Review: While You Were Reading by Ali Berg & Michelle Kalus

 

Title: While You Were Reading

Author: Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus

Published: July 1st 2019, Simon & Schuster

Status: Read June 2019, courtesy Simon & Schuster/Netgalley

++++++

 

My Thoughts:

 

After accidentally ruining her lifelong best friend’s marriage, a mere hour or so after the wedding, Beatrix Babbage moves from Perth to Melbourne looking for a fresh start, but it’s more difficult than she envisioned. The only respite from her loneliness is provided by The Nook, where barista/slam poet Grover ‘Dino’ Dinopoli, scribbles book quotes on her coffee cup, and pastry chef, Sunday, occasionally lets her lick the spoon.

Until, one evening while exploring the city, Bea, a self confessed bibliophile, wonders into a bookstore where she discovers a second-hand book. While the blurb piques her interest, it’s the handwritten notations in it’s margins that captures her imagination, and Bea grows increasingly convinced that finding the ‘Mystery Writer’ will be the catalyst that will change her life.

While You Were Reading is a likeable, modern contemporary romance, the second book from co-writer’s Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus, who are also cofounders of the fabulous Books on the Rail project.

Instagram posts (complete with photo’s, follower comments and likes), texts, instant messages, email’s and notes (left for her cleaner) helps tell Bea’s story as her obsession with the ‘Mystery Writer’ leads her in surprising directions.

I mostly liked Bea, and had some sympathy for the awkward situations she found herself in. Her level of self esteem is awfully low though, and she makes some immature assumptions, and decisions. It takes her quite some time for her to find her feet, but I was glad she did.

I did enjoy the romantic plot developed by the authors. I like a friends to lovers trope, and though the obstacles were mostly predictable, there were some interesting elements, particularly surrounding the identity of the ‘Mystery Writer’. I also enjoyed the mini romance plot that played out through Bea’s Instagram comments.

Supporting characters, Ruth, with her pet ferret, and Bea’s sister, Ex-bachelorette star, with her Instagram obsession, add a touch of absurdity. I liked the odd start to Bea’s friendship with Martha, and the supportive relationships Bea formed with them.

I would love to attend a literary pub crawl like that which Bea attends, and the event she organises, Next Chapter: speed dating for books. There are dozens of references to classic and modern books, from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott to The Sunday Girl by Pip Drysdale, including a cheeky mention of the authors’ first novel The Book Ninja, throughout While You Were Reading. It’s a fun addition to the story for book lovers, and handily the authors provide a list of every title at the end of the book, which I appreciated (quite a few I’ve either read, or are on my TBR).

When You Were Reading is an engaging romance, particularly if you are a bibliophile. I do feel I need to add however, that despite Bea’s age (she turns 30 early on in the story), While You Were Reading, overall feels like it’s probably more suited to a younger barely ‘adulting’ demographic.

++++++

Available from Simon & Schuster Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. thebookishlibra
    Jun 25, 2019 @ 08:37:19

    This sounds like a pretty solid read and it definitely has me curious about literary pub crawls, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Amanda Barrett
    Jun 25, 2019 @ 20:55:22

    Great review! This one is also on my TBR review pile along with the previous book – The Book Ninja!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. ✨The Reading life✨ (@_AnneBlogger)
    Jun 25, 2019 @ 22:03:06

    Personally, I prefer the hate-love relationship trope (it’s my favorite). I absolutely love the dynamic where a pair started off pretty much HATING each other but then started to turn into romance as they get to know each other better. But great review! I’m glad you enjoyed the book.

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

    Anne @ The Reading Life

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. Patty Magyar
    Jun 25, 2019 @ 22:14:51

    This one sounds fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  5. Lisa
    Jun 26, 2019 @ 00:24:42

    This sounds charming! (And now I want to know how she ruined the wedding…)

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  6. Margaret Lynette Sharp
    Jun 26, 2019 @ 20:51:26

    This sounds like an enjoyable read.

    Like

    Reply

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