Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Paperboy” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  7,246 Ratings  ·  1,224 Reviews
An 11-year-old boy living in Memphis in 1959 throws the meanest fastball in town, but talking is a whole different ball game. He can barely say a word without stuttering, not even his own name. So when he takes over his best friend's paper route for the month of July, he knows he'll be forced to communicate with the different customers, including a housewife who drinks too ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Paperboy, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Lauren Victor Vollmer is the main character's name.
Riley Yes I agree that there are round and flat characters that add on to the story in this book.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jul 24, 2013 Nan rated it it was amazing
I will preface my review with the fact that the author is my first cousin. As the story is semi-autobiographical, it was a real eye-opener to me to read of the struggles that he went through with his stuttering. He was just one of my cousins, who just happened to stutter. We treated him the same as all of our cousins. He was the oldest of the cousins, so he was basically the leader of our family pack. That being said, I loved the book. The story takes place during our childhood, which was in the ...more
Barb Middleton
Writing for me is like stuttering for Victor. Most of the time I feel lonely and isolated and I'm trying every trick I can to spit out the right words. And I mean spit. The words splatter, sputter, and stutter in a  nonsensical way all over the page. The random mishmash starts to take shape after multiple rewrites that usually leaves me frustrated, vulnerable, and exhausted when finished. Writing is difficult for me because it requires focus and my ADHD tendencies get in the way. Exercise is the ...more
Sep 11, 2013 Brandy rated it really liked it
I was a little skeptical going into this book. It seems that the new "hit" genre in kid-lit is writing the main character with a disability. The first book I read from this trend is Wonder. Then I read Out of My Mind now Paperboy and Counting by 7's is on my to-read list. Some of these books have been great, all of them have gotten high praise and great reviews. I think one of my biggest complaints with these books (not just disability books) but any book that seems to jump on the bandwagon is t ...more
Oct 31, 2013 Melody rated it really liked it
Saw this at the library. My dad was a paperboy when he was a kid, and I have fond memories of his stories about peddling papers, so I picked it up and cracked it open. The flap said that the paperboy of the title was a stutterer. My uncle stuttered like hell, all his life. My dad sometimes does, even now. 3 seconds in, I knew I couldn't not read this book.

Our hero (who can't really say his own name but he can say his nickname, Little Man) is not A Kid With A Stammer. He's a kid who plays baseba
Colby Sharp
Dec 11, 2012 Colby Sharp rated it it was amazing
Wow! Excited that Vince is going to be on Nerdy Book Club in May. This book really opened my eyes to the life of a child that stutters.
The Reading Countess
Beautifully written by a first-time author/retired newspaper man who stutters, Vince Vawter knows much about what he writes. You see, he grew up in the segregated South (Memphis, specifically). A lover of words, much like "Little Man", the main character (loved the photo of Vawter at the end of the book with his prized typewriter), the ebb and flow of the written word both confound as well as delight them both.

As a Language Arts teacher, I especially liked the literary and logophile references
Nov 24, 2013 Becky rated it it was amazing
Shelves: readin2013
Paperboy had me at hello. I loved, loved, loved, loved, REALLY LOVED this one. Yes, I'm going to gush about how wonderful and just-right this one is.

Paperboy is set in Memphis, Tennessee, in July of 1959. The narrator is a young boy (11, I think?) who stutters. He doesn't want stuttering to define him. He doesn't think that's fair. He is good at many, many things, like baseball. He is GREAT at baseball. He is good at typing, at writing. He loves words. But his stutter keeps him from loving spea
Stephanie Shouldis
Jun 22, 2013 Stephanie Shouldis rated it it was amazing
I have read many great books this year, but this is the first book where I wished I could give it more than five stars. Vince Vawter says this book is "more memoir than fiction". I still have chills thinking about the challenges the main character was faced to overcome, all because of a stutter. The choice of words Vince Vawter used, within this story, gives me hope for the world around us.
Do you remember Darth Vadar – specifically the voice of Darth Vadar? Here is a link to a video some of his best quotes. The man behind the voice is James Earl Jones and what you may not know is that he barely spoke for eight years. His stuttering problem was so severe that he chose not to talk, rather than deal with the hardships of stuttering. The book Paperboy is set in Memphis in 1959, and 11 year old Victor, has a similar problem to James Earl Jones.
Once I started Paperboy, I couldn’t put it
Mar 24, 2014 Jaime rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jaime by: Todd Fife
Shelves: audio-book
I absolutely loved this book. It has a To Kill A Mockingbird feel, without being a ripoff. It's genuine and beautiful. I guessed early on that it's based on the author's own childhood. When the paperboy was talking about his name and not being able to say it, it clued me in. I like knowing that it was his own heart that he was pouring out for the readers. I would have voted for this to get the Newberry and not just an Honor book. It's that good.
Jan 27, 2014 Eric rated it did not like it
This book was a chore to get through. I would have quit after a dozen pages of it hadn't of picked up an honor. Will someone please explaining to me the elements of the writing that they find distinguished. Very GCF.

