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young adult book reviews & more

How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanya Egan Gibson

How to Buy a Love of ReadingTo everyone else, Carley Wells seems to be stuck going nowhere. But Carley’s just living her not ambitious life. She can’t help but be unmotivated by her tutor’s SAT flashcards, her mother’s desperate desire for her to lost weight, and her crazy English teacher’s assignments. All Carley really cares about is finding the quirks in life and Hunter Cay, the beautiful boy who doesn’t mind her imperfections. Unfortunately, Carley won’t stay that way if her parents have anything to do about it. In a flash of inspiration, they decide to have a book commissioned, a story tailored just for Carley so she’ll have to love it, to cure her distaste for the written word. However unenthusiastically, Carley agrees. Enter Bree McEnroy, struggling writer personified. Carley doubts she and Bree could have anything in common, but the more time they spend together trying to develop a story to Carley’s tastes, the more she realizes that everyone has flaws, even if they’re too afraid to admit it, even if they try to hide or flee from them. Bree has them, Carley has them, and even Hunter, the boy Carley wanted to believe was perfect, has them too. And she finally understands that stories are more than just words on paper. Now, she only hopes she’s not too late to save Hunter or herself.

From the very first paragraph, How to Buy a Love of Reading is defined by Gibson’s distinctive writing. Her voice is frank and witty in all the right places and undoubtedly breathes life into her most important characters, namely Carley, Hunter, and Bree. These three are genuine people who struggle with valid problems readers can relate to on some level. Despite some boring sections, I was completely absorbed in these characters, their thoughts, emotions, fears, and despairs. These characters, I truly cared about by the story’s end. There’s just something about Gibson’s writing that makes the story so real. But real also means complex, and complicated this novel was. It goes beyond the countless minor characters I can never keep track of and the occasional dull passage I usually find in the adult novels I venture to read. How to Buy a Love of Reading explores the stories of real life, the delicate lies and truths they contain, and what happens when the story becomes more real than your life. It contains friendship, love, loyalty, and what happens when those bonds start to evolve or fray. Despite the protagonist being an adolescent, this is not a young adult book, not just because of its advanced vocabulary and content; there are layers to this story that require much pondering, more than most YA novels require. I’m not sure if I “[fell] in love with reading all over again” as the jacket flap promised me, since an avid reader always loves reading, but I’m certain I fell in love with Gibson’s writing and this story.

How to Buy a Love of Reading will be best understood by pensive teens and the adult audience. I can’t wait to see what Gibson writes next and hope she might stray into the young adult genre, although another adult title would be lovely as well.

Rating: 4.5

Review copy from publisher Penguin

6 munch(es) :

Juju said...

Super cute cover.

Faye said...

this book looks cute! i'll def. go check it out :D

Becca said...

Sounds like it’s worth wading through a few dull spots for a story you can fall in love with.

Arya said...

Sounds interesting . . . I always love it when a book makes the reader think.

Princess Z said...

Can't wait to read this book! Its sounds so interesting and different then most other I have read...

Maddie McPhail said...

great review, i am so dying to read this book!(:

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