An unlikely friendship forms between a sixteen-year-old boy and a seventy-two-year-old woman as they rally the community to save their local library.
Tom is invisible. He happily blends into the background of life. But Farah Shah changes everything. Farah makes Tom want to stand up and be seen – at least by her. So Tom quickly decides the best way to learn about women is to delve into romance novels, and he finds himself at the village library where he befriends 72-year-old Maggie.
Maggie has been happily alone for ten years, at least this is what she tells herself. When Tom comes to her rescue after a library meeting, never did she imagine a friendship that could change her life. As Maggie helps Tom navigate the best way to ask out Farrah, Tom helps Maggie realize the mistakes of her past won’t define her future.
But when the library comes under threat of closure, it’s up to Tom and Maggie to rally the community and save the library!
Will these two unlikely friends be able to bring everyone together and save their library?
I really really like it when I find an author whose work I enjoy so much I want to read more of their stuff. Bella Osborne is now on my discovery list.
Now, a lot of authors can (and do!) make us love and care for their characters. But rarely have I seen the level of empathy that Osborne imbues in her work, especially in this genre. The smallest of moments that pass between characters take on an emotional significance because she’s just that good, and skillful about her character traits.
I enjoyed the plot, story arc and character development. I especially liked how Tom grew into his own person and became confident in his own skin. Maggie was such a positive influence but she also comes from a place of pain and it affects her personality too. Osborne manages to let the subtleties shine through while also not making despair the focus of either one’s personality. A realistic portrayal, I think.
The central plot of saving the library was pretty meaningful to many of the characters, but the ‘side quests’ were also pretty good. I really have nothing much to critique about this book at all. It was a really good read and I’m glad I got the chance to read the e-ARC.
My only very minor qualm was it didn’t start off very strong. For such a wonderful book, it would be a shame if people set it aside because the first few pages didn’t draw them in. Hopefully not too many people will feel the same way as I did about the beginning of the book!
Overall, a lovely bittersweet book that handles heavy topics with lighthearted humor and a strong dose of empathy.
Thank you to Aria Fiction and Netgalley for the e-arc.
*A review copy was provided to Oh Just Books by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*