Summary (
This is a coming of age story that takes place in Memphis in the sixties. The book opens with the main character telling us about himself and his life as a stutterer. Speaking is, at best, a chore, and sometimes all but impossible. Because of his speech problems, few people can - or bother to - understand him. One such person is "Mam", the black maid who came to live with the family when he was five, and the other is his best friend "Rat".
But the big challenge comes during t
Nov 22, 2016 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Somehow, though there's hardly a page that goes by that doesn't have stuttering as the focus, our young hero is so much more than his challenge. A reader is given a chance to feel like she knows him. Like she knows him better than his parents do... their role is very minor, but at the same time they're loving; it's weird....

Anyway, I was not surprised to see that Vawter was inspired by his own childhood. Even though I didn't get all the cultural references, the period in history came alive for m
May 13, 2014 Beccie rated it liked it
Oh Newbery, I'll never understand you. I just checked and I have to go clear back to 1997 to find a Newbery winner or honor book that I really LOVED ( Belle Prater's Boy ) . I haven't read them all, by any means, but the ones I have read have been kind of blah. This one was good, but I didn't find anything outstanding about it. It felt like it was trying to be too many things. A book about a child with a disability. A book about sports (although that was hardly mentioned - just that the main ch ...more
Anna Olswanger
May 02, 2013 Anna Olswanger rated it it was amazing
Paperboy  is the story of a boy with a debilitating stutter forced to find ways to communicate—against a backdrop of racial bigotry in the summer of 1959 in Memphis. When the 13-year-old stutterer, who can't say his own name, takes over his best friend's newspaper route for a month, he encounters a fleet of life-spinning characters: an alcoholic housewife who attempts to seduce him, a junkman who steals from him, and a kindly Merchant Marine who seems to have all the answers to the boy's unendi ...more
Jan 17, 2014 Betsy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jfic, boy-friendly
Do I love this book because I grew up in the same time period, because I was a speech pathologist, because I am familiar with the deadly hot summer days of Memphis, or because I admire the gentle souls of the characters who shaped the life of an 11 year old boy learning to be an adult? Hard to say, but Little Man tells his story flawlessly.
Jun 14, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
I am so so glad that his book hit the BATTLE OF THE BOOKS list for Wisconsin or I may not have heard about it. I listened to the audio read by Lincoln Hoppe and his performance was stellar. I did not want this book to end. While gentle in its approach, it was captivating and thought provoking. Even when probing issues such as race and violence, there was an underlying note of sensitivity and pragmatism that left me (the reader) hopeful and contented.
The book is a coming of age story about a boy
Shawn Humphrey
Jan 02, 2015 Shawn Humphrey rated it it was amazing
Some of the charm of Paperboy might be lost on kids today. Collections on a paper route, or even a paper route in general but hopefully the message isn't missed. Vince Vawter adds some real life experiences into his book about Victor, the fill in paperboy with a speech impediment and how he deals with it. Racism, bullying, domestic violence and alcoholism are a few things explored in Paperboy. But my favorite is the mentor who helps Victor see through his problems. A cooler than cool nanny adds ...more
May 10, 2016 Ceci rated it really liked it
My class chose this book as a read aloud, and although I wasn't crazy about it in the beginning, it slowly grew on me. I thought that the characters were interesting and a lot of the time I felt like I was actually there with them. I liked this book, but it wasn't for everyone, so I would recommend it to anyone who like historical fiction/memoirs. However, I would encourage other people to pick it up too.
Aug 02, 2014 Jewell rated it really liked it
A fantastic coming-of-age story taking place in the segregated South in 1969, Paperboy follows the story of a young boy finding his voice. Vawter writes vividly about stuttering, relationships and hope.
Paperboy by Vince Vawter tells of an 11 year old boy who takes over his best friend's newspapr route in July, 1959, in Memphis, and how his debilitating stutter makes for a memorable month.

