“I take my place on the front bench of the science lab. A few weeks ago we had been dissecting pigs’ trotters and all the vegetarians were huddled in a corner trying not to look. I thought it would be funny to flick a bit og trotter at them from the end of my ruler. As it turned out, it wasn’t very funny. I only meant it as a joke but it landed inside Kerry Bowden’s pencil case and she screamed like someone had run over her foot.”
Renee and Flo are both going through their own crisis’ at the minute. Renee’s life hasn’t been good since her mum died of cancer when she was 7 and now her sister hates her and her granddad blames her for everything. Flo’s dad has just left and her mum treats her like crap, and like a live-in nanny for her little sister. Renee deals with the situation by covering it up with her outlandish behaviour and extrovert personality, Flo deals by hiding in the shadow of her bitch of a best friend, Sally, who puts her down and makes her feel even worse about herself. The two of them shouldn’t become friends, it doesn’t make much sense, but when they are united by their loneliness they form a bond which is stronger than anything either of the have felt before.
What a powerful book. A contemporary teen novel that deals with the reality of being a teenager, dealing with others, the pressures of school and family on top of periods, hormones and a multitude of other things, Paper Aeroplanes was a refreshing, realistic portrayal of this time of life and I really loved reading all about it.
I had heard good things about this book before I started reading and I was not disappointed. Paper Aeroplanes was real, well written and incredibly nerve-wracking to read, all of which made it a fantastic filler for a Friday night in the house on my lonesome. I felt a connection to the girls who I was reading about, both the main characters and the other girls in the book and I was instantly transformed back to my high school years.
The story dealt with a lot and it was quite a heavy going book in places. There were a lot of moments where I had tears in my eyes and I could feel a lump in my throat. Both the girls were so brave for going through what they went through and I loved them all the more for it. Their friendship was a fantastic quality in the book and it never failed to make me feel loved for having the friends I had, and have.
I loved the refreshing take on what it was like to have sex, and how blunt the writing was when it came to sex and other ‘sexual acts’. The out and out policy on talking about periods was helpful too and approaching it with the attitude Porter did kind of makes me feel happy that its something that nearly all women share and we shouldn’t have to be embarrassed about it… these things were all rather hush hush in my school and I wish they weren’t because it lead to a lot of rumours about things meaning other things when it came to sex and stupidity when it came to periods.
There were a few small niggles with this book. I didn’t like the outcome of the storyline with Renee’s sister and thought it was a bit stupid that not once did Flo’s brother get called a slag for what he was doing yet if it was a female character she would have had that word and worse branded about like wildfire. I also thought that the very drastic change in one of the characters at the end of the book was a little too much and that a sudden change in storyline three pages before the end left that a bit too open for my liking too.
However even with those niggles Paper Aeroplanes was one of the best representations of real teen life that I have read in all my time reading YA literature. If I had read this book at 15 it would a firm favourite, much as it has become now, and I would like to think I would have looked at things with a much better perspective than I did back then.
Paper Aeroplanes was published on May 2nd by Hot Key Books. My copy was sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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