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Monday, September 28, 2009

How to Buy a Love of Reading Review

Finally, a review! A rare creature around Laina Has Too Much Spare Time. Hopefully that's going to change, though.

How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanya Egan Gibson

Published: May 14th, 2009, by Dutton
Genre: Adult Contemporary Fiction
Page count: 389 in my hardcover copy

Summary (from goodreads and the inside of the dust jacket): To Carley Wells, words are the enemy: the countless SAT lists from her tutor, the “fifty-seven pounds overweight” assessment from her personal trainer, and most of all, the “confidential” Getting To Know You assignment from her insane English teacher (whose literary terminology lessons include “Backstory is Afterbirth” and “Setting is Nobody’s Slut”). When he tells her parents that she’s answered “What is your favorite book?” with “Never met one I liked,” they become determined to fix what he calls her “intellectual impoverishment.” They will commission a book to be written for Carley that she’ll have to love—one that will impress her teacher and the whole town of Fox Glen with their family’s devotion to the arts. They will be patrons—the Medicis of Long Island. They will buy their daughter The Love Of Reading.

Impossible though it is for Carley to imagine ever loving words, she is in love with a young bibliophile who cares about them more than anything. Anything, that is, but a good bottle of scotch. Hunter Cay, Carley’s best friend and Fox Glen’s resident golden boy, is becoming a stranger to her as he drowns himself in F. Scott Fitzgerald, booze, and Vicodin.

When the Wellses move writer Bree McEnroy—author of a failed meta-novel about Odysseus’s voyages through the Internet—into their mansion to write Carley’s book, Carley’s sole interest in the project is its potential to distract Hunter from drinking and give them something to share. Instead, as Hunter’s behavior becomes erratic and dangerous, she finds herself drawn into the fictional world Bree has created and begins to understand for the first time the power of stories—those we read, those we want to believe in, and most of all, those we tell ourselves about ourselves. Stories powerful enough to destroy a person.

Or save her.

Review: Before I start on with the more detailed stuff, I want to remind you all that I'm sick and taking cold medicine, plus I'm kinda crabby, so keep that in mind while you're reading the review. I probably shouldn't even be doing a review when I feel like this, but I want to, so...

Anyways. How to Buy a Love of Reading is an interesting book, to say the least. Even the premise alone is an idea that must be foreign to most book lovers. I mean, when Carley is asked her favourite book and answers "Never met one I liked", isn't that just the saddest thing ever?

Plot: I suck at writing about plot, and I'm not feeling up to it right now, so I'll just send you up to the summary for reference and move on.

Characters: Carley Wells, age almost sixteen, is the main character of HTBALOR. She's unmotivated, uninterested, needy, troubled, not always likeable but never unreadable. At the same time that you wanted to smack her, you wanted to hug her because she was just so relateable and realistic. She rewrites her life each night before she goes to school, rewrites things the way she wishes it would have happened. I just wish that more of the book had been told from Carley's point of view, as she's such an interesting character.

Hunter Cay, Carley's best friend, is the other main character of HTBALOR, and the book is as much about him as it's about Carley. Hunter is sensitive, interesting, honestly cares about Carley like no one else does, and an addict. He's beautiful and broken and if you need one reason to read this, he's it.

The supporting characters are three demensional and deep and just plain awesome. Even if you don't like them, *cough*likehermother*cough*, they're still complex and readable.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: There's nothing huge, really, some slow spots that could have been the cough medicine/my fever coming back, nothing really bad. Except for *SPOILER STOP READING* the ending. Blank DIES! That is SO not fair!!!! *END OF SPOILER* Other than that, and just the whole underage drinking bugged me, but I just plain don't like that, and I don't judge books by it, so there really isn't much.

PG-13 stuff: There's cursing, drinking and drug use by minors, sex... But this isn't a YA novel, despite its crossover appeal, so the subject matter reflects that. I just kinda wish that the characters were a tiny bit older, even just post high school/college age. They just seemed so young to be dealing with such serious, scary stuff. But that's probably just me being weird.

Cover comments: I really like this cover. It reminds me of an older books, one of the ones I grew up reading, devouring, really. Yeah... anyways...

Conclusion: How to Buy a Love of Reading is a must read, despite some small flaws. The characters are interesting and relateable, the writing is great, and the end is heartbreaking yet somehow perfect. Three and a half roses.

Okay, so it's not the best review I've ever done, but it's better than nothing, right?
Peace and cookies,


  1. I really liked this novel as well. Hated the ending tho.

  2. BLANK dies? Don't tell me it's Hunter D: I want to read about this beautiful and broken boy now.

    A MC that HATES reading? Ack, I think I just died a little...

    well now, you've caused me to put yet another book to my expanding TBR pile.

  3. The main character sounds like a very interesting one :)

    Dont worry girl, the review was very informative and amazing for u being sick =]

  4. Insert Book Title (and you really should put your name on your profile, I feel like an idiot calling you that): I disliked one particular part of the ending. The rest of it was good, though. :)

    Pengy: Dude! What was the point of me going into my html to find my background colour if you posted it here? Lol, but don't worry, it's okay. You definitely need to read this one. *nods*

    Ash: Thanks for the comment! You might like this one, you should read it. ^^

    Tasch: She is really interesting. And thanks! You have no idea how much cold medicine I was on here. XD Not to mention maybe running a fever.


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