I LOVE Connie Willis, so it's with a super, super heavy heart that I say: not great. This novel feels like something she wrote years ago, didn't publish, and then returned to and polished up to fulfill some kind of publishing contract. Crosstalk is more-or-less Connie Willis' version of chick-lit, which is painful. It lacks at almost every turn the depth and scholarship she for which she is distinguished. Briddey Flannigan lacks the wit, agency, and drive I come to associate with a Connie Willis protagonist. Throughout the arc as Briddey navigates the implant in her head, psychic connection with her cartoonishly bad boyfriend, and cartoonishly "good" new (eventual, obviously soon-to-be) boyfriend, I waited for her to show the interesting internal understanding of a Kivrin Engle, the wit of Ned Henry, the tenacity of a Colin Templer, or the spunk of a Polly Churchill (or the feistiness of Binnie Hodbin). But no. Characters remain mostly 2-dimensional, and in general I felt almost as if I was reading another writer's work, which made me question whether I really like her other books as much as I think I do.
Also, I live with a 9-yo child. In no world does the character Maeve resemble a child of that age, and from the first moment that child speaks I was thrown out of believing the world Willis wanted to place me in.