Amanda Reads: Dear Emma

Ahh, ghosting. As someone who has done the OKC circuit a few times round, I’m quite familiar with the concept–someone is into you until, quite suddenly, they’re not. But do they tell you this? Nah. If they just stop speaking to you, you’ll figure it out… after a few days (or weeks) of driving yourself crazy over-analyzing every last thing you said and did, of course.

Dear Emma cover photo. Blue trim with orange center, featuring a girl on her couch with laptopA ghosting is one of the primary plot points for this week’s read, Dear Emma by Katie Heaney. The protagonist is Harriet, a young woman who runs an advice column called Dear Emma in her college paper. (See what she did there?) The book, which centers around a girl who’s happy giving advice to anyone but herself, is somewhat inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma. Thankfully, though, Harriet’s a great deal more likeable and a lot more relateable.

At the start, we see that Harriet has stopped hearing from a guy she hung out with a few times and made out with once or twice. No texts, no response on social media, and, worst of all, he avoids her in the class they have together! Harriet puzzles over what she could possibly have done and talks to her friends about the situation, reminding me of myself in every ghosting situation ever.

Of course, the plot thickens when the guy’s new main squeeze also happens to work with Harriet at the library.

This book had a lot of great things going for it. The premise was excellent, considering how common a piece of our dating culture ghosting has become. Each character is well drawn and nuanced, and Harriet navigates relationships with other women far more often in the book than she does relationships with men. I liked how her friends and her relationship with the guy’s new girlfriend are the central focus of this book. Although I’m a sucker for a love story, it’s refreshing to see a girl who survives a ghosting not by falling in love with someone else, but by strengthening her relationships with her friends.

While an anxiety-inducing choice for me to read when re-entering the dating pool for the first time in over a year, I greatly enjoyed this book. Read for advice column antics, ghosting, and girl squads.

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