Publisher: Sourcebook Landmark
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Women's fiction
Source: The publisher through netgalley in exchange for an honest review
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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 pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy's funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don't understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that's almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend's memory. All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love.
I heard about this readalong going on in the beginning of the year where a bunch of people, here in Denmark, read the Danish translation of The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend and now, after having read it, I'm quite sad that I didn't join them. It would be so nice to be able to share my feelings and thoughts with while I was reading it - because I absolutely loved it!
Going in to this book I only knew that it was about a girl who opened a book shop - and that it was a book about books. What more can you ask for really?
Sara has a pen pal in America called Amy, they exchange books and letters for two years and then Amy invites Sara to America. Sara leaves Sweden for a couple of months to finally meet Amy and ends up falling in love with Broken Wheel, Iowa. The beginning definitely made me laugh - her long time friend invites her to America only to wind up dead when she arrives.
I loved Sara! She always has a book with her, she's honest, loves to read, kind, funny and the kind of person I would love to know in real life. I think Sara might be one of, if not the, best characters I've ever come across. She's so real and so likeable! Sara definitely understands other readers and by the time I was done reading it I had two whole pages (Word pages) full of quotes from the book and a bunch of recommendations!
The other characters are definitely also likable, I loved Andy and Carl - the homosexual couple who runs the bar in town, I think Tom, Amy's nephew, is a fantastic character - he has so many different sides and his personality is right up my alley!. The rest of the characters are nice, but these are definitely some of my favorites!
Broken Wheel is a different sort of town; it's quite small but yet filled with people - at least it feels that way. Together with Sara I fell in love with the town, it became so idyllic, everyone was so friendly, everybody knew everybody and people helps each other. It was such a nice setting and it definitely brought something to the book. The small town setting might be one of my favorite things about the book.
The bookshop! I can't write this review without mentioning it! It's definitely my idyllic bookshop. It's not divided by genre, it's divided into Sara's very own categories and when she started making the categories I began laughing - when she was done I was mind blown: I will probably never categorize my books after the 'normal' genres anymore. I will follow Sara's example! The shop itself is so idyllic - it's homey and it's full of books. What more can you want? I just wanted to go to Broken Wheel myself, find a book and read in one of those big comfy chairs. If only.
Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend definitely surprised me, I had expected a light book about books and what I got was a fantastic, lovely, phenomenal and wonderful book. It was light but at the same time not fluffy - if that makes sense. I related so much to Sara, I laughed with the characters and I just wanted to go to Broken Wheel myself.
I think every lover of books should read this, it has probably made me love reading, and books in general, even more. It is so passionate about books and reading that you can't help being it too. It was so nice to read a book that really understands this passion we have of reading - not many people do and Katarina Bivald definitely do!
I have to admit, when I finished it I was ready to start over again, just to go back to Broken Wheel. That's how good this book is.