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3.57  ·  Rating details ·  382 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Following the death of his parents, 16-year-old Simon moves into his grandparents' claustrophobic bungalow, which quickly becomes a refuge from his bullying peers. United by their voracious appetite for books, Simon and his grandmother stumble across the Great Big Book Exchange—a bookshop with a difference. There they meet impulsive, gothic Kelly and her boss, Terrance—and ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published November 1st 2008 by Simon & Schuster UK
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At first, I wasn't keen on this book - there was just something about the blurb that sounded...boring, I guess. But I was curious about the Great Big Book Exchange. I mean, being a book worm myself, the GBBE sounds like a kind of heaven to me - limitless books which you can chop and change whenever you like. Anyway - even though I wasn't too interested at first, it really proved me wrong. I actually got quite hooked - I wanted to find out what happened next, so I barely put it down. But in all h ...more
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Such a strange book. The whole tone of it was gravid with dread, like something awful was about to happen, so I was waiting for the big reveal the whole time. Even the blurb hinted at some dark secret, and then NOTHING happened! In fact now that I think back over it the plot of this book was so mundane it's ridiculous. A boy moves in with his grandparents and bonds with his gran over love of books. They find an interesting new bookshop and make friends with the owners. A writer that the gran kne ...more
Jul 11, 2011 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-books-ever
Wow! Just wow! This book is fantastic... I started off thinking this would just be pretty much a rip off of matilda, with the main character being obsessed with books. But no, the story blossomed into something amazing! The novel is told in the 3rd person, and focuses on the main protagonist, the hopelessly pessimistic Simon. A 16 year old torn apart by the death of his parents. He lives with his endlessly optimistic gran Winnie and her explosive husband ray.
Every Saturday, Simon and Winnie go
Abbie Pine
Sep 02, 2014 rated it liked it
I'd heard some good things about this book, and I don't think it really matched up to those reviews. It was a good book - interesting, well-written - but it didn't capture me in the way that I want the books I read to. I still recommend it to everybody who has a passion for books, but it didn't really do it for me.
Sascha Sim
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the sort of book that is interesting, but no so interesting. I read this book 10 years ago, while I have forgotten most books that I have read, it surprised me that I remembered this "unimpressionable" book the most. Unimpressionable, yet so unforgettable. It's a strange treasure.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this. Charming and touching and funny.
Jane Currie
Simon, a painfully shy and withdrawn teenager, struggles with day to day life after his parents’ death, now living with his elderly grandparents in a new town and attending a new school. The only thing Simon has in his life are his books, something which bonds him to his kind and wistful grandmother Winnie. When they come across the Great Big Book Exchange one day, they can both sense some long yearned-for excitement coming into their lives. With the owner Terrence and his quirky, brash young as ...more
Jun 13, 2014 added it
Shelves: 2010-reads
The shop’s sign was gleaming green and pink. Its lettering had obviously received a fresh and meticulous new coat only recently.

‘What is it?’ Winnie asked, as he drew her attention to the shop before them.

‘Look,’ he grinned. ‘Read.’

She squinted up at the sign.


Thus begins a love affair with books and reading in a story about secrets, rediscovered friendship, revenge, life, and everything else in between.

Paul Magrs has created an enchanting little world in Exchange, whi
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
I got this book several years ago, at a library clearance sale. I left it lying on my shelf for all this time, picking it up from time to time and wondering if I was in the mood for it. I never quite felt like it, even though the summary at the back was fairly inviting.

A few days ago I picked it up again. I was in bed, had just finished a book, wasn't sleepy and was too lazy to get up and grab one of the books I'd borrowed from the library. So I went for a book I could reach without getting up:
Chloe Denham
Feb 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2017
The idea of this book was awesome, however the execution of it was alright, I feel like it was hard to connect to Simon as a character and not just because he lost his parents. To be honest I connected more to his grandma, Winnie, than him.

However I did enjoy this book, but it lacked the power to really make me want to not stop reading.
Rosie Ellen
Jun 19, 2011 rated it liked it
A book about reading books - my idea of heaven, right? - but something about this book didn't really work for me. I started off getting quite into it, but by the end I didn't really care much about any of the characters and I was a little bored by it really. Maybe I identified with the idea of a teenager who'd rather stick their head in a book than socialise with their peers, and I loved the idea of the book exchange (basically like a CEX solely for unique and interesting books), but I was disap ...more
Well that was unexpected! I bought this book years ago (2007 I think) and have only just got round to reading it. It's really something special!

