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Paper Aeroplanes

(Paper Aeroplanes #1)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  3,570 Ratings  ·  380 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 261 pages
Published May 2nd 2013 by Hot Key Books (first published April 23rd 2013)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
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enqi ✨ (belongs to rhysand, jin & peter kavinsky)
Paper Airplanes is a peculiar, yet impossibly extraordinary book. I myself don't even know why I rated it 5 stars. I just knew in my very heart that I couldn't rate this book any less. From the very first chapter I felt a connection with the characters, the scenes, even the very ink on the page.

I can't explain how or why, but I loved this book. More than I should have. There is, quite truthfully, nothing particularly special about it. The story is written in simple language without any flower
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of My Mad, Fat Diary, Puberty Blues and author Jacqueline Wilson
I’ve been writing a lot of five star reviews lately (with more on the way) and I have genuinely enjoyed all of those books, but it has been many, many years since I have been able to connect so much with a book. Paper Aeroplanes is, without a doubt, now one of my favourite books of all time and one which I will be pushing onto all of my female friends for years to come.

I can’t think of another book I’ve read which so accurately represents the intricacies of the friendships between teenage girls.
Jenny / Wondrous Reads
I read Paper Aeroplanes in a few hours; it's a compulsive read with well-drawn, realistic characters and situations and writing that drew me from page one. If I didn't know better I wouldn't have pegged Dawn O'Porter as a debut novelist - it doesn't show at all, but that's what she is. As far as debut novels go, this is a great one she should be very proud of.

Paper Aeroplanes is quite simple when you analyse it, but sometimes the simplest stories have more heart than giant elaborate ones. It's a
SoWrongItsRANDI {Bell, Book & Candle}

I feel like Dawn O’Porter really captured the experience of high school, even if it was based in the mid-90s. It’s easy to forget all the drama, gossip, and social hierarchies that come along with school, so it did take me back to my high school experience. The themes of friendship and self-discovery were an amazing sight to behold. As much as it did piss me off seeing the so-called “fake friends” use and abuse the main characters, I did rather enjoy the come-uppance they received in the end. It
Stacey (prettybooks)
I will not be posting a full review, but I'd like to say that Paper Aeroplanes is one of the most wonderfully authentic YA contemporary novels I've read.

Paper Aeroplanes made me think a lot about the differences between UK and USA young adult contemporary. I've found that UKYA is much more realistic and grittier (as, for example, in Before I Die . But maybe it's due to cultural differences and the fact that this is probably much nearer to my own experience – from ready meals to greasy chips – t
Dead parents, bullying, negligent parents, bulemia, anorexia, abuse of sexual power, rape, lying, pregnancy... am I missing anything? I must be, given the rave reviews of this book.

Here's the thing: there's nothing wrong with a gritty, real-life-is-tough novel, and maybe we don't see enough of them in YA. BUT gritty doesn't automatically mean it's good. Just cause it *goes there*, it still has to do it well. And I don't think this one did.

For a book about friendship we see very few healthy, fu
Cora ☕ Tea Party Princess
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-contemporary
5 Words: UKYA at its absolute best.

This was an amazing read, one I'm sure will stay with me. And it's left me anxious to get on to Goose. After hearing Dawn O'Porter talking at the author event on Monday I think I love this book even more.

Full review and double giveaway to come.
Serendipity Reviews
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Originally posted on
I really enjoyed reading this book, even if I did cringe at quite a few scenes. And I honestly only cringed because it opened a locked door in my mind that had kept hidden my teenage years which were a lot harsher than I remembered.

The style and setting of this book is the closest I have ever come to my own teenage years. I’m not saying personally that I was the type of girl who was desperate to lose my virginity, because I was quite the opposite.
Jun 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
The reason I gave this four stars and not five is actually a matter of genre. This book is about two teenage girls - Reneé and Flo, and although its content will be passionately related to by anyone who has been a teenage girl and faced the challenges that high school brings, I wouldn't call it a Young Adult novel. As Caroline Flack surprisingly nails on the head on the cover, 'anyone who has ever been a teenage girl will love this book.' At its close, I didn't feel a life lesson that is often l ...more
Nov 04, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paper Airplanes is a gritty realistic coming of age tale that centers around two teens who are dealing with a raw and rough life. Dealing with periods, boyfriends, and flaky best friends, Paper Airplanes is one of the realer of YA books I've read in a while.

