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

Paper Planes

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  103 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Niko and his family are trapped in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War. The siege lasts for three years and Niko's family struggle to find enough food and avoid the snipers whose targets are civilians in the streets. Niko and his friend Nadim take refuge from the bombing in the stairwell of their apartment building and together they find hope in the midst of a war they did not ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 1st 2014 by Scholastic Australia
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 Paper Planes, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Paper Planes

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  103 ratings  ·  32 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Paper Planes
Jun 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Umpires wear white uniforms and blow whistles to declare penalty shots. They also keep score. It's hard for them to stop the players from arguing. Everyone wants their side to win.

I'm not crying, you're crying.

Paper Planes tells the story of 12-year old Niko. He lives a normal life with his parents and two siblings in Bosnia, until he is awoken early one morning to a phonecall. His brother's friend is calling to warn them. The war is coming.

What follows is quite an educational middle grade n
C.G. Drews
This book is perfect for 10-12 year olds and is pretty educational about the Bosnia war in the 90s.

I've read a LOT of Historical Fiction books aimed at this age category (I kind of grew up on them), so I wasn't opposed to reading a book that was seriously too young for me. It was written very clearly and easily. With a heck of a lot of explanations. If they even mention a word that's remotely different (like "sniper") they'll stop and explain it.

My real problem was the narrator: Niko. The kid w
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent Book!! Very Informative
Jones Campbell
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca jones
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this to my 12-year old son and we both absolutely loved it. A real eye-opener for kids on what families in war zones are going through, and because it is written from the perspective of a child it was very relatable. We were both so sad when we finished it as we wanted more! And a bit more closure would have been good too. Would love a sequel.
Nic Ayson
Apr 26, 2016 rated it liked it
A pre-teen read that is a story about a boy and his family during the Bosnian War. It was an easy read with good explanations of war terminology for young readers. My eleven year old really loved this. I found it to be quite simplistic with a very rushed ending.
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
Oct 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
3½ Stars.
Really enjoyed it. An incredible look at the devastation war brings upon families and cultural genocide.
Review to come.
Taylor Fletcher
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sophie Hauser
Apr 18, 2019 rated it liked it
I did consider, when rating this book, that it was aimed for a much younger reader audience... around 10/11 age the same as the main character. This attributes to how simply it is written. However, other books aimed at children I still read and absolutely love, His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman... Also I feel even an 11 year old may be more worldly wise and literate the this book portrays.

Despite this I generally like the story and think it’s a great insight of the Struggles on Bosnian. Readi
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This wasn't just historical fiction but a book based around one of the characters, and his memories from the Bosnian War. I found it very moving, and yes I did shed a few tears.
A tad slow to begin but in a way it adds to the change in situation that the characters faced.
I would love a follow up to know what happened to Niko's bestfriend Nedim.
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
An enlightening read, especially given the current circumstances with Covid-19. Although this novel is about the Bosnian war, which was far worse, students who have had no idea of these types of circumstances may find themselves a little more compassionate and understanding about how things can change so suddenly.
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: australian-2017
Solid exploration of life in a war torn Yugoslavia. What did break my heart was the line about Australia accepting refugees, and I reflect on the current state of play that has the main parties detaining refugee children for years. A good book to start a conversation that must happen.
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aa2019
A way to tell a story and a part of history. Seeing it from a child's point of view of raw emotion, friendships, family and what it feels to be within inches of your life. This was a great story which led me through how it would feel to be in a country in war.
Taj Lynd
It was an emotional book about real life events that have occurred.
The worst part for me was when Jarko took Nikos dog to the war with him, it was pretty sad.
This book is about survival and war, it is based in Bosnia.
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is so incredibly well written. The story grabs you from the beginning and doesn't let you go. Do yourself a favour and read this book!
Dark Matter
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was reviewed on Dark Matter Zine; for more reviews, interviews and articles, go to Dark Matter Zine. Alternatively, this link is just to Dark Matter Zine's reviews.

A review by Nalini Haynes

Trigger warnings: violence, attempted suicide, starvation, deaths

Niko lives in Sarajevo with his family when the former Yugoslavia is torn apart by civil war. Niko and his best friend Nedim are from different people groups and different religions and yet they remain friends throughout this terrible
Marianne Grasso
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have never travelled to Sarajevo, Bosnia, but novelist Allayne L. Webster made me feel as though I was there in 1992, alongside Niko and his family, trying to survive the war that ravaged the country. The story outlines the hardships endured by the Dobesh family and their determination to survive.

