Size Doesn’t Matter (181): The Losers Club; How to Find Love in a Bookshop

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (181): The Losers Club; How to Find Love in a BookshopThe Losers Club by Andrew Clements
Narrator: Chris Gebauer
Length: 5 hrs, 29 mins
Published by Listening Library on August 1, 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-stars

The beloved New York Times bestselling author of the modern classic Frindle celebrates books and the joy of reading with a new school story to love!

Sixth grader Alec can't put a good book down.

So when Principal Vance lays down the law--pay attention in class, or else--Alec takes action. He can't lose all his reading time, so he starts a club. A club he intends to be the only member of. After all, reading isn't a team sport, and no one would want to join something called the Losers Club, right? But as more and more kids find their way to Alec's club--including his ex-friend turned bully and the girl Alec is maybe starting to like--Alec notices something. Real life might be messier than his favorite books, but it's just as interesting.

With The Losers Club, Andrew Clements brings us a new school story that's a love letter to books and to reading and that reminds us that sometimes the best stories are the ones that happen off the page--our own!

Once again, I picked up a completely random audiobook. Sure, it’s not something I would ordinarily pick up, but it’s about a bookish sixth grader and I liked the preview of the narration. The Losers Club turned out to be super cute, and it will delight bookish children.

I’m not sure whether kids these days still read a lot of the same classics we did or if that’s a bit inaccurate, but I can say that, for all that I’m like twenty years older than these kids, I grew up reading a lot of the same books they’re reading in The Losers Club. Hatchet and Charlotte’s Web and Number the Stars and A Wrinkle in Time etc. Even though some of the referenced books don’t delight me like they used to, I remember being starry-eyed when I first read A Wrinkle in Time or on tenterhooks as I read Hatchet.

Alec’s school has an after school program that’s very flexible. Everyone needs to join a club or activity, but they can create their own. Alec just wants to be able to read, especially since, after getting trouble for reading during class AGAIN, he’s not allowed to do that anymore, so he sets up a club with Nina, a fellow bookworm. He calls it The Losers Club, so that other kids won’t want to join and distract them.

It’s a pretty classic middle grade story. Alec has a small, cute crush on Nina. They become friends over the course of the book, and they make new friends too. Alec learns that reading can also be a social activity, because it’s fun to recommend and discuss books with other people. He and his former friend turned bully Kent work through their issues, and everyone comes out the end of the book a little bit nicer.

The Losers Club is adorable. Bookish folks who grew up reading those books, whether they grew up a while ago or are just doing so now, will likely enjoy this charming tale.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:


I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (181): The Losers Club; How to Find Love in a BookshopHow to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry
Narrator: Fiona Hardingham
Length: 9 hrs, 48 mins
Published by Penguin Audio on August 15, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-stars

The enchanting story of a bookshop, its grieving owner, a supportive literary community, and the extraordinary power of books to heal the heart

Nightingale Books, nestled on the main street in an idyllic little village, is a dream come true for book lovers—a cozy haven and welcoming getaway for the literary-minded locals. But owner Emilia Nightingale is struggling to keep the shop open after her beloved father’s death, and the temptation to sell is getting stronger. The property developers are circling, yet Emilia's loyal customers have become like family, and she can't imagine breaking the promise she made to her father to keep the store alive.

There's Sarah, owner of the stately Peasebrook Manor, who has used the bookshop as an escape in the past few years, but it now seems there’s a very specific reason for all those frequent visits. Next is roguish Jackson, who, after making a complete mess of his marriage, now looks to Emilia for advice on books for the son he misses so much. And the forever shy Thomasina, who runs a pop-up restaurant for two in her tiny cottage—she has a crush on a man she met in the cookbook section, but can hardly dream of working up the courage to admit her true feelings.

Enter the world of Nightingale Books for a serving of romance, long-held secrets, and unexpected hopes for the future—and not just within the pages on the shelves. How to Find Love in a Bookshop is the delightful story of Emilia, the unforgettable cast of customers whose lives she has touched, and the books they all cherish.

It’s no surprise why I picked up How to Find Love in a Bookshop. About the only thing more overtly Christina bait is something like Heartstone (Pride and Prejudice with dragons). People falling in love in a bookshop = everything I’ve ever wanted. As anticipates, How to Find Love in a Bookshop is a cute, bookshop-centric with a Love, Actually sort of vibe.

Unsurprisingly, I could help comparing it to The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, which is about an English woman who arrives in America to visit her bookish pen pal, only to find that the pen pal has died. The woman ends up staying and running the town’s book store and finding love along the way. In How to Find Love in a Bookshop, the heroine takes over her father’s bookshop following his death…and finds love along the way. Of the two, I definitely preferred The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend because it had a bit more focus, a better romance, and wider book recommendations, but they’re both delightful.

Given that it’s a fairly short book, I mostly felt like How to Find Love in a Bookshop took on a bit too much. There are a lot of POVs, and some of them really didn’t feel very necessary. I was invested in Emilia and Thomasina’s POVs, and I’d have loved it if a couple of the others had been removed so that there had been more time for the development of their character arcs and romances. Jackson’s POV and the whole “undercover” plotline, which Henry does absolutely nothing with anyway, could be removed without changing the story at all. I also could have done without the recounting of Emilia’s dad’s past.

Like with Love, Actually, some of the stories are happier than others, though most of them have HEAs. There’s one that’s a bit reminiscent of Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman’s, which, no surprise, wasn’t my favorite. Still, I can see how it imparts a bit of realism to a novel where everyone else is falling in love in cute, tropey ways. Thomasina’s romance was by far my favorite.

Still, there are a couple of really adorable romances and a lot of bookishness (even if most of the recommendations are just classics, which are easy and don’t feel as tailored to the people getting the recommendations). It’s a cute story, and it made me smile.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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