Originally published as The Collected Works of A. J. Fikry.
"Who the hell are you?" A.J. asks the baby.
For no apparent reason, she stops crying and smiles at him. "Maya," she answers.
That was easy, A.J. thinks. "How old are you?" he asks.
Maya holds up two fingers.
Maya smiles again and holds up her arms to him."
A.J. Fikry, the grumpy owner of Island Books, is going through a hard time: his bookshop is failing, he has lost his beloved wife, and a prized rare first edition has been stolen.
But one day A.J. finds two-year-old Maya sitting on the bookshop floor, with a note attached to her asking the owner to look after her. His life - and Maya's - is changed forever.
Gabrielle Zevin was raised by parents who took her to the library like it was church. She suspects that is why she became a writer. Her career began at age fourteen when an angry letter to her local newspaper about a Guns 'n' Roses concert resulted in a job as a music critic. Over eight novels for adults and young people, she has written about female soldiers in Iraq, mafia princesses in retro-future New York City, teenage girls in the afterlife, talking dogs, amnesiacs, and the difficulties of loving one person over many years. Her last novel, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, was a New York Times bestseller.
Zevin has done something old-fashioned and fairly rare these days. She has written an entertaining novel, modest in its scope, engaging and funny without being cloying or sentimental. On top of all that, it is marvelously optimistic about the future of books and bookstores and the people who love both — Washington Post
Packed with the love of a life lived around books — Metro
This wonderful, funny, uplifting homage to bookshops is an absolute treat. I've bought it for everyone I know — Huffington Post
Delightful! I read [it] in one sitting. This novel has humor, romance, a touch of suspense, but most of all love--love of books and bookish people and, really, all of humanity in its imperfect glory — Eowyn Ivey, author of The Snow Child
I read this book in one big greedy gulp. A charming and funny love letter to the written word - it will leave you smiling and with a large lump in your throat — Natasha Solomons, bestselling author of Mr Rosenblum’s List and The Novel in the Viola
Reminds us what saves us all from a life of loneliness and isolation: our sense of empathy; our ability to love and be loved; our willingness to care and be cared for. Gabrielle Zevin has written a wonderful, moving, endearing story of redemption and transformation that will sing in your heart for a very, very long time — Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rai
Readers who delighted in Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows's The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Rachel Joyce's The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, and Jessica Brockmole's Letters from Skye will be equally captivated by this adult novel by a popular YA author about a life of books, redemption, and second chances. Funny, tender, and moving, it reminds us all exactly why we read and why we love — Library Journal
In this sweet, uplifting homage to bookstores, Zevin perfectly captures the joy of connecting people and books . . . Filled with interesting characters, a deep knowledge of bookselling, wonderful critiques of classic titles, and very funny depictions of book clubs and author events, this will prove irresistible to book lovers everywhere — Booklist
A breezy, big-hearted treat, especially if you've ever wondered about the inner workings of America's national treasures--neighborhood bookstores — Jami Attenberg, author of The Middlesteins
Zevin is a deft writer, clever and witty, and her affection for the book business is obvious — Publishers Weekly
Sometimes funny, sometimes true to life and always entertaining . . . A likable literary love story about selling books and finding love — Kirkus
I was captivated . . . a touching, funny and uplifting novel that reminds us how books have the power to shape and transform our lives — Psychologies
it's hard not to be charmed by this story . . . Full of knowing literary jokes, Zevin's pithy novel is nonetheless undoubtedly entertaining and remains unconventional enough to cut through the sentiment — Daily Mail
A warm and uplifting story which manages to be witty and quietly subversive while avoiding the pitfalls of sentimentality — Mail on Sunday