Paper Aeroplanes – Dawn O’Porter
You know when you’ve wanted to read a book for what feels like an eternity and you hype it up to the point where your expectations are virtually impossible to reach? I did that with this, I have been coveting it for ages, but unlike most books I have wanted for ever, this actually exceeded all expectations.
It’s the mid-1990s, and fifteen year-old Guernsey schoolgirls, Renée and Flo, are not really meant to be friends. Thoughtful, introspective and studious Flo couldn’t be more different to ambitious, extroverted and sexually curious Renée. But Renée and Flo are united by loneliness and their dysfunctional families, and an intense bond is formed. Although there are obstacles to their friendship (namely Flo’s jealous ex-best friend and Renée’s growing infatuation with Flo’s brother), fifteen is an age where anything can happen, where life stretches out before you, and when every betrayal feels like the end of the world. For Renée and Flo it is the time of their lives. With graphic content and some scenes of a sexual nature, PAPER AEROPLANES is a gritty, poignant, often laugh-out-loud funny and powerful novel. It is an unforgettable snapshot of small-town adolescence and the heart-stopping power of female friendship.
God, this was good. Refreshingly good.
No romance, no relationship drama, yes there are girls who fall for boys and there are instances of a sexual nature, but at its heart, this is not a book about teenage girls needing a boy to feel validated or even particularly wanting a boy. Its just about two teenage girls who become best friends and how they help each other to grow and mature. How good is that? A book, that is just about friendship, the love between friends. Man, I can’t even with how amazing that is to me.
So, I guess if you’re reading this blog you’ll have noticed that I read a lot of books, even though I read a lot of books and have pretty much covered every aspect of life there is to be written about, there is one thing that is so often done wrong, friendships. Books I tend to read have one main character, that character tends to have a best friend who usually ends up being a bit 2D in comparison to the lead character, but then there is this book, where both girls are actually well rounded, fleshed out characters. So, you have extrovert, Renee, and introvert, Flo, who despite going to school together and living in the same tiny town, have never really spent much time together, until suddenly, they find themselves drawn to each other and a beautiful friendship develops. I miss reading books about friendship, so many books are about romance these days, meeting someone you develop romantic feelings for, I so rarely come across books where people meet and just think, yes, I like you, we’re now friends. Platonic relationships are the bomb, man. I just wanted to grab this book and do this:
I seriously kind of loved this, I gave it five actual stars on goodreads. FIVE. I know right.
This book is funny and raw and charming and endearing and painful and beautiful all at the same time. Every single character was so real and believable to me, like, I genuinely had a girl just like Sally in my friendship group at school who was freaking horrible to everyone and just got away with it, there was a girl like Renee in my friendship group too (I think I might have been the Flo in this situation), but because I’ve experienced people like that, it just made this book all the more enjoyable. I guess, it doesn’t really matter what decade you enter your teen years in, everything still feels the same, there are still crushes and stupid arguments and under age drinking and being used by boys you think might love you and pressure of exams and feelings of complete and utter bewilderment. The teenage characters in this book were so accurate it was almost embarrassing, there were several moments where I was sat reading this and thinking oh God, I remember that!
I’m told that Dawn O’Porter is writing another book currently and I honestly cannot wait for it. I want it now. I want it unedited and imperfect because I already miss her story telling, I miss Flo and Renee.
Plus, Flo, I bloody love that name.
I guess really, this book is just about what its like to be a fifteen year old girl trying to figure out who you are, what you want, what you don’t want, where you want to be and who you can rely on to get you there. It was refreshing, tender and a little bit genius. So genius in fact, I’m going to give it the Nick Fury Seal of Approval.
This is yet another post in my six week challenge which ends on December 13th. Until then, I’m going to review every book that I read and so far, the number of good books is far outweighing the bad which means that this challenge has actually done some good! I was hoping that by having to review every book that I read, it would make me be a bit more selective about the quality of fiction that I was picking up and I honestly think that it has led me to researching books more thoroughly before I read them and made me pick up some proper cracking novels. Excellent.