Title: The Library
Author: Bella Osborne
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: September 2nd 2021
Publisher: Aria
Finished reading: July 16th 2021
Pages: 384

“It’s a terrible thing to lose people you love from your life. The pain is the same however it happens and regardless of who is to blame.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Aria in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I’ve been looking forward to read The Library ever since I first heard about it, both because I love stories with a bookish element and because I like books with an older main character involved. I thought that this contemporary would be a perfect fit for me, but while there were definitely aspects of the story I liked, as a whole I ended up having mixed thoughts instead. It’s not a bad read and I see why other people enjoyed the story better, but there were things that prevented me from enjoying the story to the fullest.

First of all, I have to stress that I still love the premise of the story with the two unlikely characters connecting and forming a friendship through the local library. The unlikely friendship between the sixteen-year-old Tom and seventy-two-year-old Maggie is rather sweet and I kind of wish the story would have just focused on their budding friendship instead of adding a whole bunch of heavy topics that distracted from it. Oh yes, this was probably the main issue I had with The Library: the story seems to be stuffed to the limit with heavy topics such as addiction, alcoholism, abuse and bullying… These side stories distracted considerably from the main plot of saving the library and I felt like the story wanted to do too much and as a result lacked cohesion. The whole home situation with Tom, the mugging, the secret Maggie hides, the unrequited love between Tom and Farrah, the bullying… Instead of adding dept, it mostly felt like the story was trying to hard.

Like I said, I did like the parts about the library and how they plan to save it; there are lots of bookish references and I liked how they kept popping up. The friendship between Tom and Maggie is rather sweet and I really liked reading about their time on the farm with all the animals. The story is told with the help of a dual POV structure, switching between Tom and Maggie to hear both sides of the story. It’s a good way to tell this story and that wasn’t what bothered me; it’s mostly the many different side stories and elements that were a thorn in my side and this made it a lot harder to connect to the characters as a result. This is definitely a case of ‘less is more‘… And I think I would have enjoyed The Library a lot better if it had just focused on saving the library and the friendship between Tom and Maggie (or at least halved the amount of extra elements).


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