Review: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

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••☆••*´¨`*•.☆••5 stars ☆••*´¨`*•.☆

What it’s about:

This is a book about books. All sorts of books, from Little Women and Harry Potter to Jodi Picoult and Jane Austen, from to Stieg Larsson to Joyce Carol Oates to Proust. It’s about the joy and pleasure of books, about learning from and escaping into them, and possibly even hiding behind them. It’s about whether or not books are better than real life.

It’s also a book about a Swedish girl called Sara, her elderly American penfriend Amy and what happens when you land a very different kind of bookshop in the middle of a town so broken it’s almost beyond repair.

Or is it?



I loved this book! It’s quirky and fun. I really enjoyed the small midwestern town humor and each of the town’s folks grew on me. While the plot is mostly predictable, there are enough little twists along the way to make The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend a very enjoyable read (or listen in my case).

This is a book for book lovers. It’s all about books and people who love books (well, it’s about certain people who love books). It’s about a Swedish bookworm who comes to America to visit her pen pal and befriends the entire town of Broken Wheel, Iowa.

I fell in love with Sara, the Swedish bookworm. She is plain, hasn’t had a boyfriend, and has few friends. She carries a book with her everywhere; her books act as a shield in case no one deems her worthy of conversation. Her life is narrowly defined in Sweden, and her trip to America is a huge deal for her. This trip to meet Amy, her pen pal, could be the biggest thing that ever happens to her! Juxtapose to Sara’s view, the inhabitants of Broken Wheel find her exotic.
The folks in Broken Wheel are a great cast of characters, and this quirky group feels obligated to entertain the town’s first ever tourist, especially since her host, Amy, has passed away while Sara was en route. While each human character is unique and interesting, one of the main characters is the town itself. Broken Wheel is about as sad and run down as its name implies. The population is dwindling, and stores are closing. People and jobs are moving to nearby Hope, Iowa. The town folk of Broken Wheel somewhat reflect that tired façade like this is their last stop and they’ve all but given up.

I realize that I’ve made this book sound really sad and depressing, but it isn’t. Sara’s arrival in town lights a match that eventually makes the town glow with vibrancy. I would love to visit the little bookstore she opens to honor Amy and share her love of reading with the town. Her organization of the books is adorable and fun. Sara’s musing on the smell of new vs. old books, on the first sentences of books, and choosing the right book for her newly found friends appealed to my book addiction. Just like me, the town embraces Sara. The town’s increasing involvement in the bookstore brings everyone together. It really is a “feel good” read. Days after finishing, I still get a happy feeling when I think of The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend.

This debut novel was originally written in Swedish, and it is already a bestseller in many countries. It’s uplifting, entertaining, and charming. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend’s quirky characters, community pulling together, and multiple love stories is sure to appeal to readers of a wide variety of genres.


Goodreads | Amazon US | Audible | Kobo | iBooks | Random House Australia | Amazon UK


About the author:  Katarina Bivald grew up working part-time in a bookshop. Today she lives outside of Stockholm, Sweden, with her sister and as many bookshelves she can get by her. She’scurrently trying to persuade her sister that having a shelf for winter jackets and shoes is completely unneccessary. There should be enough space for a book shelf or two instead. Limited success so far. Apparantly, her sister is also stubbornly refusing to even discuss using the bath room to store books.

Katarina Bivald sometimes claims that she still hasn’t decided whether she prefer books or people but, as we all know, people are a non-starter. Even if you do like them, they’re better in books. Only possible problem: reading a great book and having noone to recommend it to.

Läsarna i Broken Wheel rekommenderar/The Readers in Broken Wheel Recommend is her first novel.

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