Review: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Posted January 21, 2016 by Lillian in Features, Reviews / 2 Comments


I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.

Review: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina BivaldThe Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
on 2016-01-19
Length: 400 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley

Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen...

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy's funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don't understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that's almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend's memory. All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald is a rather bland story about a Swedish girl coming to a small American town and falling in love. To be honest I’m not sure how realistic this is, so I just kinda rolled with it. It is fiction after all? BUT overall the story fell flat for me.

Sara is the main character, the girl who flies all the way from Sweden to meet her penpal Amy (more on that in a minute). Sara’s on the shy side, has zero self-confidence, and apparently made good money working as a clerk in a bookstore since she was able to take a TWO MONTH vacation to America. She’s a bibliophile which is her redeeming quality! She prefers books to people and isn’t afraid to tell others that. However her life is turned a topsy-turvy when she arrives in Broken Wheel.

The rest of the town is full of quirky characters that will inevitably remind you of someone you know. You have the busybody, the moral compass, the Sheriff, the quiet guy, and the token gay couple (has anyone else noticed that this seems to be a thing in books nowadays?) all in one small Iowa town. Each of the characters contribute to the story, but in all honesty the story could be told without them. They are THAT flat. There is no dimension to these characters, they are the stereotypical aspects that I’ve listed above and nothing else.

Tom is the exception but even then he’s not much of one. He’s the opinionated, leave me alone guy who winds up being the love interest. (I promise I’m not spoiling anything because this story is sadly predictable). I liked Tom. He’s the guy everyone relies on and he’s the one that pushes everyone to keep going. He’s like the town’s lifeline until Sara comes along.

The story revolves around Sara and her arrival in Broken Wheel. When she arrives, she’s planning on spending two months talking books with her penpal Amy, but on arriving she finds out that Amy’s died. She was sick for a long time, but didn’t tell Sara because she wanted her to come and meet the town and her friends. So her friends, honoring Amy’s wishes, do what they can for Sara and make her feel at home. With nothing to do with her time, Sara starts a book store using Amy’s books and her own and buying books with her own money to fill the shelves.

To be blunt, I didn’t believe this story was possible AT ALL! Sara worked at a bookstore as a clerk so unless she was an heiress to a giant fortune how in the world could she fly to America, spend 2 whole months there AND open a bookstore?! Not to mention this is illegal in the US ? The saving grace of the story is that the quirky town grew on me and Sara’s love for books shines through in all her quotes and recommendations to the townspeople.

Overall this story is just okay. I was not thrilled with it and at times I was bored. And that comparison to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a flat out lie! I loved that book which means I had high hopes for this one that were crushed. If you enjoy contemporary romance, than you might enjoy this book. I didn’t, but you might ☺️

Final Conclusion:

About Katarina Bivald

Katarina Bivald grew up working part-time in a bookshop. Today she lives outside of Stockholm, Sweden, with her sister and as many bookshelves she can get by her. She'scurrently trying to persuade her sister that having a shelf for winter jackets and shoes is completely unneccessary. There should be enough space for a book shelf or two instead. Limited success so far. Apparantly, her sister is also stubbornly refusing to even discuss using the bath room to store books.

Katarina Bivald sometimes claims that she still hasn't decided whether she prefer books or people but, as we all know, people are a non-starter. Even if you do like them, they're better in books. Only possible problem: reading a great book and having noone to recommend it to.

Läsarna i Broken Wheel rekommenderar/The Readers in Broken Wheel Recommend is her first novel.


Sourcebooks Launches Reader Voting Campaign to Grant Money to Community Bookstores

NAPERVILLE IL (January 5, 2016) — Independent publisher Sourcebooks announces the “Readers, Recommend Your Bookstore” campaign, which will give grant money to three nominated bookstores. The “Readers, Recommend Your Bookstore Campaign” is inspired by the phenomenal support booksellers have given The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald, which was selected as the #1 Indie Next Great Read for January 2016.  

Katarina Bivald’s international bestselling debut novel, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, is a charming, big-hearted story about the joy of books and the transformative power of community bookstores.

“Bookstores are the heart and soul of their community and have enormous impact on readers’ lives,” said Dominique Raccah, founder and CEO of Sourcebooks. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend inspired us to create a campaign that will not only give back to a few deserving bookstores, but hopefully highlight all the many wonderful bookstores that service communities across the country.”

Anyone can nominate their favorite bookstore at Sourcebooks will award the winning bookstore with a $3,000 prize; two additional bookstores will each receive a $637 prize (the population of Bivald’s fictional Broken Wheel, Iowa). In addition to bookstores receiving prizes, weekly giveaways for those who nominate will be held throughout the campaign. Voting began January 4, and runs until February 19, when the winning bookstores will be announced.

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2 responses to “Review: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

  1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who was disappointed by this book. I agree with everything you said. I was expecting so much more. The bookish references were not enough to carry this dull story. This book is popping up everywhere, and I just want to advise everyone against reading it. I also gave it 3 stars, but it’s just not worth the time.
    Kate @ Mom’s Radius recently posted…Re-Read: The Jane Austen Book ClubMy Profile

    • I agree. I’m not much for contemporary lit anyways but loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and other similar books so thought this would be a good read. Maybe something was lost in translation?

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