Review: Exchange by Paul Magrs

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.

THE GREAT BIG BOOK EXCHANGE.

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, which serves as a refuge for the main characters in the book. This is especially true for Simon, who has lost his parents in a tragic accident and now lives with his grandparents. He finds a kindred spirit in his grandmother, a fellow rabid reader, who joins him on a magical mystery tour that allows them to escape from the real world for moments of sheer bliss.

It is essentially a story about relationships – developing new friendships, rediscovering an old one, and destroying another in a firestorm. It is a story about growing up and finding one’s sense of identity. It explores the concept of human nature and the power of books and reading.

Magrs has weaved a marvelous story that brings his characters to life. As it draws to a close, we are comforted by the fact that these people are going to get on with their lives and make the best of whatever situation they find themselves in.

It is important to note that this very book is highly instrumental in the creation of this little corner of the world, which serves us our refuge and allows us to paint a picturescape with words and share our love for books and reading.

It smelled delicious inside. It was as if all those hundreds, thousands, millions of pages had spices crushed into their worn grain. What was it? Nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, saffron. As Simon and his gran moved hesitantly, almost shyly, into the Exchange, he was trying to identify the different scents. There was a homely feel to the place. It was like opening the cupboard where all the spices and ingredients for baking were kept. Smells leading to a million associations and sensations.

Hello, stranger. Welcome to The Exchange.

This was a post by Hanna, who has eaten one too many miniature chocolate bars.

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Review: Exchange by Paul Magrs

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