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Book Review: The Book Ninjas

One day, two women decided to leave a trail of books to read on trains for other people to pick up and read for free!

They decide to blog about it, upload pictures of their Secret Book stashes to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. It catches on and other people start doing the same thing. The founder of @BooksontheRail creates stickers and some loose guidelines. People love the stickers and a new movement is born.

Similar bookish undertakings have been doing the rounds for several years in various forms. Books have been left on park benches, outdoor café seating, airport lounges, and of course, train waiting rooms and carriages. What sets #booksontherail apart is that the two women had such popular success that they were asked to write a novel based on their wonderful project!

The Book Ninja was born.


Sometimes love means having to broaden your literary horizons

Frankie Rose is desperate for love. Or a relationship. Or just a date with a semi-normal person will do.

It’s not that she hasn’t tried. She’s the queen of online dating. But enough is enough. Inspired by her job at The Little Brunswick Street Bookshop, Frankie decides to take fate into her own hands and embarks on the ultimate love experiment.

Her plan? Plant her favourite books on trains inscribed with her contact details in a bid to lure the sophisticated, charming and well-read man of her dreams.

Enter Sunny, and one spontaneous kiss later, Frankie begins to fall for him. But there’s just one problem – Frankie is strictly a classics kind of gal, and Sunny is really into Young Adult. Like really.

A clever, funny and wryly observed story about books and discovering who you really are.

-Simon and Schuster


This is a fun, quirky love story with the usual underlying themes to do with trust, commitment, past hurts all packaged together in an equally fun and quirky bookstore, and peopled with characters that are… well, fun and quirky. For all of this though there is a thread of seriousness. Frankie, something of a book-snob with a stalled writing career and stuttering love life, thinks she’ll never publish another book, and remain single and alone forever (that’s a long time when you’re still in your twenties) so she starts an experiment to find her perfect man through books, specifically the books (Classics only for Frankie) that she loves to read. She leaves a note between the pages of a select title and leaves the book on the train on her way to work. At the same time, in order to prod herself into writing again, she starts a blog to record the whole experience. And then meets Sunny…

I enjoyed the read. It’s lighthearted and well-paced. Frankie’s blog entries, and the comments thread after each, makes for some fun reading. In between the blog posts she bounces between certainty and uncertainty, low self-esteem, anticipation, and realisation. Perhaps even a dash of self-actualisation as the presence of Sunny in her life becomes more than a series of moments and she learns that YA fiction may just have some merit after all.

Recommended reading for all upcoming journeys or a pleasant bookish afternoon.

Extra note: after reading The Book Ninja I decided to join #booksontherail and sent away for my stickers. I've sent three books off into the wilds of the Sydney Trains Network. If you found them, I hope you enjoyed the read - and then passed them on for someone else to enjoy as well.

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