading them. They are relatable and funny, all while never seeming to play into typical tropes of romance. It manages to surprise you — not with big outlandish plot twists, but with the little decisions the characters make that cause a bigger impact. The complexities of all the characters, especially the side characters, are remarkably ones of depth. And Rowell books are cute, so it might not hit you how much you’re affected until the build reaches its climax.

Overall, Attachments earns 4 ½ stars and is recommended for anyone who likes a light romance.


Best Tardy is an amateur overachiever, semi-professional novelist, fierce poet, and the all-around best man you’ll ever meet. Best has Bipolar Disorder and Unflinching Terminal Intelligence (UTI), which he uses to make jokes in times of great crisis and unneed. Best is aware that you want to make puns off his name.