My enormous thanks to Rhiannon Carroll at Simon and Schuster for inviting me to be part of the launch celebrations for The Book Ninja by Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus and for sending me a copy of the book in return for an honest review.
The Book Ninja is available for purchase through the publisher links here.
The Book Ninja
‘Frankie, think about it. Literature is your life. You’ve been trawling Tinder looking for well-read intellectuals, but it’s not working. Let’s shake things up! Just use your favourite books to find a man.’
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.
With the help of her best friend and colleague Cat, Frankie decides to embark on the ultimate dating experiment. Inspired by her surroundings at The Little Brunswick Bookshop where she works, 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. The only flaw to the plan? That she may never get her books back!
But that turns out to be the least of her worries… In between crazy dates and writing them up on her blog, Frankie stumbles upon her perfect man. There’s just one 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?
My Review of The Book Ninja
Books dominate Frankie’s life and might just get her into more than she bargained for.
What a brilliant book! The Book Ninja made me smile from start to finish and I loved it. Usually I find co-authored books slightly disjointed, but there’s so much variety in the plot devices that it works perfectly in The Book Ninja. There’s a real freshness to the texts, Facebook and Twitter posts as well as Frankie’s blog alongside the conventional narrative that I think The Book Ninja offers something for all readers, especially when the iterative image of books is so brilliantly carried through. I had feared it might be too clever or obvious or become irritating but not a bit of it. Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus have carried this off with consummate skill. The conceit of writing and publishing woven throughout the story is a triumph. I really enjoyed spotting bookish jokes and being reminded of books I love as well as those I have yet to read. And I am immediately adopting the game of matching complete strangers to genre!
Having visited Melbourne I thought the setting in The Book Ninja was pitch perfect. The vibrancy and quirkiness of the city comes through so that it is the perfect backdrop to the action. And I loved the plot. The quest for true love is a universal theme but in The Book Ninja it was so engagingly presented that it seemed new and delightful. Other themes explored, such as fidelity and identity, add extra layers of interest so that whilst The Book Ninja is a light and entertaining read it also has layers of depth. There is smashing humour that runs throughout too so that The Book Ninja is actually a joyful read, even at the point when I was shouting ‘No. Don’t do that’ at Frankie!
Speaking of Frankie, the characters (even Winnie the turtle) were wonderful creations. I thought the balance between those at the core of the story and the more peripheral characters was perfectly poised. Much of my enjoyment of the characters came through the witty and realistic dialogue which gave a real effervescence to the story.
The Book Ninja is a wonderful book for book lovers because it has literary references throughout whilst challenging those who might be book snobs! However, it is also a wonderful book for those who love a romantic tale, or who want to read a story with friendship at its heart, or for those who wish to explore the way social media affects our lives or… What I’m really saying is that The Book Ninja is a cracker of a read and, depending on what the reader brings to the reading, it can be enjoyed in so many ways. I thought it was a smashing read.
About Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus
Authors Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus are lifelong friends who set up the Books on the Rail campaign in Melbourne, an initiative aimed at encouraging people to put down their phones and pick up a book. This inspired them to sit down and write The Book Ninja, their first novel.
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