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The Hypothetical Girl

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  221 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Love meets technology with a dash of quirk in this collection of highly original short stories
An aspiring actress meets an Icelandic Yak farmer on a matchmaking Web site. An online forum for cancer support turns into a love triangle for an English professor, a Canadian fisherman, and an elementary school teacher living in Japan. A deer and a polar bear flirt via Skype. I
ebook, 256 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by Other Press
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Average rating 3.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  221 ratings  ·  55 reviews

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Aug 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Individually, the stories are wonderful, charming, modern and speak to the way we live and love in this day and age. As a whole, the collection starts to feel repetitive. There is too much similarity among the stories and toward the end, they become indistinct.

Still, individually, great, great stuff here. I like this writer's work.
Oct 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a marvelous book: poignant, witty, tender, humane, honest, and very playful and clever with language and literary references. Though all the stories deal with internet relationships of one kind of another, they are in no way trivial; the internet becomes a trope for deep romantic longing and wishful thinking. Who doesn't know these feelings, and who, by now, doesn't know the crazy fascination exerted by social media, the way they reach tentacles into our everyday lives and psyches? The H ...more
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This collection of short stories starts off with several about online dating. They are actually a bit formulaic and repetitive. Towards the end, the stories morph away from strictly online dating, but everything is still focused on relationships, or mainly the dissolution of them, and I found the gimmicks tiresome. On top of that, soul patches are described with affection TWICE. So gotta go..
For the most part, this collection of stories is just light enough to keep you skimming across the page (I read it in a day) but with just enough depth to make you pause at times to think.

I liked the theme of modern romance, and that most of the characters were middle aged. It added depth, but also a lot of unexpected heaviness. Cohen is a great writer, and "Love Quiz" will haunt me for a very long time.
Julia Buckley
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well written stories that explore our obsession with love via the Internet. Clever, sometimes funny, often sad.
Bookish Jen
Nov 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Finding love has always been fraught with challenges, and in our modern age of on-line dating it’s become even more perplexing. In Elizabeth Cohen’s collection of short stories in her latest release The Hypothetical Girl people turn to the Internet to find true love.

Well, replacing face to face contact with digital dating doesn’t exactly make things easier in the romance department. In fact, it often makes things harder and hearts do get broken as Cohen conveys in this mostly satisfying book.

Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
This collection of short stories by Elizabeth Cohen explores online dating – from the hook-up sites to the more serious find-a-spouse sites. Each story introduces a new character searching for love or companionship via online dating sites with very mixed results. “People Who Live Far, Far Away” focuses on online dating as a means to escape a less than ideal real life. In “Love, Really,” the language describing the rush of emotions and giddiness of a new relationship is framed by two middle-aged ...more
Nancy McKibben
Sep 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers who like romance, humor
The Hypothetical Girl
By Elizabeth Cohen

This book consists of a series of short stories about online dating, which is a mystery to me, since I’m married and predate it. The first one, “Animal Dancing”, is charming - a woman’s fond hopes that this mysterious other with whom she has communicated will prove to be exactly what he seems online. Will an in-person encounter wreck the illusions of both parties?

Other stories are darker, but they bump along like real life - sometimes you win, sometimes you
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Hypothetical Girl by Elizabeth Cohen is a collection of short stories of love, identity and internet.

Each character is looking for love online, usually a transformative love that will solve everything and bring brilliance to the mundane. They each want so very desperately to meet and connect with someone else online.

There’s a hint of the bizarre running through the book, but isn’t meeting and falling in love kind of bizarre anyway? Cohen’s characters pretend to be Icelandic yak farmers whil
May 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book was like talking to your best friend the day after a first date and having just the perfect words to describe what happened. You know, we've all been there. Had a lousy date, wanted to find a silver lining out of what was a ridiculous way to have spent an evening and always wanted to give your best friend something to laugh about. I wish Cohen could have scripted some of my post date mortems. Cohen's stories made me reflect (and cringe) about some of my past dates and appreciat ...more
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I simply did not like the writing style of this compilation and was not really impressed with the theme of them as well.

