Goodreads Summary:I haven’t left my house in over a year. My doctor says it’s social anxiety, but I know the only things that are safe are made of paper. My room is paper. My world is paper. Everything outside is fire. All it would take is one spark for me to burst into flames. So I stay inside. Where nothing can touch me.
Then my mom hires a tutor. Jackson. This boy I had a crush on before the world became too terrifying to live in. Jackson’s life is the complete opposite of mine, and I can tell he’s got secrets of his own. But he makes me feel things. Makes me want to try again. Makes me want to be brave. I can almost taste the outside world. But so many things could go wrong, and all it takes is one spark for everything I love to disappear
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating:4/5 Stars
I don’t exactly know why the “girl is stuck in her house due to a mental or physical illness and falls in love” trope is so popular but I was pleasantly surprised by Paper Girl. One of my main worries with books like these is that the love interest will try to “save” or “fix” the MC which is just such total bullshit. Love can’t save you, it can help you but it can’t save you. So while there was a swoon worthy romance, it was really important for the main character,Zoe, to go out of her comfort zone by herself. I really appreciated the fact that she recognized that there were some things she needed to do by herself to really get better.
There were some really serious issues that were addressed in this book like alcoholism, anxiety, agarophobia, and homelessness. I thought that they were all handled with an incredible amount of tact. While I did appreciate Zoe’s depiction of anxiety and found it to be very realistic, I would’ve just appreciated just a little more buildup to what led her to be agarophic. I think flashbacks could’ve been utilized really well for this novel. besides that, I really loved seeing Zoe’s gradual development and really liked the fact that her therapist was a big part of that. So often in YA novels there’s a certain amount of disdain associated with therapist but that sentiment wasn’t present in Paper Girl which was refreshing.
I always love when characters have unique interests and this book really delivered on that front. Zoe creates these artworks out of paper and the way that it was described was absolutely breathtaking and fascinating. Also both Zoe and her love interest, Jackson, were interested in chess which I thought was really interesting. Writing characters with unique interests make the characters and book in general much more enjoyable.
I really like the chemistry between Zoe and Jackson. I thought it was very realistic and sweet and loved how it developed. At times I felt there were aspects that were a little too unrealistic but I allowed my suspension of disbelief because it was so cute. I do think that there could’ve been a little more backstory to their story. We are told that they both had a crush on each other before the story even started but we only get like one scene and I feel like one flashback could’ve really helped in solidifying the foundation of their relationship. ( idk if you can tell but I love flashbacks)
All in all Paper Girl was a touching story that tactfully addressed a trope that so often goes wrong.
Have You Read Paper Girl? Do You Want To? What’s Your Favorite Book That Is Similiar To This One?