While throwing papers is easy for a terrific pitcher, Victor worries about communicating with customers while collecting the weekly payment because of his terrible stuttering problem. Victor can't say a sentence or even his own name without stuttering. He really loves words, but just can't say them easily. Whi
Margaret Henderson
Apr 17, 2014 Margaret Henderson rated it liked it
Shelves: 6th-grade, book-talk
Although I enjoyed this novel, I do not think that it is written for children. Victor is a young boy with a stuttering problem. Throughout the novel he has to overcome a series obstacles and he does this by getting close to two older characters Mr. Spiro and Mrs. Worthington. I loved his relationship with Mr. Spiro. Mr. Spiro could get the boy to come out of his and he is one of the few people that the boy can actually have a conversation with. Mrs. Worthington is a strikingly beautiful woman th ...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
I thought this was generally a well-told story. The sense of suspense, especially with the foreshadowing about the yellow-handled knife, made the book almost too difficult to listen to, since I had no control over the pacing of the book. Depending on how much of a sadist you are, I'm not sure I'd recommend it as a read aloud. I do wish that I had offered to my class as an option for historical fiction since it had a very good feel for the time with lots of details subtly in the background of the ...more
{4.5 stars}

"Words in the air blow away as soon as you say them but words on paper last forever.

Just plain bittersweet and down to earth to read. It's different than the average book I read, so it was like a breathe of Gentle Air :)

The author captioned the 50s to a T. The mentions of certain TV shows, the simple lifestyle of the neighborhood, paper routes, black rights and so on. I could have read many more pages of it, but even good books must come to an end.

Paperboy's stutter really makes you
Jenny Christen
Jun 11, 2015 Jenny Christen rated it really liked it

Ask students: Have you ever had something been thrown a "curveball" in life? (Explain a "curveball" for those who don't know what this is). What was that like? What things were hard for you during that time and how did you deal with it? This is the story of a boy who had to deal with a curveball of his own when he takes over a paper route for his best friend during the summer. He really isn't looking forward to interacting with his paper route customers and he runs into some trouble with
This book felt very real, which is understandable when you read in the author's note that it is "more memoir than fiction." It puts you right in the head of the 11-year-old substitute paperboy who is trying to deal with his stuttering problem while talking to strangers, and adults at that, as he collects the paper money.

This reminded me a little of Wonder. I think they are both great books for kids (and adults!) to read to help them see and understand the world from someone's point of view who
Feb 21, 2014 Christine rated it really liked it
I'm a bit conflicted on this one. I really liked this story. I loved the main character (to find his name - read the book!), and the secondary characters were wonderful. So many interesting people and problems. I became involved in each and every one of their trials and successes.

So... what's not to like?

Most of the issues Little Man dealt with were pretty innocent, but there were a couple of scenes that were a little mature for what I perceive was the intended audience. I'm concerned about wh
Feb 11, 2014 Lynne rated it really liked it
The first person narrative of a young boy with a stuttering problem who takes over his best friend's paper route for a month is filled quirky characters, wonderful incites, and some adventure. The boy, who is unnamed until the end of the book, takes on the challenge of the paper route because he figures he can practice his pitching by throwing the papers. His fear is having to knock on doors to collect the weekly payments from strangers. However, it is through those strangers that we learn about ...more
Feb 17, 2015 Nickkro22 rated it liked it
The book "Paperboy" by Vince Vawter was a book that was pretty interesting at the beginning and end of the book. It slowed down a lot in the middle of the book, which is the main reason I gave it a 3/5. If it had the intensity of the beginning and end, I would have given it a 4 or 5. I read the first 100 pages very quickly, but then it took me about a week to finish the middle part. After the pace of the book sped up, I finished the book very quickly, because there was so much acton that left me ...more
Aug 03, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, especially because it is based on the author's childhood. It also gave me more appreciation, and sympathy for those with speech impediments, like the stutter Little Man had in this book. I'd never before thought about how hard it would be to have words, and not able to speak them, and how much misunderstanding would result.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Storyworld Project Discussions 13 5 Mar 01, 2016 08:28AM  
Dynamic and Static 1 1 Nov 10, 2015 08:55AM  
Point of view 2 3 Oct 26, 2015 02:39PM  
Henrico Youth Boo...: Paperboy by Vince Vawter 4 28 Jan 13, 2014 07:52AM  
  • Every Day After
  • Zebra Forest
  • One Came Home
  • Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War
  •  Beholding Bee
  • P.S. Be Eleven (Gaither Sisters, #2)
  • The Water Castle
  • The Year of Billy Miller
  • The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
  • The Center of Everything
  • The Madman of Piney Woods
  • Revolution (The Sixties Trilogy, #2)
  • The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel
  • Duke (Dogs of World War II)
  • Twerp
  • The Thing About Luck
  • Ghost Hawk
  • Africa Is My Home: A Child of the Amistad
Retired after 40 years in newspapers. Live on a small farm in Tennessee with my wife and two dogs. Debut novel, PAPERBOY, will be published May 2013 by Random House. Lived 65 years to discover that you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need. Thank you, Mick Jagger.
More about Vince Vawter...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Words in the air blow away as soon as you say them, but words on paper last forever” 12 likes
“Why do people who can talk right waste so many words saying nothing?” 11 likes
More quotes…