Book Title & Alexandra's Review

A Kind of Paradise by Amy Rebecca Tan

For Middle Schoolers Who Love Libraries


Jamie Bunn made a mistake at the end of the school year. A big one. And every kid in her middle school knows all about it. Now she has to spend her summer vacation volunteering at the local library—as punishment. It may be boring, but at least she’ll be able to hide from mean girl Trina, who’s always had it out for her, and beautiful Trey, the boy at the root of her big mistake.
Or so she thinks.
Not only does her job bring her face-to-face with both her mortal enemy and her ultimate crush, Jamie also encounters a territorial patron, an elderly movie fanatic, a super-tall painter who loves to bake, and a homeless dog. Over the course of the summer, as Jamie gets to know the library and the people in it, she finds—and gives—help where she least expects it.
And she just might find herself along the way.


I didn’t go into this story with any expectations, but it turned out to have a lot more depth than I thought it would.


I can’t speak for everyone, but I don’t think being forced to volunteer at the library all summer is a harsh punishment. At most, it’s an inconvenience. I guess it would be a punishment for someone who doesn’t like books, but I find it hard to imagine anyone not liking books.


Each chapter centers on a different library employee or library regular. I enjoyed Jamie’s use of similes and metaphors to give detailed observations on the people around her.


The main plot of the story is Jamie moving on after making a mistake and learning to forgive herself. Throughout the book, we are given ongoing snippets of what Jamie did to get herself into trouble until you get the whole story. I will not be sharing what Jamie did so you’ll have to read the book to find out.


I listened to the audiobook version during the coronavirus self-isolation and it made me miss going to the library even more than I already did. I could still go on the Overdrive app to download audiobooks and eBooks, but it just wasn’t the same. I enjoy walking around the library, looking at all the new books, and having the librarians and other patrons gush over my service dog, Dude, who loves going to the library as much as I do. One time, Dude was so excited to see one of his favorite librarians, he dove under the small space under her desk to get to her faster. I know I should have discouraged him from doing that, but I was laughing too hard to stop him.


This is a story for library lovers, whether you work at a library or spend a lot of time at one (like I do). After reading this story, you’ll learn and appreciate all the things librarians and libraries do and the importance they have in our community. As quoted from the story, “There’s a lot more to running a library than people know. It’s not just about the books and movies and magazines.”


Here’s a Frazz comic that helps prove the important impact libraries have:


This weeks’ Weird but True Fact about a Library

A library in Iowa has more than 4,000 tiny books, many of which can be read only with a magnifying glass.

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