Many thanks to Gallery Books for this review copy via NetGalley.
I really wanted to love this book, but in the end I pretty much hated it.
At first, Esme was great. However, it wasn’t long before she became a very weak character. She was not well written, and she made the same stupid mistakes over and over. I was looking forward to reading about her studies and her adventures in New York, but instead I was treated to many pages of her whining about the loss of a dick of a boyfriend who was walking all over her.
The secondary characters were very flat and one dimensional, and don’t even bear mentioning by name.
The bookstore itself is what drew me into the story. Having read Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore not long before, I was looking for something somewhat similar. Quirky, fun, but from a woman’s perspective. The people who worked at the book store were horrible book snobs, which is not something I enjoy in real life, so it was even harder to deal with in fiction. Plus, we didn’t get to see much about the customers, instead being introduced to the various homeless people who make the bookstore their regular haunt.
Having taken a lone art history class in college, that aspect of The Bookstore was something else I was looking forward to. Except that it was horrible and pretentious when we got there. I feel like maybe the author was trying to write “smarter” chick lit or something? But she went about it in entirely the wrong way, because in the end I felt the book just had this tone of talking down to the reader, and that didn’t sit well with me at all.
I wouldn’t recommend this book, in the end, as I can’t think of anyone who enjoys characters making stupid mistakes and writing that is very pretentious in tone. I think the author has potential if she takes some time to consider the many criticisms out there and works on something that readers can connect to, without worrying about it being branded as “chick lit”.