I don't feel like my life has changed but I enjoyed reading about Renee and Flo. There is such a distinct different between UK YA and USA YA. That is not to say one is better than the other but there is a rawness, and grit in UK literature th
Eleanor Wood
Jun 18, 2013 rated it liked it
I wanted to love this book - I think Dawn O'Porter always comes across as very charming and funny, and I love a 90s setting.

There were elements of it that I liked, but - to be honest - I thought the overall effect was a bit muddled and the writing sometimes a bit lazy. I had such high hopes, as I thoroughly enjoyed the first quarter of the book, but then thought it flagged a bit. Some of the characters had a lot of potential that I felt could have been explored more - Sally was a bit of a cartoo
Claire (Book Blog Bird)
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

Do you know what we need more of in YA lit? Positive female friendships. And in Paper Aeroplanes, Dawn o’Porter gives it to us in spades.

From the very first few pages, the author had me absolutely hooked on Renee and Flo’s stories, which were told from alternating viewpoints within the chapters. Don’t get me wrong, their friendship isn’t all skipping through a field of daisies and wildflowers, and Renee and Flo are both flawed characters, but I instantly completely shipped their friends
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
It's amazing how you can long for a book that turns out not to be worth it at all.
Chloe Lee
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
I confess, maybe the rating is derived from a high expectation of a realistic novel of the YA genre, which might rekindle my interest in the genre itself.

1.5 stars. 0.5 for it being based on her own experiences (as stated right from the beginning), and there is no reason for me to disparage her experiences, since we all have our own histories, and to place a judgment on that would be too much. 1 for the portrayal of the intensity of young female friendships, and it is nice to be reminded of the
Natalie TBGWP
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The brick has been smashed and the heart has been released!
(For newbies to my site & reviews this is shocking news! Not normal shocking, but capital letter shouty text talk SHOCKING! I don't have a heart, Instead a swinging brick. Well I used to have anyway until Mrs.O'porter took me back to the 90s and released it for me.)

Paper Aeroplanes is not only brilliantly titled, but brilliantly written. It is heart wrenching from the very first page. There's no fairy tale or la-dee-dah love story bo
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All teenage girls
This beautiful debut really captures what it's like to be a teenage girl. A real teenage girl, whose friends make her feel unwanted and bad about herself, who struggles with periods, who gets irritated and obsessed with boys, who's trying to discover who she is...

I loved Dawn's tone of writing as it was very plain-speaking and funny. The writing was different to anyone else's I've ever read in a subtle way that I can't really pin down. All I could come up with was: "She writes like bread." My he
Wendy F
May 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Paper Aeroplanes was an impulse review. I actually read the synopsis of the sequel and wanted it, realizing that I’d have to read this one first. The closer that I got to the date this review was scheduled the more nervous I was was. I’m not really brave with my reads, I don’t easily read obscure books because it’s just way to easy to be wrong about them and I don’t enjoy reading books that don’t speak to me. It’s a struggle.

Paper Aeroplanes was decent. I enjoyed reading about how these two girl
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
An accurate portrayal of life as a teenage girl, and the beauty and importance of friendship.
Jul 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
This review was also posted at AbsoBookingLutely.

I have JUST THIS SECOND finished reading Paper Aeroplanes. I’ve been sitting in a car in the most uncomfortable position in the world, at first stopping every few seconds to adjust the small cushion protecting my back from the sticky-out bit in the door (I just bought this car, why on earth did I think sticky-out door bits were a good idea?), but then forgetting all about the discomfort as I drew towards the ending. What a fantastic book.

Plot and
Alice Caryer
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I actually really loved this. It reminded me so much of my time at school and how close your friendships can be. I'm lucky that mine still feel this fulfilling, if not better! Renée <3 Flo forever. I'm really excited there appear to be more books in this series
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
I would say that this was more of a 2.5. I can totally see how some people might enjoy this but it just wasn't for me and I ended up skimming most of it.
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Flo und Renée haben nur eines gemeinsam, sie leben auf einer winzigen Insel, dort wahre Freunde zu finden gestaltet sich nicht immer einfach. Und auch wenn die beiden Mädchen nicht viel gemeinsam haben, werden sie nach dem Tod von Flos Vater Freundinnen. Es kommt nämlich auf weit mehr an und je mehr sie sich kennenlernen, desto mehr können sie auch die Gemeinsamkeiten erkennen die sie haben.
Doch Flo möchte diese Freundschaft unbedingt geheim halten, ein Umstand der für einige Probleme sorgen wir
It’s not often I re-read books, these days it’s because I do not have the time and because I fear my reaction to a 5 star read the second time around – what if I don’t like it as much? What it if re-reading it totally changes my feelings? I chose to re-read Paper Aeroplanes because I never reviewed it when I read it six months ago, and because I have the sequel and wanted to refresh my memory. I’m happy to report that Paper Aeroplanes did not suffer from a re-read, if anything I loved it even mo ...more
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Here's a link to my blog for more reviews !!!

