Book Review: The Storied Life of A.J Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

The Storied Life of AJ FikryWhat’s it about?

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.


My thoughts

This book had been on my radar for such a long time and after reading it I regret leaving it so long.  Though sad in places it’s wonderfully uplifting,charming and humourous and if you’ve not read it, I urge you too; particularly if you’ve enjoyed books like The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, 84 Charing Cross Road or The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Initially AJ came across as a spiky unlikeable character, but as you get to know him you’ll realise he’s just protecting himself and really has a heart of gold.  The secondary characters all play significant parts with none of them feeling like fillers which I liked.  I honestly don’t think I disliked any of them which is rare.

What really comes through also is the author’s love of books and how well read she is to be able to have the mini analysis and empart these little pearls of wisdom at the start of each chapter.  These some way link to main character’s daughter throughout and as she grows up which is really sweet.

Occasionally twee, but I think any book lover will take Island Books and its owners and customers into their hearts and will think about them long after the final page is turned.

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon

Author links: Twitter | Website


  1. 12th August 2016 / 9:11 am

    I added this book after seeing it on your blog and your review just confirms the feeling I had, I need this book! I always appreciate when secondary characters are not just bland people without much purpose.

    • 3rd September 2016 / 4:21 pm

      I’m really pleased you took my recommendation; I hope you’ll enjoy it too 🙂

  2. 12th August 2016 / 9:13 pm

    Sounds like a pretty good book 🙂

  3. 13th August 2016 / 4:31 pm

    It’s an amazing book, happy you finally got to it 😀

  4. 27th October 2017 / 4:10 pm

    Yeah, it’s a bit meta, but I liked it for what it is: a fairy tale. 🙂

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