Published by Inkyard Press on October 8, 2019
Format: ARC, Hardcover
From the moment she first learned to read, literary genius Darcy Wells has spent most of her time living in the worlds of her books. There, she can avoid the crushing reality of her mother’s hoarding and pretend her life is simply ordinary. But when a new property manager becomes more active in the upkeep of their apartment complex, the only home Darcy has ever known outside of her books suddenly hangs in the balance.
While Darcy is struggling to survive beneath the weight of her mother’s compulsive shopping, Asher Fleet, a former teen pilot with an unexpectedly shattered future, walks into the bookstore where she works…and straight into her heart. For the first time in her life, Darcy can’t seem to find the right words. Fairy tales are one thing, but real love makes her want to hide inside her carefully constructed ink-and-paper bomb shelter.
Still, after spending her whole life keeping people out, something about Asher makes Darcy want to open up. But securing her own happily-ever-after will mean she’ll need to stop hiding and start living her own truth—even if it’s messy.
I am not a fan of young adult romance novels, full-stop. Nine times out of ten if I get a request to review a YA romance, I politely decline. But when I was got the offer to read The Library of Lost Things from the Fantastic Flying Book Club, it pulled on my heart strings, told me it was more than just a YA romance, and to give it a chance. So I said, “OK, do your worst,” received my review copy, and was smitten.
PS: Go check out the blog tour, there are so many fun bloggers on this one with me! Huge thanks to Inkyard Press, Laura Taylor Namey and (of course) the FFBC for my review copy.
How I’d Describe This Book to a Friend
Darcy Wells is precocious – I think any girl who was a bookish geek (haha see what I did there?!) or a nerd in high school will intrinsically “get” her. Quiet and studious with a mind like a steel trap for words and stories, Darcy has spent her life reading and sees the written word as a source of comfort – she carries books like a talisman or a security blanket, words she has read countless times. She leads a very comfortingly familiar routine, involving school, hanging out with her best friend Marisol and her family, working her after-school job at the local used bookstore, and going home to secret herself away in her bedroom.
You see, Darcy is raised by a single parent, and her mother is a hoarder: Darcy’s only relief from this constant anxiety is her bedroom, full of books floor to ceiling. Their entire apartment is filled with cardboard boxes and plastic storage tubs, her mother works at a department store makeup counter but spends the money she earns on more makeup to bring home and hoard, sale items she doesn’t need – one of the first things Darcy mentions is that a bag of dog food had spilled on their floor from their dog food stash. The problem? They don’t have a dog.
I really felt for Darcy and her struggle to make ends meet, get bills paid, to be the adult even though you are 17 and not meant to be doing this much. I even felt for her poor mother, who had moments of clarity that endeared her to me and made me want to root for her little family. This is a young adult romance – it’s on the flap, you meet the love interest (Asher Fleet) pretty quickly and you can tell from the beginning that they’re going to eventually wind up together – but it is a slow burn, it happens realistically, and the relationship unfolds perfectly. I hate YA romance, but damn if I wasn’t cheering for these two by the end.
The Bottom Line
This is a story about Darcy and Asher, sure. But it’s also about the depth of mother-daughter relationships, the strength of friendship. It’s about mental illness, family ties, and making little daily promises to yourself to keep going. The side characters are all fully fleshed out and realistic, and I want to meet everyone in this story, from Marisol’s big Mexican family and their delicious-sounding cuisine to Tess, the owner of the wig store adjoining Darcy’s bookshop employer (and the bookshop owner’s ex-wife …) who wears a different wig every day and treats Darcy to tea. Everyone is so flawed, and that is what makes them so alive.
Darcy absolutely tugged on my heart strings, and made me remember what it’s like to be 17, a high school senior who isn’t popular or cool or interesting, but a big ol’ nerd with her nose stuck in a book 24/7, one really close friend and a couple semi-close ones, who would rather be anywhere but at home and who shines so brightly but doesn’t know her own worth. Maybe you were a Darcy, or maybe you were the Marisol to someone else’s Darcy – pulling your friend out of the shadows, helping her realize how awe-inspiring and wonderful she is. This is a romance, but it is not a story about romance – it is a story about love.
Love, and books. What more is there, really?
‘Holding a real book is like holding something alive. There’s the grit of the pages between your fingers as you turn them. The edges get soft and worn. With a real book, you feel the weight of the story more.’