Primary Genre(s): Young Adult, Fiction
Originally Published: 30 August 2016 by Pan Australia
Page count: 352
My Format: Audiobook via Overdrive
Cover: Pretty, Eye-catching
Would I recommend it: Maybe
Commission Link: https://amzn.to/2Iy8vig
My rating: ★★★☆☆
Synopsis from Goodreads
This is a love story. It’s the story of a second-hand bookshop called Howling Books where people leave letters to strangers, or those they love, or want to love, between the pages of books in the Letter Library.
Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie are best friends. Or they were. Before Rachel moved away to the sea. Now, she’s back, grieving for her brother Cal who drowned in the sea that he loved.
Rachel loves Henry. Henry loves Amy. Amy loves Amy but is happy for Henry to love her, too.
This is a book about books. About the power of literature to cradle our past, present and future selves. It’s about how we leave ourselves behind when we die. How we leave our histories in the things we love – like books.
I’m on the fence about this book. It really fell in the middle of the road for me – not bad, but probably not particularly memorable for me. Here are my pros and cons:
- I’ve mentioned this before… I love a book about books, bookstores, book lovers, and just about anything book related. This particular story intrigued me because people leave letters to strangers and others in the books in the Letter Library of this particular bookstore. I thought this was creative, but… (see Con #1).
- I loved all the book and poetry references.
- I loved that the main book lover in this story is a young man. I can honestly say I don’t think I have ever read a story about books and book lovers that didn’t feature either a female of any age or an old man.
- There is an underlying back story surrounding the death of Rachel’s brother that I thought was well done. I think the story discussed grief and learning to live with loss very well.
- George’s story was sweet and sad. George’s character was probably the only one I connected with at all.
- While the story did have folks that left notes inside books in the Letter Library, the story really became about the employees of the bookstore leaving notes to each other. These are teenagers that are leaving notes to each other in books. Hand-written notes. Not sure I bought that considering the “face-glued-to-a-screen” world we live in. I was intrigued when the synopsis implied many people leave notes to strangers – and it does mention some of that in the story – but the book itself is mainly focused on Henry, Rachel, George and Martin leaving notes to each other. This didn’t ruin the book for me, but I felt a tad ripped off because I was expecting something other than angsty teen love notes.
- HENRY! Oh my gosh. I think I read about 50 pages of him questioning whether or not Amy loves him and why she might not love him and how she could possibly love someone else and why doesn’t she come back to him and ARGH!!!!! His whining was almost non-stop and it pretty much didn’t end until the last few pages of the story. I’m obviously not the target audience for this kind of thing.
- I never really connected to any of the characters, other than George, and even that was minimal. Except for the story of Rachel’s pain of losing her brother, the rest of the story felt a little artificial to me.
This is a book about experiencing loss, learning to live with grief and pain, the power of words, and falling in love. That sounds great, doesn’t it? Sadly, for me, it was served in an angsty teen wrapper. However, once you get past the angst, you finish with something that is uplifting and hopeful. I obviously had some dislikes here, but overall I liked the book. I’m sure most teens/young adults would love it.
If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: https://amzn.to/2Iy8vig. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!