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Landline
Rainbow Rowell
Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World
Lev Grossman, Tiffany Reisz, Rachel Caine, Jen Zern, Heidi Tandy, Rukmini Pande, Samira Nadkarni, Wendy C. Fries, Jolie Fontenot, Randi Flanagan, Tish Beaty, Cyndy Aleo, Christina Lauren, V. Arrow, Brad Bell, Andrew Shaffer, Darren Wershler, Anne Jamison, Jules Wilkinson, R
No One You Know - Michelle Richmond Ellie Enderlin's adult life has been primarily defined by two things: the violent death of her older sister Lila, a gifted grad student in higher mathematics, twenty years earlier, and her unwitting cooperation with the writer who turned the story of that death into a true-crime bestseller - "unwitting" because she didn't realize that her conversations with the writing professor who befriended her were serving as source material for the book he was planning. Her role in the book has given Ellie an unusual form of "survivor guilt," something she has in common with Abby Mason, the protagonist of Richmond's earlier novel The Year of Fog.

Unlike Abby, though, Ellie really hasn't done much with that guilt except live with it until an unexpected encounter during a business trip to Nicaragua makes her realize that she has unquestioningly accepted writer Andrew Thorpe's story of her sister's death all this time, and maybe she should have questioned it...and so she does, even though it's officially a "cold case," long since officially closed. Her investigations bring her back into contact with Thorpe, and she uncomfortably discovers he's all too happy to renew their acquaintance. What she learns not only makes her re-evaluate what happened to Lila, but it also makes her re-consider her sister and their relationship.

This is in many ways a story about a story, and I really like the way Richmond tells it. There's a fascinating mystery at the center of the book, but the character development is never sacrificed to the plot; Ellie is sympathetic and engaging, and the story's development is both plausible and emotionally real. The storytelling is more concise and focused than The Year of Fog, and the mystery aspects are a bit more compelling here, but there are similarities between the two books, particularly in the importance given to the main characters' relationships with other women in their lives - sisters, mothers, daughters; they don't revolve around men, although there are some engaging male characters too. One such character in No One You Know is actually not Richmond's invention, though - writer/radio personality Ben Fong-Torres plays an important minor role. Richmond herself makes a cameo in chapter 29...