*This post contains spoilers*
Fellow readers, please note that the following post contains spoilers. You have been warned.
This book caught my attention as I was strolling through the bookshop, weaving in out and out of shelves, running my fingertips along the spines of the various shelved books. Intrigued, I added it to the list. Incidentally, a few days later the same book was recommended to me. Coincidence? I think not – the universe is rarely so lazy (to quote Sherlock). Obviously I felt like the universe wanted me to read this book, so naturally it jumped to the top of the list and a few seconds later, thanks to the magic of technology, had successfully been downloaded on to my kindle.
I was promised a fresh concept, bookish references and a delightful story between the covers of ‘The Book Ninja’. In all fairness, I received all that but it also came with a bunch of other stuff that quite frankly did not float my boat. Although I loved how the story had a lot (and when I say a lot, a mean a hell lot) of book references thrown in coupled with the main concept being about leaving books on the tram in order to find the perfect date, there were many moments where I wanted to throw my kindle against a wall purely out of frustration. (Honestly, after reading Wuthering Heights, I never imagined I would feel that level of irritation again, for me to want to harm a book, yet here we are).
Let’s start with the characters. Why were all the characters so ‘quirky ’ and over the top all the time? Honestly speaking, at first I embraced it and throughly enjoyed it. I mean this is fiction and isn’t this the type of book that’s supposed to be light hearted, at times ridiculous and make you laugh out loud? But soon after, the antics were teetering between ridiculous and just downright over dramatic eye roll worthy dialogue and antics that made me question these characters. Unfortunately, the line was crossed (multiple times).
Frankie and her best friend, Cat, the main protagonists were indubitably awful people, something I cannot emphasise enough; the bad decisions kept piling up. Frankie was judgemental, snobbish and a hypocrite to top it all off. Cat wasn’t far behind. It’s quite easy to see why these two would be best friends. Let’s break this down – both are, to varying degrees book snobs especially towards the YA genre and oh yeah, both cheated on their respected partners and then had the audacity to try to justify it. Seriously?
Let’s move on. The side plots were clearly not well thought out, nor were they tied up properly. The whole Seb confessing his love for Frankie scene was just shoved under the carpet, never to be mentioned again. And the whole Cat getting pregnant as a result of her unfaithful dalliance with another man was just… well pointless. Even that was never given a satisfactory ending.
And finally we come to the YA commentary. The whole YA commentary was both valid and understandable. It highlighted brilliantly what issues YA books face as many people believe them to be for a particular age range and full of tropes, adding no value nor enriching readers’ lives. Of course, this is stupidly far from the truth – YA books are so much more than a bunch of tropes strung together and having predictable endings. But I digress – back to this particular book. The way these issues had been depicted was well done. However, after it being mentioned and emphasised over a handful of times, I couldn’t help but notice it had been overdone. An utter overkill.
Despite all this, I loved the whole premise and the ending when Frankie tries to win back Sunny by planting YA books on the tram, which had hidden notes inside them – no matter how ridiculous or unrealistic it may be, it made me smile. Using books to make such a romantic gesture is undoubtably clever and heart fluttering.
So in a nutshell, to round off this jibber jabber, the concept was amazing, as was the ending and book references scattered throughout. Nonetheless, the characters, side plot lines and the writing was a complete disappointment (and even that feels like an understatement). There were times where I came close to throwing my kindle across the room. But, common sense miraculously took over, leading me to snap my kindle cover shut in frustration instead of flinging it against the nearest wall. Basically this book had potential.
P.S. A book just fell on my head. I only have my shelf to blame 😉