Friday, March 31, 2017

Book Review: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

By Melissa Amster

Being a book blogger has opened my world, as I've connected with readers across the country and around the world. So I can definitely relate to Sara and her friendship with Amy, a woman she has never met but with whom she exchanges books and letters. One of my book-loving e-mail (and blogging) friends lives on the other end of the country and we give each other book recommendations. I am always thrilled when he loves a book I recommended. He also sent me one of his favorites recently, even though I won it through one of the giveaways on his blog. I've also been known to send many a book to online friends whom I've never met in person.

Books connect people in so many different ways, whether they live locally or a far distance away. This is evidenced in Katarina Bivald's debut novel, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend. Through her love of books, one woman wakes up a sleeping town.

Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen...

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy's funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor—there's not much else to do in a dying small town that's almost beyond repair.

You certainly wouldn't open a bookstore. And definitely not with the tourist in charge. You'd need a vacant storefront (Main Street is full of them), books (Amy's house is full of them), and...customers.

The bookstore might be a little quirky. Then again, so is Sara. But Broken Wheel's own story might be more eccentric and surprising than she thought.

A heartwarming reminder of why we are booklovers, this is a sweet, smart story about how books find us, change us, and connect us.
(Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

I don't know if it's a coincidence that I read this close to the release of the new Beauty and the Beast movie. It just happened to be the next book on my TBR pile though. It went along nicely with the movie, as Sara and Belle both are fixated on books and could read while ignoring the world around them. They both live in small towns (although Sara was more recently located to her small town) where people are set in their ways. Like Belle, Sara reminds me of myself in some ways. I also have a tendency to find the right book for someone.

While the book started off a bit slow, as I was getting to know the characters and their quirks, it quickly picked up speed and was difficult to put down! I enjoyed reading about the town of Broken Wheel and some of the residents who became part of Sara's life. I also loved seeing some of my favorite books receive a shout-out, as well as learning about others (although there are spoilers for some books, as well....these books have been around for a while though). Chick lit definitely received a lot of love, with mentions of Helen Fielding, Sophie Kinsella, and Marian Keyes.

The only issue I had was with some of the characters' ages being vague. I couldn't tell if they were around my age and being cheeky about others being youngsters or if they were significantly older. Even Sara's age wasn't directly stated, but I guessed she was in her thirties, given some of the context. Regardless of age, Katarina Bivald gives us a charming set  of characters!

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend was truly a delightful story and perfect for that book lover in your life (or yourself, if this refers to you).

For the movie version of my dreams:
Sara: Siri Svegler
Tom: Lee Pace
Grace: Fortune Feimster
Caroline: Tina Fey
Jen: Jennifer Garner
John: Ron Cephas Jones
Claire: Sara Rue
Andy: Zachary Levi
Carl: Josh Henderson
Josh: Tyler Posey


Janine said...

Sounds really good

The Book Sage said...

I have now seen this book being recommended all over the blogiverse. I'm going to have to pick this one up. And it's funny that you cast Josh Henderson in the "movie." I really liked him on the Dallas remake and am currently watching him on the E channel's 1st scripted series, The Arrangement. He plays a very famous movie actor. He does a heckuva job.

Liz Parker said...

I think I have a galley of this to read (e-galley) but haven't yet. Thanks for the review!

Kristi said...

I had a really hard time getting into this book so when it was due back at the library I didn't renew it. Now I'm thinking I may just need to try again!