The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Chick-lit
Rating: 4/5 stars
Goodreads Summary: In the spirit of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Gabrielle Zevin's enchanting novel is a love letter to the world of books-and booksellers-that changes our lives by giving us the stories that open our hearts and enlighten our minds.
On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto "No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World." A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.
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 Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who's always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over 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, A.J. 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, but large in weight. It's that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry 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.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or 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. As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.
This is my reaction of when I first heard about this book, and when I got it. :)
Gabrielle Zevin has just did it again, just like every other time. I am, and always have been a fan of this brilliant author's books, starting from the Chocolate trilogy, Elsewhere, The Anatomy of A Teenage Amnesiac, and now this. This is the first adult-based book I've read from Gabrielle Zevin, and I was very anxious to see how her writing style varies from YA to adult, but I found that she still writes the same way- witty, humorous and fun, just like always. She will leave you sitting there with a smile from your head to toes.
This is an absolute bookkeeper's tale. Amelia, a Knightley Press sales rep steps into the Island Books shop and all she think is what a dull place. It is a bookstore owned by a widowed man who lives alone in the two room attic on top of the bookstore. When A.J. Fikry, that owner, lays his eyes on Amelia, is falls head over toes for her. She talks books with him and returns with new catalogs every season, and he looks forward to her visits every time. Adding to that bundle of happiness, a mysterious baby is left at his bookstore, with a letter pleading A.J. to keep the baby and adopt her and take of her. This is A.J.'s story, and it only begins once you open this book.
Although this book is barely a month old, it feels like a bookworm classic, and I advise each and every one of you to head out and pick up this book. Have you ever read a tale about a bookstore owner? I think not, and Gabrielle Zevin has absolutely accomplished a first in book history. Finally, a cute contemporary book that has so much meaning and gorgeousness within and behind the story. You will fall in love with this instantly. This is another absolute 2014 favourite of mine.
This book was so devouring, it was one of those books that you enjoy reading so much because it's different from anything else. It is nearly impossible to create some sort of replica of this book and start something new with a similar idea, and that's another reason why I loved it so much.
This book was very fast paced, from beginning to end, despite the few bland and dull moments that had occurred, and those moments were my only problem with this book. Other than that, it was perfection, although perfection in books rarely occur.
These characters were genius. I loved A.J. so much. I felt that I could relate to him a lot, especially with our deep love of books and what we see in books that non-bookworms don't see. If you're a hardcore bookworm/fangirl, then you will relate to A.J. so much and you will get inspired by him, which characters rarely do to readers. Want a character-to-reader bond? Say hello to this. *waves*
I actually related to most of these characters. Bits and pieces of them completed me. Maya was another girl who was similar to me. There aren't many young people out there who love to read and write compared to the opposite population. But, for once, Maya was a character in a book who loved books and saw something special in them, just like her dad did too. Her story was deep and unique and was worth sharing and creating.
All of these characters were special and were like one big family. Everyone had something special and different about them, and everyone went through some sort of hardship- Ismay and Nicholas finding each other, or Maya finding her parents. Everyone made a difference and helped thios book become something that it was supposed to be and more.
This was made out of many genres- romance, chick-lit, tragedy, adventure, relationships, realistic fiction, and it was all smushed up together to create brilliance that will stun readers for years to come. Go and pick up this book right now, or just skip reading the rest of the review and just read this sentence what I just wrote. :)