Monday, 22 August 2011

Exchange by Paul Magrs

Following the death of his parents, 16-year-old Simon moves into his grandparents' claustrophobic bungalow, which quickly becomes a refuge from his bullying peers. United by their voracious appetite for books, Simon and his grandmother stumble across the Great Big Book Exchange—a bookshop with a difference. There they meet impulsive, gothic Kelly and her boss, Terrance—and the friendships forged in the Great Big Book Exchange result in startling and unsettling consequences for all of them.

At first, I wasn't keen on this book - there was just something about the blurb that sounded...boring, I guess. But I was curious about the Great Big Book Exchange. I mean, being a book worm myself, the GBBE sounds like a kind of heaven to me - limitless books which you can chop and change whenever you like. Anyway - even though I wasn't too interested at first, it really proved me wrong. I actually got quite hooked - I wanted to find out what happened next, so I barely put it down. But in all honesty, even though I enjoyed it, it was a bit bland and...simple. There was a storyline but it was like you didn't notice it. The book is basically Simon and his grandmother going to and from this book exchange place. Will Simon get with Kelly? Will Winnie leave Ray and get with Terrance? I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but nothing exciting happens. It's just a story about a part of a sixteen year old's life. So, even though I did like it...I also didn't. The idea of the GBBE is a brilliant idea, and I personally think that if Magrs improved on the characters and the storyline, it would have been a brilliant novel.

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