Simon & Schuster Publishers
A precious life in written form
by Vera Ze
Exchange is a book unlike any other I have read before; it gives another perspective on reading in general, making it seem as if a book is a precious life, in written form.
The story was on my mind day and night – I was so anxious for all the characters! I was especially surprised at Simon’s granddad who disliked books?!?! In my household and all the schools I’ve ever attended, books and reading were praised.
As lovely as the book was, the ending disappointed me with it’s simplicity. I was really expecting a surprise romance. Despite that fact, I do think it is a good read.
…The hero, Simon, has lost both his parents, and these days (as Frank Cottrell Boyce has pointed out in these pages recently) losing your parents is more than simply a device to get the grown-ups out of the way so that the youngsters can have adventures. It’s a real tragedy, and in the case of Paul Magrs’ simply written but moving and engaging book, it’s one that Simon is dealing with through most of the narrative.
He has gone to live with his grandparents. Ada and Ray appear ordinary enough, but nothing is quite as it seems. Ada is a reader, like Simon himself, and after they stumble across the Great Big Book Exchange, it emerges that she was the person who, many years before, set a bestselling local novelist on the path to fame and fortune. When Ada tells Simon the story, she says: “I had to be content to be just a reader.” Simon answers: “There’s no just about it. That’s what we are. Proper readers.”read The Guardian review
The Great Big Book Exchange – a bookshop with a difference
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