Book Review – The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Title: The Readers of Broken Wheel RecommendBook Review Button
Author: Katarina Bivald
ISBN: 9781492623441
No. of Pages: 400
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Origins: Sourcebooks Landmark
Release Date: 19 January 2016


“Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy’s funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor — not much else to do in a small town that’s almost beyond repair. They just never imagined that she’d start a bookstore. Or that books could bring them together – and change everything.

There’s a book for every person … and a person for every book.”

My Thoughts: Let’s face it. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is not an example of fine literature. The characters are one-dimensional; in fact, they are practically caricatures of every small-town inhabitant ever written. The plot is highly predictable; there really is not much that will surprise any reader.  The pacing is incredibly rushed; it is as if Ms. Bivald was in a tremendous hurry to finish her story. There is a bit of a lecture to the whole story, as Sara and the town members provide the examples for not living life to its fullest. Even worse, the story seems to not-so-gently mock life in the small-town Midwest with their unique rituals and rivalries. All of this should be enough for me to say that this is a book to avoid at all costs. However, that is just not true. In fact, the exact opposite is the case. You need to get your hands on a copy and read this delightful book as soon as possible.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend shamelessly panders to those who absolutely adore books, and that is where a large portion of the story’s charm lies. Readers will relate to Sara being caught sniffing a book. They will flash back to their own memories of beloved characters and novels about which Sara waxes poetic. They will instantly recognize Sara’s need to seek solace within a book’s pages and her desire for a vacation to do nothing but read. Moreover, book bloggers everywhere will also appreciate the idea of Sara traveling to a different country to finally meet what others would consider a perfect stranger. Ms. Bivald captures the book blogger community so well with Sara and Amy’s long-distant relationship. What she depicts is so very representative of the entire community, the ease with which we make friends around the globe over a common love of reading and our desire to meet each other in person whenever possible. While some readers may find this somewhat far-fetched, those of us who have traveled cross-country to meet each other know otherwise.

The fact that Ms. Bivald is so deft at reminding readers of the power and pleasures of reading makes this a novel that book lovers must read in spite of all of its faults. The bookstore Sara creates is idyllic in its perfection. Better still are the books she chooses for the town members and their reactions to those books. Sara refers to each book so reverently and so lovingly that it makes you want to make a list of every book referenced and read them all again. Similarly, Sara’s passion for finding the right book for an individual makes you want to find that perfect book for someone in your own life.  The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend makes you proud to be a member of the book lover community, and there is no better way to start out the new year than reading a novel that is all about celebrating books.


The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

BOTTOM LINE: An adorable, feel-good book that will have megawatt appeal to book lovers everywhere

13 Responses to Book Review – The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
  1. Brandie
    January 5, 2016 | 9:18 AM

    Well, I have this book and wasn’t even considering reading it. But your lovely review just convinced me that I’d be missing out. It sounds like a book I would really enjoy. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!!

    • Michelle
      January 25, 2016 | 7:24 PM

      You are very welcome! It really is a very cute book

  2. Tea Time with Marce
    January 5, 2016 | 10:02 AM

    I immediately was like why would I want to read this but I have to say the blogging network part intrigues me and sounds delightful, just maybe not executed greatly. I will give this one some thought.

    Traveling overseas to meet bloggers I can totally see, it would be the best book club meeting every in my opinion.

    And I really love the part about her choosing the perfect book for others.

    • Michelle
      January 25, 2016 | 7:25 PM

      It is a saccharin-sweet book, but it is perfect for those of us who just love books no matter what. I wish I had that gift of being able to choose the perfect book for others. It would be so handy!

  3. Amanda
    January 5, 2016 | 10:08 AM

    Just as I was congratulating myself for passing this up you turned it on me! I was strongly tempted because I love books about books of course. Sigh, onto the library list it goes.

    • Michelle
      January 25, 2016 | 7:26 PM

      Yay! I don’t think you will regret it. The story is by no means perfect, but it is just so damn charming!

  4. rhapsodyinbooks
    January 11, 2016 | 5:13 AM

    I am totally with you on “shamelessly panders to those who absolutely adore books,” and yet I loved it anyway!

    • Michelle
      January 25, 2016 | 7:49 PM

      Exactly! It pandered to me, and I will rave about it to anyone who will listen. It is just too cute a novel!

  5. Don O'Shaughnessy
    January 23, 2016 | 4:56 PM

    I agree with the first paragraph and especially the first sentence. It is a shallow, mocking, down-the-Swedish-nose view of Iowa from someone who, it seems from the book, has never actually been there. Although it is namely Iowa, it feels more like deep south cotton country. And when has anyone seen a “cargo scooter” in small town Iowa. Certainly not I. So while it might be charming to a denizen of the upper west side who has never been anywhere more midwestern than Yonkers, it is nothing short of offensive to actual midwesterners.

    • Michelle
      January 25, 2016 | 9:22 PM

      I tend to disagree. I am a Midwesterner born and raised, moved away for a few years and am back again to stay. I found nothing offensive about the book. It is not great literature, by any means, and it is definitely full of cliches but it is catering to a specific audience and does so very well. I really enjoyed it for what it is – a cute story about the power of books and reading.

  6. Carol
    February 4, 2016 | 9:12 PM

    Whatever you do, don’t listen to the audio. Apparently the reader thinks Iowa is somewhere in the American south, although occasionally the Iowans’ voices drift into something sounding like Boston (or maybe Maine?) I’m a patient, tolerant fan of audiobooks, but this has got to be one to eject.

    • Michelle
      February 6, 2016 | 4:11 PM

      Interesting. It sounds like both the producer and director, as well as the narrator, needed to check out his or her US geography before starting production, eh?

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