Published by Simon & Schuster Australia on July 1, 2019
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Romance
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia
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Words are messy. Love is messier.A hilarious, insightful new novel from the creators of Books on the Rail
Meet Beatrix Babbage – 29-year-old dog-earer of books and accidental destroyer of weddings.
After ruining her best friend's nuptials, Bea relocates to the other side of the country in search of a fresh start, including meeting new people, living life to the fullest and finally pulling off balayage.
But after a few months, life is more stagnant than ever. Bea’s job is dead-end. Her romantic life? Non-existent. And her only friends are her books, her barista and her cleaning lady.
Then Bea stumbles across a second-hand novel, inscribed with notes. Besotted with the poetic inscriptions, Bea is determined to find the author ... and finds herself entangled in one hell of a love quadrangle.
Funny, poignant and insightful, While You Were Reading reveals that there’s no such thing as perfection, the value of true friendship and, most importantly, the power of not living in fiction, but still reading it … Often.
A love story for book lovers that celebrates much more than romance.
While You Were Reading is a fun contemporary read with a variety of quirky characters, ranging from a Royal family-loving woman with a pet ferret to a crazy bride. I enjoyed the plot immensely and thought it was a great self-discovery story, but was less than enthused about the romance. While You Were Reading was authored by the creators of Books on the Rail and aspects of book ninja-ing and sharing books around was definitely a huge theme of this novel!
The novel follows Bea Babbage, a 29-year-old woman who moves to Melbourne for a fresh start after ruining her best friend’s wedding but finds herself unable to find her place in the world. She’s working in a marketing job that she hates and she hasn’t made any friends besides the slightly grumpy barista at her regular cafe, Dino. When she stumbles across a book at a second-hand bookshop with beautiful annotations written throughout it, she decides to track down its previous owner. Along the way, there is self-discovery, friendships formed and romantic relationships entered into.
My main issue with the book was that the romance took over a lot of the novel and I was just completely uninterested in the whole thing. There was no chemistry between them and the whole thing was honestly just kind of awkward and put me off the whole book. I was much more interested in Bea’s journey of finding out who she is outside of the context of being someone’s sister, daughter and best friend. And I definitely enjoyed these aspects of the book a lot more.
I loved how much of a bookworm Bea was and how she inspired the same passion in others around her. I enjoyed her little quirks, such as entering into 25 words of less competitions (and winning lots of random things!). I really, really enjoyed her character and would totally read another book about her. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t invested in the romance in this book and when it came to these aspects of the book, I because less interested in Bea as a character. I also loved a lot of the other side characters. I loved Martha, who Bea met in the toilet cubicles at work, and the fact that they have chats about books while on the toilet. I loved Ruth, the founder of a massive muesli brand, who loves everything about the Windsor family and has a pet ferret named after Prince Philip. The characterisation really made the book for me and I would happily read spin offs about many of these side characters.
There was so much to love about While You Were Reading, especially the fun characters and the banter between them. I also loved reading about Bea’s journey of discovering the person she wants to be and seeing her successes throughout the book. Unfortunately, the romance in the book soured my experience a bit but I would still recommend this novel for anyone who is looking for a quick and fun read about books!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Thank you to Simon and Schuster for providing a review copy.
While You Were Reading is available at all Australian retailers for $24.99.