Review: The Plot

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?


So good. Highly recommend. All the stars.

Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

– me, after finishing The Plot

I honestly want to leave my review at that, but I should probably write a better one. So, this book is about a writer, which is a complete “yes, please” for me, as I love writing. Then add that the writer takes his late student’s plot because, hey, it’s going to go to waste otherwise since the student passed away, only to get a message after it’s a wild hit that someone knows he stole the idea.

Right away in this book I was invested because I felt Jacob’s struggle as a writer when he hit a block on his novel. All writers have been there, and it sucks, so I felt bad for him at the beginning. when Jacob found out about Evan’s death three or so years later, he realizes that Evan never finished his book that he was working on. The one with the great plot. The one that deserved to be written. 

So Jacob writes it himself. 

That’s not to say that he stole the entire story word for word or anything, but the concept, yeah. He did. The words were all this, the characters were different, and the setting was. Despite this, there’s still that part of Jacob that feels bad for taking this plot and running with it because what happens if someone finds out it wasn’t his idea at all? Well… that happens. And it’s a mystery how this person knows if Evan never shared his idea because he kept it tightly under wraps (except for that one night in Jacob’s office).

This book had me so invested that it was all I could think about over the days of reading it, and for the first time in a while, I took my time with it (as much as I could anyway) because I was enjoying it so much. Every time I thought I knew what was going on, I second-guessed myself as I tried to figure out who the person behind the messages was. I love books that keep me guessing like that, and this was one of the top.

So, as I mentioned in my first thoughts of this book… I highly recommend it. Especially if you’re a writer.

Rating: 5 stars 

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