However, there are a few problematic issues with this story. They didn't stop me from finishing and enjoying it, but this book didn't quite live up to some of Rowell's other work for me. For one thing, the plot involves a web security guy who becomes aware of his potential love interest by reading her email when it's flagged in the security folder. Rowell sets herself a high goal in overcoming the creeper mentality and making him into a convincing romantic lead. She does a great job, but as concerns in our world about cyber-security grow, it becomes increasingly difficult to sympathize with this kind of behavior. I know it's the whole point of the story so don't hate me for saying it. That's just how I see it. Also, the lead guy (Lincoln) is a bit of a wuss, which is also cute, but it becomes tiring after a while. The girls are terrific and fun and lively, but Lincoln is a little passive and weedy for my taste, although he is one of those genuinely nice guys that you hope will win the girl in the end.
My main problem with the structure, however, was that it's one of those romantic comedies where the potential romantic leads can't really "meet" during the course of the story because the whole point is that they're aware of each other from afar but circumstances get in the way of them physically getting together for the larger part of the story. In this sense it's very much like the movie Sleepless in Seattle (which is actually referenced in the book). Even though that movie is very cute, I had the same problem with it as I had with Attachments. It's difficult for me to engage in a romance where the romantic leads aren't actually together and struggling with their relationship for much of the story. I know that movie and this book are both very popular so it's probably my failing, but I do like a romantic storyline where the leads get together early on and have to battle the odds together, rather than struggling for much of the story about when and how they might ever meet each other in the first place, and how they'll actually talk to each other when they do.
That said, I don't want to be overly negative, because Rowell's writing here is as funny and engaging as ever. Her characters are cute and quirky. And, as with Eleanor and Park, she sets this story in the recent past (late 1990s/early 2000s) so there are tons of in-jokes about the popular culture of the time, particularly the Y2K bug. Does anyone remember that? I had forgotten about how everyone was storing cans in their basements in case the apocalypse hit when the new year came around. So overall I would definitely recommend this book, especially to Rowell's fans, but don't be disappointed that the leads aren't together for much of the story.