Book Review: How To Buy A Love of Reading

How to Buy A Love of Reading by Tanya Egan Gibson

Originally, I was going to tell you all about how totally bizarre this book is, how it’s way too long to be a young adult novel, how it forces its themes down your throat and how one dimensional the main characters are, how their motivations don’t stand up to much scrutiny.  But even after all of that, I read this book in August and here it is October and I cannot stop thinking about it.  So that has to count for something, right?

Quick Plot Summary – Carly is growing up in the rich community of Fox Glen.  She loves reality tv and hates to read, and her parents try to make her more interesting to future college admission committees by turning her into a bibliophile.  They commission a writer to come and live with them and to write Carly a novel that is tailored to all the things she loves in the hopes that she’ll learn to love books. Unfortunately the only thing Carly is actually interested in is her best friend Hunter, who’s a senior and a babe magnet and who isn’t in love with her at all.

Ok, so.  Waaaaaay long for young adult fiction.  Lots of minor characters who are actually far more interesting than the main two, Hunter and Carly.  The fact that Carly is a fat fat fatty and Hunter is a dream boat gets hammered down our throats about every thirteen seconds, and there’s no real reason to believe that they’d be friends at all, quite frankly.  The idea that Hunter gets sick all the time and he just lurrrrves how Carly soothes his fevered brow gets pushed way too hard to be believable.

And yet, this is a fun interesting journey through a quirky and different world.

I wasn’t surprised to learn that this was a first novel, because it does feel scattered, but deep down, I really think there’s something there. It’s got a really nice admiration for its characters, and it details all of them so that you feel that really know them.  For example, Carly’s father is a gazillionaire because he accidentally on purpose invented a magically uplifting bra, and he has a bra museum and studies the history of the bra and he cracked me up.  What can I say?

It has a little bit of that sort of twisting weirdness combined with intricate characterizations that is done to perfection in The Westing Game.  If you haven’t read The Westing Game, then there’s no contest there, go read that post haste.  But when you’re done, read How To Buy A Love of Reading.  It is long, and far from perfect, but I think it’s worth the trip.

Should You Read It:  If you read a lot of YAF and you are looking for more, I’d add it to the stack.  If you’re only going to read three books this year, just read The Westing Game.

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for reading my novel and for taking the time to review it. I’m happy that you enjoyed aspects of it, even if as a whole it might not have been your favorite-ist–and honestly, it always thrills me a bit when someone finds it “fun” and “quirky”!

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