The story begins with the family receiving a phone call warning them about the impending war. Niko rushes onto their apartment’s balcony and all is quiet…too quiet. The bustling city is deserted, wi
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been crossposted from my blog at The Cosy Dragon . Please head there for more in-depth reviews by me, which appear on a timely schedule.

NIko is a normal young boy with a loving family and home. But suddenly, he finds himself in the middle of a war zone, and he must make his way through it to safety with or without his family.

I wasn’t expecting anything when I picked up ‘Paper Planes’. To my surprise, it was the narrative of a young boy, threatened by war in Bosnia. Again, I’m not
Dimity Powell
May 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids-lit
This did not pull me as much as the title and cover promised it might however it is nonetheless a fascinating account of the conflict that divided a nation and its people for nearly half a decade. Ashamedly, I was aware of very little of the Civil War which savaged the former Yugoslavia in the early 90s in spite of the fact that I was living and working in Europe at the time. Paper Planes traces the plight of one family in Sarajevo through the eyes of the quite naive 12 year-old Niko and his eve ...more
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-teens, war
True events from the Bosnian-Serbian war form the basis for this gentle novel. We see everything through the eyes of 11-year-old Niko, Domenik Dobesh. The normal town life that he and his parents and 2 older siblings (Jarko and Danijela) shared, is now obliterated by Serbian shelling into Sarajevo, resulting in the terrible siege of 1992-1996. Starvation, snipers, cannon, bombs, air attacks and murderers were all unleased onto unsuspecting families like Niko's - families who had lived in peace a ...more
Rosanne Hawke
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
Another good book about children living in a war zone for Middle School. Webster is a very good writer and gives a human face to a war that I know little of. A map would have helped me understand, but the story showed what it would be like to live in a city under siege and I was inspired to find out more on the web. Faithfully based on a true story and could be read alongside the recent Through my Eyes series about children living in war zones.
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Probably one of the most depressing books I have read in a long time.. The world is seen in the eyes of an innocent 12 year old boy named Niko who is trapped in the Bosnian war with his family.. Niko is unable to comprehend the severity of the situation or how his life has been turned upside down because of this war.. I recommend this to younger readers who grew up in Australia - so they can understand how blessed we are to have grown up away from all of that..
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Niko and his family live in Sarajevo and this book tells the terrible story of their life during the Bosnian War - the bombings, the snipers, the shortage of food etc. The book is very well written and while probably aimed at 10-13 year olds, it is a wonderful, quick adult read as well.
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great book, clearly tells the story of how it was to live in Sarajevo, Bosnia during the war. Good to have it written from a child's point of view as the terminology was explained as part of the story. War is an horrific thing.
Sue Mitchison
A possible read-aloud book for my class next year? This was quite hard-hitting in places, but very real. Set in Sarajevo during the troubles there.
Steph Cuthbert
Jan 12, 2016 added it
Shelves: dnf
DNF. This has been on my shelf too long. It's not that it's bad- it's okay- it's just that there are so many more books on my TBR and this is lower MG war story which isn't my thing at all.
Jul 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
love it it is a great book want more series
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A well written and exciting book.
Oct 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book, it made me realize more about me and the world around us.
Rebecca Larsen
So refreshing to read about something current that has affected this generation of young adults. Such a teachable book, very well written. Moving and confronting.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Tribal Ash
  • New Kid (New Kid, #1)
  • Sweet Adversity
  • The Isle of the Lost (Descendants, #1)
  • Red Lily (In the Garden, #3)
  • Haunted: The Book of Australia's Ghosts
  • Key of Knowledge (Key Trilogy, #2)
  • Blood Brothers (Sign of Seven, #1)
  • Black Rose (In the Garden, #2)
  • Blue Dahlia (In the Garden, #1)
  • Key of Light (Key Trilogy, #1)
  • The Pagan Stone (Sign of Seven, #3)
  • Key of Valor (Key Trilogy, #3)
  • The Hollow (Sign of Seven, #2)
  • The Potato Factory (The Potato Factory, #1)
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  • It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War
  • Kahani: Short Stories by Pakistani Women
See similar books…
Allayne grew up in a coastal fishing town in rural South Australia. During her high school days, Allayne became of obsessed with Judy Blume. The only thing she wanted for her thirteenth birthday was the novel, 'Are you there, God? It's me, Margaret.'

As a teenager, Allayne wrote her first epic novel inside three 96 page lined workbooks. Kids in her class wanted to know, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? Allayne's

News & Interviews

Last year, Buzzfeed culture writer Anne Helen Petersen struck a chord with her viral article “How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation.”...
80 likes · 14 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“If they bomb us while we're asleep, will we wake up dead?” 0 likes
More quotes…