Thursday, January 21, 2016
Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal. 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 -- not much else to do in a small town that’s almost beyond repair. They just never imagined that she’d start a bookstore. Or that books could bring them together – and change everything.
There’s a book for every person ... and a person for every book. -- Sourcebooks
THE READERS OF BROKEN WHEEL RECOMMEND by Katarina Bivald has been getting a lot of great buzz! It started at last year's BEA where I was fortunate enough to receive a copy. It captured my attention then both due to the title and the cover -- anything book related for this blogger, right? And as the positive reviews kept coming in, I couldn't help but think this would be a great book for me.
THE READERS OF BROKEN WHEEL RECOMMEND is a quirky and very sweet story about Sara, a woman from Sweden who traveled to Broken Wheel, Iowa, to meet her pen pal Amy. When she arrives at the bus station, no one is there to meet her. She finds her way to Broken Wheel only to discover that Amy has died!
The townspeople of this sleepy and broken-down little town convince Sara to stay. They treat her with kindness and won't let her pay for a thing, and Sara eventually finds that she might have a purpose in staying there. (There really isn't much left for her in Sweden -- she lost her job at a bookstore and she doesn't have any close friends!) Sara decides to open a bookstore and her goal is to find the right book for every person! Is this not a message that just resonates with all of us book-lovers?
Sara and her actions quickly win over most of the townspeople, and the people in Broken Wheel find a little spring in their step. When they discover that Sara has to return to Sweden after her visa expires, the come up with a harebrained idea to keep her there... if they can just convince everyone involved that it's a good idea.
I really enjoyed THE READERS OF BROKEN WHEEL RECOMMEND. It was a heartwarming story with quirky characters. It was both touching and funny, and I couldn't help but fall in love with this interesting cast of characters. While the story focused around Sara and her bookstore, it was really much more than that. This novel was a look at small town life in the Midwest, and the overall message was one of hope!
While I did think THE READERS OF BROKEN WHEEL RECOMMEND was a light and fun read, it also touched upon some serious and relevant issues. Through the lives of the townspeople, the author managed to explore grief, sexual orientation, acceptance, change, marriage, child custody, and guilt... to name just a few. As a result, I think it would be a great selection for book clubs. There is a reading guide included in the back of my ARC, but I wasn't able to find it on-line.
THE READERS OF BROKEN WHEEL RECOMMEND is a treat to read... especially for book lovers.
I received a copy of this novel at the 2015 BEA.