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I HOPE THIS FINDS YOU WELL by Natalie Sue Kirkus Star


by Natalie Sue

Pub Date: May 21st, 2024
ISBN: 9780063320369
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

When a friendless office worker inadvertently finds herself able to read her co-workers’ emails, she hatches a plan to become a star employee.

Jolene Smith doesn’t fit in at work. She doesn’t socialize with her co-workers or even engage in small talk—in fact, she’s pretty sure they’re all making fun of her behind her back. Jolene takes out her frustration by writing her real thoughts (“Deep in my core, I find you insufferable”) at the end of her emails in white text, so they’re invisible to the recipients—but when she forgets to change the text color in a diatribe against a co-worker who microwaved an especially smelly lunch, she gets caught. She’s forced to attend an anti-harassment course with the new HR guy, Clifford. Jolene is humiliated, especially when Cliff sets up new security measures on her computer. But Jolene quickly notices that there’s an unintended consequence to the changes—now she’s able to read everyone’s emails and messages. She can see the terrible things her co-workers are saying about her from the safety of their keyboards…but she can also gather intel that could help her improve her performance. With her insider knowledge, Jolene is able to do better work and start connecting with her colleagues for the first time. She also starts to realize that Cliff the HR guy is very nice—even if he is very off-limits. As Jolene gets to know her co-workers better, she sees that they all have their secret heartbreaks and struggles, just like her. But will she be able to let people see the real Jolene? In her debut, Sue creates a vivid portrait of a truly lonely, heartbroken woman. Anyone who has worked in an office will appreciate the level of detail Sue uses to describe the experience—the particular bleakness of a sad office party, the petty gossip, the alliances and enmities. Jolene starts out afraid of connection and unable to view her coworkers as anything other than adversaries. It’s immensely satisfying to see her accept that other people might actually like her, if only she has the courage to be known.

A beautiful, honest, and often funny look at loneliness and the courage it takes to simply keep going.