Friday, February 19, 2010

Exchange - Paul Magrs

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 295
Format : Teenage Fiction, Novel
Reason for Reading : 10 10 10 Challenge

Simon's parents are dead and he is now living with his grandparents. Him and his grandmother discover they have a shared love of books when Simon has to sort though his parents belongings. They spend their Saturdays going to other localy towns and browsing through charity shops, filling their shopping baskets with more books to take home and fill their small house. Out one day they discover The Great Book Exchange. There they can buy second hand books in fantastic condition for very small prices, if they agree to take them back once they have read them to exchange for more books. In the shop they meet Kelly (a young goth girl about Simons age) and Terrence (the owner with two fake plastic arms) who become very important in the lives of Simon and his grandmother Winnie.

Simon's grandfather is not a fan of reading and on more than one attempt gets rid of the books stacked up in the house. He becomes more and more distanced from Winnie and Simon and can't understand them anymore. Winne discovers old books by Ada Jones who was an old friend of hers when she was growing up. The books take her back to her childhood and she wonders at the very different paths their lives took. Winnie stayed local and married whereas Ada went off travelling, having flings and writing. Winnie wonders about what could have been, did she make the right choices in her life. Did Ada?

This wasn't what I expected. I thought it would be a fantasy novel about a magical book exchange, but it turned out to be a very different tale about families, real life and passion for books and reading. It was like a fine wine somehow and I think it's the type of book I will love more and more with more readings of it. I recognised so much of myself in Simon when he gets really into reading and escapes his unhappy life. He always carries a book with him plus a spare just in case he gets stuck somewhere and finishes it. A definite must for anyone who loves books and a good story well told.


Unknown said...

I remember reading this a couple of years ago and really enjoying it. Simon would definitely be a bookblogging addict if he ever comes across it ;)

katrina said...

I also enjoyed reading this a few years ago, I wasnt to go to that shop! Its like bookcrossing but all in one place you could spend hours wandering through

soleil said...

This sounds very intriguing.

Alice said...

I like the sound of this one, Rhinoa!

valentina said...

this sounds really really good! have to read it:)