Adult Contemporary

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams Review

Get ready to have your hearts won over by Mukesh and Aleisha and for your to-be-read piles to grow. The Reading List is the perfect book for book lovers.

Aleisha is young and jaded — her life is so different from that of her former school friends. She’s got a summer job at the local library (which she hates) and a difficult home situation (which she tries to keep hidden from everyone). When widower Mukesh wanders into her library, her foul mood sends him running straight back home. Feeling guilty, Aleisha decides to find a novel to recommend to Mukesh. After all, the difficulties started when Mukesh came to her, looking for a fiction recommendation, and Aleisha, a nonfiction-only reader, had none. It seems like fate when Aleisha finds a crumpled list of book recommendations (a reading list, so to speak) in the back of To Kill a Mocking Bird. To Kill a Mockingbird in hand, she makes things right with Mukesh.

Keeping from Mukesh that she’s not much of a reader, Aleisha reads the books from the list just in time to make her next recommendation and finds that the books offer her an escape, a way to rephrase her own struggles, and a way to connect with her emotionally distant mom. For elderly Mukesh, too — who, while his wife (a reader) was still alive, was firmly hooked on nature documentaries — reading becomes a way to deal with his grief and connect with his youngest granddaughter (a total bookworm).

The Reading List is a contemporary tale set in modern-day London. It’s a heartfelt story about unlikely friendships, facing grief together, overcoming loss, and rephrasing your life in the absence of a loved one. It’s a cute and heartwarming story that will likely make you cry at least once because for all its whimsical fun (after all, who is the author of that reading list?), there’s a moving core that powers this story.

What’s more to love: readers are re-introduced or will for the first-time fall in love with classics like To Kill a Mocking Bird, Little Women, Beloved, The Kite Runner, Life of Pi, Pride and Prejudice, A Suitable Boy, and Rebecca.

A feel good read that will press on your tear ducts. A powerful debut.


Book: The Reading List
Published: William Morrow
Pages: 384
Publication Date: August 3rd, 2021
Stars: 4.5/5

Jonathan Ball Publishers kindly sent me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion, rating, or the content of my review.

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