It was funny at times and some of the stories actually had meaning such as "The Hypothetical Girl" and "Love Quiz." Another point is that the stories went from really mundane to really strange in a manic way which was not collective. The latter half of the book was definitely more enjoyable.

There were some great word choices overall which was fantastic but other than that I ca
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Before we begin, I would like to note: This is my first time reviewing a short story collection! How exciting!

The Hypothetical Girl is a collection of stories by Elizabeth Cohen that center around the idea of online dating. The characters are undeniably realistic. They change their profiles to make themselves seem more interesting, they day dream about this date finally being the one, and most of all they—just like those of us here in the “real world”—are all searching for true connection to ano
Emma Kerry
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing

There is something for everyone in this short story collection centering on on-line dating. Obviously, some stories resonated more than others, but there was enough in every one to make them enjoyable. Anyone who has ever dated, whether online or otherwise, will find this collection amusing. Cohen’s tone is perfect and made it all the more enjoyable.

Like most short story collections, this book is perfect for dipping in and out of. Each story can be read in one sitting, making it the ideal book t
Torunn Lyngroth Aberle
Oct 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing

This is book is wonderfully written, with characters who are yearning to love, and be loved. In some of the short stories the characters, some of whom are animals, are being kept apart, because of the many odd and often unstated rules that are applied to potential romantic and sexual relationships. It is a little bit like a modern "Pride and Prejudice." Cohen's stories are beautiful, haunting, honest, and, of course, often sad, given the fact that these are love stories.

I found myself getting
John Roche
Oct 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In the hands of Elizabeth Cohen, these short stories capture both the world we live in and the virtual world we dwell in, particularly regarding the search for love and identity online. I ended up falling in love---with Cohen's richly drawn characters, her unique, spot-on voice and these very entertaining plot lines that, for better or worse, hold a mirror up to who we are and who we present ourselves to be. A great read. ...more
Emma  Kaufmann
Nov 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This author is brilliant. How can she write about mostly badly ending internet romances with such humor and insight and make it all seem so fresh and appealing? It does make me thank God I am married and don't have to navigate amongst the goatee wearing sharks and three legged octopi that makes up the dating pool.....Highly recommended ...more
Lizzy Wizzy
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
“Just then Alana realized something; a fact settled in her heart like windswept soil. She realized she would keep Max just like this, as long as she could and possibly forever. Real Max could potentially lie, abuse, or use her, cheat, steal, behave meanly. He could break her heart, leave sticky piles of socks around... forget her birthday. So she would keep him right there on the screen, at arm’s length, a click away, neither dismiss him nor invite him in closer. Max could live in her computer, ...more
Sep 27, 2017 rated it liked it
This is going in the "unfinished" pile because there is no way I'm going to finish it. My Nook died last month, and I'm not going to get a chance to deal with it for the foreseeable future.

Good stories. A bit odd, but definitely fun.
Tan Clare
Bite-sized short stories about modern dating told in a quirky manner. Yes after a while some of them get a bit repetitive, despite how their outcomes differ. Thankfully the quirkiness manages to keep the reader interested enough.
Larissa Cook
May 10, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2022
Okay yes, these stories are all similar and revolve around online dating but i loved them and I loved the writings. The last one was weird but here we are. It’s short and an easy read but I love short stories so maybe that’s why I enjoyed this one more than apparently everyone else.
Kaitlyn Affuso
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
In recent years, there’s been the argument of print books vs. e-books. Those who embrace technology go toward e-readers, complementing its convenience and sleek structure. “But books are so much cozier,” print-lovers say. Well, in my hand, I held a supporting factor of both: The Hypothetical Girl by Elizabeth Cohen.
Its physical copy is small, hand-held and packed with Internet love stories gone wrong. This topic is blowing up recently. There is a matchmaker site for every kind of person, and
This collection of fifteen short stories (which I heard about via Goodreads then saw at the library) has been good jury duty reading, by which I mean it's light and easy enough that I could comfortably read it during breaks, even if several simultaneous conversations were happening around me. "Light and easy," though, isn't necessarily my favorite kind of short story, and I found myself wanting more interest, more weirdness, more challenge.

