The Year of the Book

Finished The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng.

Summary (from Goodreads):

In Chinese, peng you means friend. But in any language, all Anna knows for certain is that friendship is complicated. When Anna needs company, she turns to her books. Whether traveling through A Wrinkle in Time, or peering over My Side of the Mountain, books provide what real life cannot—constant companionship and insight into her changing world. Books, however, can’t tell Anna how to find a true friend. She’ll have to discover that on her own. In the tradition of classics like Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy books and Eleanor Estes’ One Hundred Dresses, this novel subtly explores what it takes to make friends and what it means to be one.

It’s not a huge surprise that I love books about books, and this is a really sweet one.

Anna has a hard time fitting in, probably because she prefers to spend her time with books than with actual people.  The books she loves help her to make sense of the world, and they always manage to make her feel better about her life.

Except the problem with books is that they can’t really be her friends.  And they can’t help her figure out how to actually talk to people.  Or to understand why her mom insists that she (a) accompany her to work on the weekends and (b) go to Chinese school.

I hope someone comes up with a reading challenge based on the books that Anna reads.  (I’ve read some, but not all and they sound really good.)

I was also excited to learn that this is the first book in a series.  I can’t get to the other books yet, but I definitely want to revisit Anna and her family soon.

Recommended.

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