Sunday 24 June 2018

Book Review: The Book Ninja by Ali Berg & Michelle Kalus

Title: The Book Ninja
Authors: Ali Berg & Michelle Kalus

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 1st June 2018
Pages: 337
RRP: $29.99
Format Read: Paperback (uncorrected proof)
Source: publisher supplied


Sometimes love means having to broaden your literary horizons.

Frankie Rose is desperate for love. Or a relationship. Or just a date with a semi-normal person will do.

It’s not that she hasn’t tried. She’s the queen of online dating. But enough is enough. Inspired by her job at The Little Brunswick Street Bookshop, Frankie decides to take fate into her own hands and embarks on the ultimate love experiment.

Her plan? Plant her favourite books on trains inscribed with her contact details in a bid to lure the sophisticated, charming and well-read man of her dreams.

Enter Sunny, and one spontaneous kiss later, Frankie begins to fall for him. But there’s just one problem – Frankie is strictly a classics kind of gal, and Sunny is really into Young Adult. Like really.

A quirky and uplifting love letter to books, friendship and soulmates.

 My thoughts

Ali and Michelle are the co-founders of the famed Books on the Rail Australia and what better way to express their love for all things books and Melbourne than to write a book.

Frankie works with best friend Cat at Little Brunswick Bookshop. She is a bit of a book snob, preferring classics to popular fiction and YA titles, she judges people by the books they buy at the shop.
Left broken hearted by Adam and not having any success with romance she decides to leave her favourite books on Melbourne trains, with a note at the end of each book to contact her for a date, believing the  best man for her would be someone who loves the same books as her.

This Rom Com is filled with hilarious situations and plenty of hijinks. Frankie and cat were a couple of crazy best friends who told each other everything, well almost everything. There are a few surprises that will be revealed.

An ex boyfriend, bad dates, a meddling mum and a crazy best friend; could anything get any more difficult? Apparently so, when Frankie becomes a recognisable face after an altercation with a beetroot latte and a pair of white pants goes viral on Instagram.

The story is told through third person narration, blog posts, texts and emails placing it solidly in the modern era.

With over 100 mentions of books throughout the story i can see The Book Ninja booklist being used for reading challenges in the foreseeable future.

I think this book would be perfect made into a movie as the humour is more of a visual humour which would suit screen adaptation. An example is with Cat and the new baby (no spoilers) but this scene would have been better as a visual, the humour was lost on the page.

Cat’s husband Claud’s character fell flat for me and I couldn’t quite get the reason for the inclusion of 17 year old Seb, a school boy who often visited the book shop.

The Book Ninja was a fun, easy read. One for the under 40’s.

In true book ninja style my copy was left on the train for the next person to enjoy.

Content: infrequent coarse language appropriate for target audience.

*I received my copy from the publisher

about the author

Ali Berg
Co-founder & Professional Aussie Book Ninja at Books on the Rail & Co-author of The Book Ninja (Simon & Schuster): "A clever, funny and well observed story." Hitting shelves June 2018.

This review is part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie author challenge 
and book #16 in the Australian Women Writers 


  1. WOW this one sounds like a fun read my list just keeps growing :)

    Have Fun


    1. It was a light read. I particularly loved all the book mentions. Some I’ve read and many I hadn’t.

  2. I love that you followed the book and left it in the train, but I hope you didn't leave your own personal contact info in it...that may not be good...unless you want your own Sunny.

  3. This sounds like a fun read! I'm putting it on my to-read list. Thanks for the review!

  4. This book sounds absolutely adorable! Added to my TBR!

    1. I think you will enjoy it Nikki.I think I was a bit older than the target audience.

  5. Replies
    1. I was part of their Book Ninja program where books were stealthily left on public transport for people to pick up and read. It was fun and still going in Melbourne Australia.

  6. great review! this looks like a really cute read

  7. Sounds like a lovely book!

  8. Not heard of the book before, but I like the sound of it. Great review.

  9. HA! Amazing! It sounds like a You've Got Mail crossed with Serendipity, based in Melbourne. To be honest, I'm tempted to start doing this myself (not for dating, but just to see where books go and meet people with similar tastes)... but I'm not sure I could ever let go of books that way! I'm a self-confessed book hoarder :| Thanks so much for sharing this review, I'm chuckling already!

    1. I find it hard to let go of books too. It's great when someone finds a book and will tweet or Instagram it.