All the stories are about looking for love online, whic
Sophfronia Scott
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Cohen has written a smart and funny collection of stories that I would consider to be the "Sex & the City" of the online dating world. Her looking-for-love characters may not be as glamorous or as young as Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte, but they do have the same bittersweet vulnerability that made me want to root for their happy ending despite circumstances that seemed to be against every possibility for one. But that want pulled me through the book, story after story, and t ...more
Matthew Jackson
Oct 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, literature

This is one of the many books I discovered at the 2014 Frankfurt Buchmesse – The Hypothetical Girl, by Elizabeth Cohen. I have to show my appreciation to Other Press (the publisher of this collection of short stories), because I was actually given a free copy of the book when I stopped by their booth for a second time to show this book (and another, which will be reviewed soon) to KK as one of the new books I had discovered on my Friday at the fair.

This bo
Nov 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: friends and family
I am familiar with the writing style of this author because I took classes with her as an UnderGrad. I really liked the book. It had hints of places I've been to for example, "The Ground Round," which is mentioned in the first short story--knowing the smell and the look of the place makes it more fun to read and imagine what is going on. The hints of satire mixed with sarcasm and light [warm] heartedness makes for an easy read.

I love the fact that the book is based around online dating. Living
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Ok, let's start by saying that I am probably not this book's target audience. I'm not entirely sure who this books target audience is, but it's definitely not me. I grabbed it off the advanced readers cart because I thought it could be a fun, light read. But I got frustrated with it.

There were only three stories that I actually liked: Love, Really; Heart Food; and Dog People. And by liked maybe I mean didn't find anything horribly wrong with. I think writing a collection of short stories must be
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth Cohen has put together fifteen short stories that all dwell on some aspect of love. While many of the stories deal with the pros and cons of online dating, they all go much deeper than that. You have Alana who finally finds the perfect man for her through an online website. The question is, should she risk meeting him and possibly having her heart broken because that's what happens in real life? Or should she keep him just out of reach, on the other side of computer screen, where they ...more
Nov 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
In this astute story collection, Elizabeth Cohen writes about dating in the digital age. Navigating various dating sites, creating a real or fabricated profile, various internet flirtations, anticipating actual meetings. In the opening story “Animal Dancing,” Cohen writes: “I am a giver. I am fun. I am interesting and I have spectacular eyes. Someone will find me. Someone will love me.” Would you take a chance on a potential long-distance relationship as described in “People Who Live Far, Far Aw ...more
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
Thank you, Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review

If you are a member of an internet dating website, there’s a 95% chance that you have lied about who you are. If not that, then the people you interact with are most certainly not entirely what they make themselves out to be.

That is exactly what this book of shorts is about. Love and lies in cyberspace.

Insanely funny and absolutely un-put-downable, I read this in one go. On the weird side, it had me guessing about who everyone of my
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
i read an ARC from book expo... i grabbed it because i loved the title and when i saw the description of the stories (all that online interaction!), i knew i needed this book.

i loved it. not every single bit of it, mind you - some stories resonated more with me, as will happen with any reader and any book. but there was enough in every story that made leaving each one a little sad. i don't know if this author has novels, i have to see, but i would read them.

women and men who want to connect. the
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Elizabeth Cohen is an Assistant Professor of English at SUNY Plattsburgh, where she serves as the fiction editor for the Saranac Review. Her memoir, The Family on Beartown Road (Random House, 2003), was a New York Times Notable Book, and her articles, stories, and poetry have appeared in SELF, MORE, Newsweek, People, New York Times Magazine, Salon, Tablet, and the Yale Review, among other publicat ...more

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