Book Review: Bookshop Girl by Chloe Coles

Bennett's Bookshop has always been a haven for sixteen-year-old Paige Turner. It's a place where she can escape from her sleepy hometown, hang out with her best friend, Holly, and also earn some money.

But, like so many bookshops, Bennett's has become a 'casualty of the high street' - it's strapped for cash and going to be torn down. Paige is determined to save it but mobilising a small town like Greysworth is no mean feat.

Time is ticking - but that's not the only problem Paige has. How is she going to fend off the attractions of beautiful fellow artist, Blaine? And, more importantly, will his anarchist ways make or break her bookshop campaign?

Meet Paige Turner (Yes, that's her real name...) Book-seller, aspiring art student and lover of pink Starburst. Paige has pretty much her dream job, working in Bennett’s bookshop alongside her best friend Holly. But disaster strikes when Paige learns that plans are afoot to close Bennett's and turn the property into a ‘state of the art retail unit.’ The town of Greysworth NEEDS a bookshop (and also kind of importantly, Paige NEEDS a job in order to be able to fund going to Uni…) 
There’s only one thing for it. Paige decides that she needs to take matters into her own hands and ‘SAVE BENNETT’S BOOKSHOP!’ Cue petitions, protests, civil disobedience and naked ladies.
However, as much as Paige’s mind is on the matter in hand, she can’t help but become a little bit distracted by broody book-loving anarchist/artist Blaine. He seems as keen to save Bennett’s as Paige, but is there something amiss about him?

Do you ever have that feeling of seeing a book and knowing that you ABSOLUTELY-MUST-JUST-HAVE-TO read it right away? (I call it ‘book at first sight’.)
That was pretty much me when I spotted Bookshop Girl lovingly staring back at me from the bookshelves. Bright, vibrant and with books on the cover, what more could any living, breathing human being possibly want from a book?

I absolutely loved Paige and I feel as though she is my spirit animal in many forms. (I also want her name; it’s the perfect name for any bookish human being.) She has such a warm, relatable voice and she makes a wonderful lead character. Her BFF Holly is also fantastic (and incidentally has the best name…) I loved reading about their relationship and it reminded me of my own friendships when I was sixteen (I’m talking gossiping about boys, scoffing ice-creams in the park and calling each other a bitch from time-to-time. ) Paige consistently made me smile and I wanted to be her friend. I just know that if I was sixteen and reading this I would somehow convince myself in my head that I actually WAS Paige, but I think that she is a pretty cool character to aspire to. A dedicated, hard-working & creative girl who loves books. There is no better role model as far as I’m concerned…
I also highly related to Holly, I think my admiration of her began that time she slid a plate of Mr Kipling cupcakes into her bag…Obviously something I would NEVER do. She was also weary of Blaine which I found interesting. I fell for Blaine pretty much as fast as Paige, so I was intrigued as to whether he really was the Starburst-buying good-guy with gorgeous eyes or if there was something about him that didn’t quite add up…

Like Paige, the sight of a handsome boy with a book in his hands was enough to make me go weak at the knees, but his hatred of getting his hair wet also annoyed me for someone who seemed such a free spirit, so I decided I would reserve judgement. 
I also adored Sue. One of the most unlikely allies for Bennett’s, the way in which Paige meets Sue was fantastic and I loved how Sue uses her ‘skills’ in this area towards the end of the novel. No, I’m not giving anything away – Just read it.

I loved Paige’s passion for saving Bennett’s and completely got on board with her campaign. It felt touch-and-go as to whether her plans would come to fruition but I was desperately hoping that they would. I also loved the fact that as much as this is 213 pages of bookish delight, it’s not entirely about saving Bennett’s and ‘activism shiz’  there is so much else going on within the story, too. Alongside the typical teenage girl trials and tribulations (I’m talking romance, fringe dilemmas, annoying siblings, the desire to get into Uni, friendships etc.) there is also an underlying theme of feminism which, although I wasn’t expecting, I found to be completely refreshing and it put a really interesting spin on things.

I love Chloe Coles’ style of writing. It is fun, relaxed and made Bookshop Girl such an enjoyable read. Chloe’s passion for bookselling and reading really shines through giving this novel all the authenticity it could ever want. She also has amazing hair (check out her Instagram.)     
Whilst I’d say this novel is ideally aimed at the younger YA audience, there is nothing to stop anyone of any age reading and enjoying Paige’s battle to keep the town of Greysworth reading.

I have already ordered Bookshop Girl #2 Life’s a Beach and I can’t wait to delve in. I miss Paige, Holly, Adam and the entire staff at Bennett’s (maybe not Tony…) and I can’t wait for more bookish adventures…

Bookshop Girl is available in paperback and ebook.

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