I have been looking forward to this book for months, ever since I first saw it pop up on Twitter. I just had to have the book, a book about book stores? With mystery? About a girl not being able to read while living in a book store?
I can hear you say: What? The MC lives in a book store but can’t read? Nope, she can’t read. As the first chapter tells us:
“Property was eleven years old when our story begins. She had been living with the Joneses for six years. She loved them very much, and she was almost entirely happy there. But she was never completely happy, because she was keeping a secret from them, and it was a whopper:
Property Jones couldn’t read.”
How did this girl not learn to read? Also, what is up with the name Property? Well you should read the book for that, I am not going to tell you everything! But this secret is really weighing on Property’s shoulders, especially later when they win the price and get a huge book store as a price. She is worried her mom and her brother won’t like her any more since she has fooled them for so many years. She worried they might also abandon her. I just felt so sorry for the girl. She has her reasons for not telling (read the book!).
You can tell however that this girl wants nothing more than to read. Of course she is already quite satisfied with just looking, sniffing, smelling, feeling, opening the book, but she wants to learn those magical marks as well.
I know I was rooting for her the entire book to tell people. To let them know, so they could help her out, because I was sure of one thing, these people won’t just drop her because of her illiteracy. Oh no, both Michael and Netty are really sweet people. At least that is my impression from the book.
Property was a terrific character though. Even if she can’t read, she helped out in her way with the Emporium (yeah for pictures), and later with the villain and all the badness that happens she is the one who can help her family and friend out. They can’t see the difference between certain objects, but she can. By smell, by colour, by other factors, and I just adored this. She didn’t let the illiteracy stand in the way. She might not be able to read the words, but she knew a forgery when she saw one, and that truly is a really awesome skill.
I so loved the Montgomery Book Emporium, it was absolutely fabulous and brilliant. There are floors upon floors of books, with magical contraptions, rooms full of books place in the most magnificent ways (like the dictionary room which is full of dictionaries and everything else is labelled and explained, or the sunken treasure room, with books in chests), I just wanted to go there and stay there for all day. Just enjoying every bit of it. Soaking it all up.
I was just a bit stunned that we only got to enjoy it for so short in the book. I was truly looking forward to pages upon pages of it.
Then again the format of the book was a bit unconventional. Not bad, oh no, not at all, I was just a bit startled (if that is the right word). Normally the villain would cause small heaps of trouble left and right and then the grand plan is revealed, and at times even executed if he isn’t foiled by the MC and friends, but in this one it was just in a big BANG (with some smaller hints towards it, though I certainly didn’t expect it to go this fast), and then it was up to Property and her family to figure out things and get revenge/get back what is theirs (which was absolutely fun).
Montogomery, eh, I quite liked him (he reminded me a bit of Willy Wonka, not only with the whole giving away an emporium, but also the way he acted (eccentric), and some other things). My feelings for him at the beginning were a bit bleh, I was wondering what he was hiding, and also why he was acting like this, but then later on he turned out to be really reliable and a sweet and great character.
I also have to mention The Gunther, also know as the cat that never leaves Property and loves sitting on her head or shoulders (yes, like a parrot, only then a bit more deadlier). The Gunther was adorable, and I loved how protective and helpful he was. He instantly took a liking to Property, and Property to him. He was a bit of demon, but still I loved him so much. He was a great character, and I am glad the author added him in the mix.
The ending, and all that happens there? Exciting, terrific, and hilarious. I loved the plan Property created and how they executed it. Brilliant! Especially what they said to the villain later on, haha. He did not expect this.
Oh, and I also kept reading the villain’s name wrong. I thought it was with two LL’s as that is how I see the name being spelled generally, but instead it was just with one L. I even had to flip back at times to make sure it was always with one L.
The book is also stuffed to the brim with delightful illustrations, and I love how many of them there were and how well they captured all the characters. Everyone was exactly as how I would imagine them. Plus it was great fun to see the Emporium in pictures (though I could easily imagine it in my mind).
So Sylvia Bishop and Ashley King did it again. Their first book: Erica’s Elephant was wonderful, and they got another hit with this book. I can’t wait to see what this duo will create next, I know for sure I will be pre-ordering, and reading it!
I would highly recommend this book to everyone. You like books? Proper villains? A demon kitty? Mystery? A great plan? Secrets? You love illustrations to accompany the story? Then be sure to read this one!