Plot:

We are not quite novels.

We are not quite short stories.

In the end, we are collected works.

A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who's always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.'s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It's a small package, though large in weight—an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn't take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.'s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn't see coming.



I brought this books probably about 5-6 years ago and have only just read it. I firmly believe that books have seasons, and it was the season for this one. I loved every page of this book. Written in two parts, every chapter is introduced by A.J on his thoughts about books he's read, and they often relate to the chapter theme. You can clearly see A.J transforming from the grumpy bookshop owner into some who is capable of enjoying life again all because of the mysterious little package. I highly recommend this book for when your going away or have time off. It's easy to read and easy to fall in love with the characters. It also highlights that there are good people out there, that we can all have a second chance and that it's never to late fall in love again.


This is my first book I've read by Gabrielle Zevin and I feel guilty that I left it so long to read it. I will definitely consider on reading more of her work.

Star Rating:

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Favourite Character:

Ismay