cover image Mr. Wrong Number

Mr. Wrong Number

Lynn Painter. Berkley, $16 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-593-43726-1

Painter’s cute adult debut (after the YA novel Better Than the Movies) features a couple whose chemistry via text message complicates their IRL relationship. Through a comedy of errors, Olivia Marshall loses her job, her boyfriend, and her apartment all in one day. She moves in with her brother until she can get back on her feet—but this means putting up with his dickish (and scorching hot) roommate, Colin Beck. Meanwhile, she finds work writing a parenting column for the local newspaper, having failed to correct her editor’s assumption that she has children of her own. When Olivia receives a suggestive text from an unknown number, she quickly sets the sender straight—but their immediate witty rapport means neither wants to stop texting. Soon she’s exchanging daily messages with “Mr. Wrong Number.” While their texts lean flirtatious, she’s happy to stick to an on-screen relationship with her anonymous confidant. Then Colin accidentally sees a text on Olivia’s phone—and he’s shocked to discover that she is his own “Miss Misdial.” He decides to ghost her instead of complicating their relationship—but Olivia doesn’t give up so easily. Olivia’s over-the-top clumsiness feels like a relic of rom-coms past, but her chemistry with Colin sings. This is sure to charm. Agent: Kim Lionetti; Bookends Literary. (Mar.)