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"There's nothing more elegant in the prose universe than a short story, Officer Lambiase."

I finished The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry in about 24 hours. Which should tell you something about it. It's about a grumpy bookseller who runs the only bookshop on an island off the coast of New England. His wife has died (HI TROPE, but I am ok with you) and one day he finds a two-year-old girl abandoned in his store. Then the rest of the book happens.

I got this ARC from NetGalley (it comes out April 1st), and when I saw the average rating, I was flummoxed. 4.49? Out of 178 reviews? That's...quite good. But as I read it, that rating made more and more sense.

It's a good, very readable book. I'd recommend it to most people as a "This will make you feel nice and maybe cry a little" book. I certainly teared up at lines like "It matters who placed A Wrinkle in Time in your twelve-year-old daughter's nail-bitten fingers," and I thoroughly enjoyed the reading experience.

The CAVEATS are mainly that:

1) It teeters between being made of solid writing and cliché/easily digestible quotes. Sometimes you feel like the author was sitting there thinking 'Awwww yeah, people're gonna Kindle-highlight this shit."

2) I super-feel like she can't write children, but that could be me being bad at knowing how children act. But I feel like it's not this:

"Oh ho ho, that is a very interesting observation, little girl," Leon Friedman replies. 
"I make many of them."

3) This is a book written for book people. So it's very "AREN'T THE BEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD BOOK PEOPLE" and you're like "YES YES THEY ARE 5 STARS." I'm kind of assuming at least part of its very high rating is that all the ratings are from people who got ARCs and therefore like reading and therefore like books about people who like reading.


BUT, those minor things aside, it's really good. And fun. And runnnnnns the emotional gamut. Also, who doesn't like a book that takes place in a bookstore?

No one.


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