Books are an escape route. A refuge. They can be a connection to a stranger, someone you’ve never met, who writes something that you hadn’t considered anyone in the world to have felt but you. When you grow up feeling too big for a place, and you make that kind of a connection with a book, it’s like a link; it’s a tunnel to the outside world.
Paige Turner loves her part-time job at Bennett’s Bookshop, the only bookshop ‘this side of Milton Keynes’. When she learns that it is under threat of closure, Paige, her best friend, Holly, are determined to rally the people of Greysworth into action and save their bookshop.
With the campaign, school, life drawing classes at uni and the attention of Blaine Henderson, local heart-throb and bad boy, things are certainly busy for Paige. But can Bennett’s be saved? And is Blaine really the boy of Paige’s dreams?
Fun from the first page, ‘Bookshop Girl’ is a light-hearted read with a warm-hearted message. The key role played by small, independent shops on our high streets in the communities they serve and their sad demise is brought into sharp focus through the life of Paige, who is frustrated by the smallness of her home town and relies on Bennett’s as her escape route through the wages she earns working there and through the world offered by the books it contains.
Relationships are also key to the story. Paige’s friendship with Holly is beautifully portrayed and her fascination with Blaine well developed. Her battle to save the bookshop also opens new friendships for her with those of other generations and the Posers are a brilliant group of characters, adding even more humour to the story.
Paige has a very strong, natural voice and Chole Coles uses this to challenge the casual sexism experienced by many on a daily basis. A very clear, empowering message comes from Paige and Holy which is a natural thread of the story and all the more effective for this.
‘Bookshop Girl’ is an excellent read and I’m delighted to see that there will be more from Paige and Holly soon.
Bookshop Girl Chloe Coles
Hot Key Books ISBN: 978-1471407116