Monday, February 28, 2011

Review: Tweet Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick

As many of you know, I teach a Popular Fiction class.  In that class we discuss popular "trends, genres, and styles" of writing.  One of the styles I've discussed with them is the "Epistolary" form, which many classical writers have used, but that has been revamped for our modern day.  Generally, if I were to go on about how Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, and Bram Stoker utilized this style, many of their eyes would glaze over.  However, when I have brought in contemporary pieces to show them how this looks today, they get it, make the connection, and can appreciate.  For this style lesson, I got my hands on a copy of Tweet Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick to show my students are pretty modern twist on the Epistolary form and have to say that with all that color and the social network connection, I think they got it.  I then picked it up last weekend and read it in about an hour and a half to check it out!

Synopsis:  From Goodreads, "Claire is a #hopelessromantic. Lottie is determined to set up her BFF with Mr. Perfect. Will wants his #secretcrush to finally notice him. Bennett is a man with a plan.Claire can’t believe it when her dream guy starts following her on Twitter. She never thought he noticed her, and suddenly he seems to understand her better than almost anyone. But the Twitterverse can be a confusing place, especially when friends act differently online than they do in person. Things get even more complicated when Claire realizes she’s falling for someone else, the last person she ever would have expected….

Told in an innovative format combining tweets, emails, and blogs, Tweet Heart is a contemporary romantic comedy that will set your heart atwitter."

Review:  Tweet Heart was a pretty quick read and fun to follow.  As a big Twitter user myself, I was familiar with the 140-character commenting and felt comfortable reading short blips from each character.  The one thing that felt strange were the private conversations the characters etched out for themselves?  Unless they were direct messaging, I was unfamiliar with a private tweeting service.  I suppose I'll have to check into that.  Without that private tweeting though, many of the "I like him.  Why isn't he tweeting me back?" would be lost in the shuffle of conversations.

Claire is a nice girl, but all we only really get surface character development.  Will, also a nice boy, is her friend who has a secret crush on her.  We don't really know much about Will either.  In any of the character's cases, their development is lacking, so we get the sense that we're just eavesdropping on someone's conversations.

This was a quick, fun read with very surface-level story and character development going on, but what can you get with a book based on tweets?  Obviously, the reader has to fill in most of the back story and development, so I wouldn't expect full descriptions and narration.  This story really is quick and just about telling a story in a different way.  I would most likely recommend this book to my teen students, as it's a quirky new format that they'll get a kick out of!

I'm curious.  What epistolary-style novels have you read and do you like reading books in that format?


  1. Generally speaking I don't like epistolary formats at all and avoid them. I did like that Potato Peel Society book, but that's the only epistolary novel I can remember getting into.

    I'm not sure I can handle a book o tweets. :)

  2. I am not sure what I would think of this book. I have really enjoyed some epistolary books, but not all of them. This would be something I would see if the library had.

  3. My all time epistolary favorite is Ella Minnow Pea. It is such an ingenious book.
    I have yet to read Tweet Heart but I want to one day.

  4. Heidenkind--I can see why you do. Meg Cabot's epistolary novels are a lot of fun, so I keep giving them a try. Some really master it, while others only manage to isolate the characters and never fully develop the story. I'm sure that people think it's easy to write them, but I don't think so. It obviously takes a certain hand with character and plot development to really get it right.

    Kailana--Yes, they take a certain handling to get through, but worth it for me to show my students. :) It was interesting though.

    Andrea--I haven't read that one yet, but really would like to. I've heard good things about it!