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Monday, September 07, 2009

Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham

I won a copy of Holly's Inbox from a giveaway on another blog. I had seen a nice review at Bookfoolery and Babble and I was excited to get this one. I actually started it pretty soon after receiving my copy. I read to about halfway, at which point the book was inadvertently spoiled for me at another blog. It took me a long time to pick it back up but eventually I did and was fairly happy with the outcome.

Holly's Inbox is essentially a chicklit book told in email format. It's a big chunk of a book and looks a lot more intimidating than it actually is. Holly is a receptionist at a large financial institution and the book is pretty much everything about her job, love life, and family over the course of couple months. Being chicklit, a large portion of the book is about her love life which is fine with me. I like a little romance in my books, if you haven't noticed. The setup is really slow with a lot of new elements added in during the last small section, which felt rushed and like a total setup for the sequel. (If you'll recall, I disliked that about Twilight, too.) Pacing was off, but I suppose part of that could be attributed to the format.

The one thing that I really disliked about the book is that the author's pen name is Holly Denham, as is the main character. There is a letter to the reader at the beginning that is "from" Holly Denham, and pretends that this is a true story. My understanding is that it is not. This bothers me. A lot. It reminds me of when The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks came out and everyone believed it was a true story only to find it was fiction and would be shelved as such. Unlike James Frey's A Million Little Pieces which was billed as memoir and turned out to be not so true, but is still not shelved as fiction. In any case, I didn't like it.

Have you read Holly's Inbox? Did you dislike the same things I did? How do you feel about the author writing as the character, including on the title page? When the sequel comes out do you plan to read it too? Have you read any other great books in email form? I'm pretty sure the only other one I've read is Meg Cabot's Every Boy's Got One (My review is here.)

Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham
Sourcebooks Casablanca
665 pages


  1. I hadn't heard of this one, but I'll probably pass since you didn't love it. I really appreciate how you're honest in your reviews, btw. :)

  2. I've wanted to check this one out when it started doing the rounds with reviewers earlier this year. I haven't been able to yet, but I'd still like to.

    I don't like the implication that a story might be true when it's fiction. It's like a 'get out of jail free' card that they can play innocent with but will also possibly boost their sales (if people think it's non-fic) at the same time.

  3. I have read it and I think I might have been the one who spoiled it for you. I'm so sorry about that. I thought the book was a lot of fun.

  4. I really enjoyed this one. I feel bad that another blog ruined the story for you. :(

    As for the use of Holly Denham as a pen name, it didn't bother me because I had already read that it was fiction and it was written by a man. Maybe if I hadn't seen that beforehand...I dunno.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  5. I have this one in my TBR pile and am looking forward to reading it. It's not my typical kind of read, but the idea behind it and Nancy's (Bookfool's) review pushed me into the must read it camp.

    I know what you mean about books that rush to add in details to set up the next novel--and since there is another book on its way, I guess it isn't all that surprising.

    I don't have an issue with the author using a pseudonym that matches his main character. I actually think it's kind of cool. And setting it up as a "true story"--that's something I've encountered many times before so perhaps that's why it doesn't bother me at all. It's labeled a novel which is clear enough to me that it is fiction by its very definition, not to mention it's being marketed as such. I can see why some might be bothered by it though.

  6. I'm sorry the book was ruined for you. I loved this one, as you know, except for the explicit sex chatter. The fact that the author was a man and "Holly Denham" is a pen name didn't bother me, but I knew about it in advance. I was actually a little confused and looked it up.

  7. I haven't heard of this book, and I guess I'll pass too. 700-odd pages of email conversation sounds a bit too much for me.

  8. The ending felt rushed to me as well, but I think I'll read the sequel when it comes out. It was just too much fun not to!

    The author of this book emailed me for a review copy and I was utterly confused when he signed his email Holly/Bill. I literally emailed him back and said, "wait, who's Bill." :) It took some heavy duty searching on the Internet to figure out Bill IS Holly.

  9. I recently read this book as well, loved it. Didn't want to read it at first because it's just a long one but it didn't feel long at all.

    Also, I just finished reading the sequel. I had some problems with it, but I rushed through it just as quickly as the first one.


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