I understand why people might not like it, not all that much happens but I loved it. It's relaxing and easy to read with believable, relatable characters from teenagers to pensioners. Simon's love for books is pretty well parallel to mine. Some of what he says about stories and characters really spoke to me.

The idea of the Exchange is amazing and I want
May 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
Exchange is far from a literary masterpiece, but it's a nice and enjoyable story. After all, I couldn't not read a book that is all about books, could I? There are some interesting thoughts inside Simon's mind, some of them I agree with, some of them not so much. Still, they get you to think about intriguing concepts.
The story starts out really slowly, but it quickly becomes more engaging. Maybe the ending is not all I wanted for Winnie, yet it seems fitting for her personality.
Also a big plus
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review, 4-stars
This is a totally different written book than that I normally read, but I liked it a lot! It somehow is full with the love of reading and I totally understand that. I haven’t as many books as Winnie has, but that is because I read a lot from the library, but I love the idea of the exchange. If it was close to me, I would visit it and get my books from there. I even would love to work there. I also like the idea of leaving books somewhere for somebody else to read which was suggested near the end ...more
Jul 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was sent this book by another Bookcrosser, there is a veiled reference to Bookcrossing right at the end but the whole idea of the Book Exchange is really similar to Bookcrossing. I loved this book, I really wanted that bookshop to be a real place that I could visit. Well, to be more honest I wanted to go and live there.

One of the reviewers on the cover said 'I loved every page' and I did too. I nearly didn't leave it behind on holiday because I loved it so much I wanted to keep it, but then I
Helen Dawson
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
A story about loss. About people. About stories and people and how the real world and fictional worlds divide and join us. Almost all the characters are readers, big readers, which brings them together but it can also leave them isolated.

It's a simply told story, with a cosy northern setting. I was thinking of my own grandparents throughout. And, hopefully I'm not spoiling anything here, I'm glad everyone ends up as they do.
Apr 12, 2012 rated it liked it
The characters in this book are interesting. But the thing that got me hooked was the books. It challenged me into wanting to read so much it's crazy. It brought to mind the quote, 'So many books, so little time.' Also I now feel like reading books from lots of other undiscovered (by me) genres.
Morag Gray
A gentle tale about Simon, 16, who lost his parents in a plane crash and now lives with his grandparents. He and his grandmother bond over a shared love of reading, and discover a book exchange in a nearby town.
I enjoyed this, but it's not going on my list of favourite ever books.
Dec 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
this is such a lovely story, which influenced me more than most i've read so far. this sory of friendship takes place in a bookshop, described in such detail, it's like you're actually there. simply wonderful.
S Shipp
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Three letters: OMG

Honestly one of the best books written ever. I can't explain to you how good and exciting this is. This has so much warmth and sentimentality at the same time. It is so well-written and is consistently all the way through. A recommended teen read (or adult).
Sep 29, 2014 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book a lot more then I did.
It just seemed to lack sometimes.
And every bit about his grandfather made me feel really uncomfortable.
Cora ☕ Tea Party Princess
Aug 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-contemporary
Such a fantastic idea behind this book.

I wasn't too impressed by the main protagonist at first, but I read this book when it first came out and I'm still thinking of it now, so it must be good.
Good Golly Miss Holly
Oct 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
A boy and his Grandma regularly visit a unique type of bookstore where you exchange books instead of borrowing or buying them.
Aug 01, 2011 rated it liked it
I thought this was going to be a fantastic story of a magic exchange shop - but it wasn't. Quite mundane and boring everyday story.
Sep 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
Meh. Just like any other typical "young adult" novel. Idiotic and doesn't really have much point in anything.
Jun 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
this is one of the best YA books I've ever read. it has inspired my own writing, and I'd recommend it to anything who wants to write quality YA fiction. I loved it.
Aug 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read this book a few years ago and I really loved it.
Oct 08, 2013 added it
I read this when I was younger, and I've been wanting to read this again for a couple of years now! I just couldn't recall the title.
Mar 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult
Disappointing. Felt rather old-fashioned. I skimmed the second half to see if anything happened!
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“That was the nature of presents. You kept them in the giver's stead. They were a small part of that person to keep.” 2 likes
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