There's an ever growing pile of books I want to read…
Big Review: paper aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter
So, in the interest of full disclosure, I should probably tell you before I start that I have a huge crush on Dawn O’Porter. Have you seen the BBC interview she did for this book launch? You can watch it here on the BBC website. Anyway, I think she’s brilliant so I started reading this book already feeling predisposed to like it. I bought this book with my birthday book token.
paper aeroplanes is the story of the friendship between Flo and Renée, two fifteen-year-old girls who couldn’t be more different on the outside and couldn’t be more similar on the inside. It’s about the kind of best-friendship that you generally only find as a teenager and how everything feels so important and dramatic then. It’s also a story about grief and about people who make you feel less than you are and about finding out who that is.
What I liked:
Let’s start with the cover, which I thought was great. My school uniform was a lot like the ones that they’re wearing and I like that you can see the outward differences between them with one uniform neat and ironed, shoes shined and socks pulled up and the other messy and crumpled with scuffed shoes a grazed knee. I love that if you look closer, you can see that their pinkie fingers are joined. It’s a really good cover, well done Hot Key books!
I loved Flo and Renée and I got so involved in this book that I actually missed my stop on the bus and had to walk back to work from the next one along. I think every teenage girl (and everyone who has been a teenage girl) is going to find something that they can relate to in the story.
There were parts of my teenage experience that I had totally forgotten about until I read this story, like how embarrassing it was to have your period and how you didn’t want anyone else to know. Once, when I was about 14, a pack of sanitary towels fell out of my schoolbag in front of one of my classmates. I remember threatening to kill her if she ever told anyone. I had forgotten all about that until I was reading this and it suddenly came back to me.
Dawn O’Porter does a really great job of capturing how it feels to be fifteen and how one person can make a huge difference to your life.
What I didn’t like:
I wished that I could go into the book and give Sally a big slap. Which I guess was kind of the point of her character but still.
One of the downsides of getting really involved in the story and having made my own stupid teenage mistakes is that I wished I could stop the characters from making their own and, at one point, the story was a little hard to read because I knew that something bad was going to happen. This is actually a good thing for the book, as regards the writing, but still, ouch.
To be honest, I would have enjoyed a little more. Although I thought it was really good, there was something a little insubstantial about it. This was a book that ended too soon.
If you’ve ever been a teenage girl, you should read this book. If not, you should read it anyway to help you understand what that was like and why we are the way we are. There are large parts of the teenage girl experience that don’t really get talked about, like the way that being a virgin seems to suddenly go from being desirable (because girls who have sex are seen as sluts) to being something to be ashamed of (because girls who don’t have sex are seen as frigid), and this book does a really good job of dealing with them.
It’s also just a really good story.