I was forced to read Paper Aeroplanes by a friend of mine who absolutely adored it and was convinced I would too. She was partly right , I didn’t love it as much as she did, but I did really enjoy it. Paper Aeroplanes is Dawn O’Porter’s first novel, and I must say that she has got her writing career off to a flying start. The book follows the lives of two teenage girls, Reneé and Flo, as they grow up on the the island of Guernsey in the nineties. Wh
May 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
It’s 1994 on Guernsey and the girls of Tudor Falls are returning to school. Flo’s father has just moved out and she’s left holding the baby; well her 4 year-old sister, Abi, who her mother refuses to look after. At school, she lives in the shadow of her controlling best friend, never making any choices for herself or holding her own. Outgoing Renée lost her mother when she was seven but still misses her. Struggling to live under her grandparents’ roof she is also concerned about her sister Nell, ...more
Sarah Brown
Mar 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Paper Aeroplanes is an incredibly realistic, ridiculously emotional, spot-on representation of teenage life, and considering this is a debut novel, it's pretty spectacular. The story follows fifteen year olds Renée and Flo through alternating perspectives and explores the themes of friendship, family, loss and sex among other things. This book made me laugh out loud and cry somewhat hysterically, and I honestly can't say that about a lot of books.

I don't think I've read a novel that so closely p
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a 15 year old adolescent I could only of wished to be one of those girls who was the other half of a solid friendship resembling the one between Flo and Renee when I was at high school. They are polar opposites yet attract and connect bringing out the best in each other.

O'Porter did a wonderful job of spinning this tale around the reader, it was beautifully written, realistic and humours in parts with an overall nostalgic warmth weaving through the sentences.

I was completely hooked from the f
Mar 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Paper Aeroplanes is such a fun, thought provoking read. I have no idea why it's taken me so long to read it! Dawn O'Porter captures perfectly what it is to be a teenage girl. There are so many moments in this book where I laugh or cringe with empathy - there are so many things that are achingly familiar. Even though I'm happy to be on the better side of my teens (I'm 23!) I still had so much nostalgia reading this book. Emotions are buzzing, everything is confusing but things are so much fun at ...more
Flo is the type of girl who gets straight-As. She's eager to please and avoids trouble as much as possible. She's "best friends" with Sally, the most popular girl in school. Renee is the type of girl who would rather cut class to pull a prank. She's the one who makes jokes in class and puts off school work until it's way too late to do anything about it. On the surface, Flo and Renee don't have much in common. When they finally begin to get to know one another, they bond over their dysfunctional ...more
Renee and Flo aren't in the same social circle at school. Flo is a dedicated student, focused on getting good grades and maintaining an acceptable, clean reputation. Her relationship with her best friend, Sally, isn't what one would consider healthy. Constantly criticized and abandoned, Flo doesn't know what real friendships are until Renee enters her life. Renee is completely different from her; she isn't focused on schoolwork and has risky behaviors. However, their friendship works, because th ...more
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Should Flo speak out about her bullly? 1 16 May 09, 2013 05:35PM  
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Dawn O'Porter is a broadcaster and print journalist who lives in London with her husband Chris, cat Lilu and dog Potato. She has made thirteen documentaries about all sorts of things, including polygamy, childbirth, geishas, body image, breast cancer and even the movie DIRTY DANCING.

Dawn has written for various UK newspapers and magazines including GRAZIA and STYLIST. She is also a highly prolifi

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“I feel like a waste of space. Like my whole life has been building up to the moment I failed. Like I don't have the energy to make up for what I've done, or to start again, or for anything. I feel like I want to be someone else.'
Miss Anthony moves to Margaret's old seat and puts her arm around me.
'You're not the tough little cookie everyone thinks you are, are you?”
“I have two choices in life: I either try to do the right thing and get accused of being selfish, or I just do what is right for me and get called selfish anyway. This time, it's all about me.” 8 likes
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