Book Review: The Plot

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz


Pub Date: 11 May 2021


“Insanely readable.” —Stephen King

Hailed as “breathtakingly suspenseful,” Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Plot is a propulsive read about a story too good not to steal, and the writer who steals it.

Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written—let alone published—anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot.

Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker’s first novel: but it never comes. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that—a story that absolutely needs to be told.

In a few short years, all of Evan Parker’s predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised and read all over the world. But at the height of his glorious new life, an e-mail arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says.

As Jake struggles to understand his antagonist and hide the truth from his readers and his publishers, he begins to learn more about his late student, and what he discovers both amazes and terrifies him. Who was Evan Parker, and how did he get the idea for his “sure thing” of a novel? What is the real story behind the plot, and who stole it from whom?


What I enjoyed most about this book was the narrator. The 3rd person narration was natural enough that it faded into the background while playing out each scene vividly and omnisciently without outright telling what the characters were thinking. Not many books are able to do this well (see Only You, in which you could almost literally hear the author’s heavy breathing). The read was intriguing, easy and comfortable, and I loved how the plot of Evan’s story wasn’t revealed until just the right moment. The character development was awesome and overall this book was just a fantastic read. Kept me guessing, kept me up late, kept me picking up that book any time I could spare a moment so I could find out what was going to happen next. I think this book will resonate with any writers who love a good plot (lol) and I simply have to give this one 5/5 ⭐’s

Thank you Celadon Books and NetGalley for providing this ARC for review!

Find The Plot on my Bookshop!

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