The Book Ninja by Ali Berg & Michelle Kalus
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publishing Date: 9th August 2018
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 352
Genre: General Fiction (Adult)
Buy the Book: Paperback
**Could you find your perfect man by looking at his book shelf?**
Frankie Rose is desperate for love. Or a relationship. Or just a date with a semi-normal person. It’s not that she hasn’t tried – Frankie is the queen of online dating. But she has had enough.
Deciding to embark on the ultimate dating experiment, inspired by her job at The Little Brunswick Bookshop, Frankie places her hope in her favourite books to find her the perfect man… Secretly planting copies on trains, trams and buses, Frankie hopes to find the man of her dreams through a mutual love of good books.
But one spontaneous kiss later and Frankie begins to fall for a guy called Sunny. There’s just one tiny problem – Frankie is strictly a Jane Austen kind of woman and Sunny is really into Young Adult. Seriously, obsessively into it…
Can Frankie overcome her book snobbery for the man of her dreams? Or will she be left searching the trains for her modern-day Mr Darcy forever?
Frankie Rose works at Little Brunswick Bookshop together with her best friend Cat. With her love life being totally in the dumps, she decides to try an experiment – she starts to leave some of her favourite books, with a little note with her name and phone number, on the trains. She hopes for men to read the book, see the note and contact her – well, you can already see what’s coming, right? So Frankie starts a blog, where she writes about her dates, that soon turns into a very popular one.
In the meantime, Frankie also meets a very attractive Sunny Day (I know. I KNOW), who also seems to like her. The first time they meet Frankie kisses him accidentally on his nose, but it also turns out that he reads YA fiction – he can’t be Frankie’s perfect match, can he?
The idea of finding a boyfriend through leaving books with a note in it all around Melbourne was a brilliant one. I think if the story focused on this, on the dates, and ignoring some of the other issues, it would be a much better read. It’s just, with all those things that were supposed to entertain us, to complicate the story it felt as if the authors have tried much too much and they have overdone. Some of the things were simply tasteless and I was all the time wondering why they’re there at all, what’s the point, some were bonkers, like Frankie’s parents, but this kind of bonkers, that’s just weird, just doesn’t work for me.
I think those few dates that Frankie got herself, and then the full blog posts about them were the strongest elements of this novel. Because the dates were hilarious and my favourite date was the one with people on the pictures looking like the third cousin – it was brilliant.
The problem was that I also couldn’t warm to the characters, couldn’t connect with them and, simply, probably just didn’t get them. Theirs was sadly not my kind of humour and I seem to see world in different ways to them. I don’t want to mention what it is that bothers me so much as I don’t want to spoil the reading for you but those who have read the book will certainly know what I’m talking about – I mean here especially Cat and also Frankie and her double life. I was also wondering what’s the point of some of the characters – to show how lovely and beloved Frankie was? How popular among 17 – year – old boys?
Frankie and Cat were working brilliantly together and they complemented each other. Their friendship was easy and genuine and I really appreciated it, even if they were not flawless and I didn’t understand some of their choices. Frankie was very accident prone and this feature of hers often got her into even more troubles and embarrassing situation. She also liked to jump to conclusions very much and rather be offended than simply talk. And she’s a real book snob, which didn’t sit so well with me. Do not judge a book by its cover and do not judge people on the genre they’re reading, pretty please Frankie.
Altogether “The Book Ninja” was a light – hearted read about finding love not exactly there where we’re looking for. I thought it’s going to be a kind of a bookish haven for such a bookworm like yours truly but it left me rather cold. There was a lot of banter about books, and there are many references to books – old and new ones – which was a real thrill. It was entertaining read, even if sometimes it stretched credibility, really verged on the ridiculous and too overdone. But if you’re looking for a funny and light read, then try “The Book Ninja”.