Kelly Brigid's Reviews > Paper Girl

Paper Girl by Cindy R. Wilson
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it was amazing
bookshelves: arc, contemporary, fiction, romance, young-adult

"The real world was like paper, and one screw up, one spark, and the whole thing would go up in flames."

Paper Girl surprised me in a plethora of ways – all of which for the better. Having dived into this contemporary without many preconceived notions of how it’ll turn out, proved to be a wonderful occurrence! This is a beautiful story about love, discovery, and ultimately, confronting our fears and inner demons, regardless of the pain that may arise. I fell in love with Zoe and Jackson the moment they appeared in the first chapter and appreciate how well we’re able to immerse ourselves in their shoes through reading the dual perspectives. Wilson does a marvelous job constructing unique voices for her characters, and I admire how authentic the emotions radiating from them feel.

The social anxiety representation is handled in a lovely manner. Although I don’t suffer from this mental illness, myself, I believe the author’s portrayal of Zoe’s anxiety is depicted in a truly genuine manner – as expected from a novel with events based off Wilson’s own experiences. What I love most, is how simple it is to understand Zoe’s struggles and desire to shield herself from the outside world. These are very real fears and doubts that I’m sure many readers can relate with, even if it’s too a lesser degree.

Zoe’s family is present! I mention this quite often, but I’m a huge advocate for families having prevalent roles in YA literature. As a teenager, myself, I find it quite odd how infrequently nuclear families are incorporated in story lines. While I understand that difficulties can arise from parents interfering with the main characters of the story, I don’t believe cutting them from the plot entirely is the perfect solution. In Paper Girl, I absolutely loved the effects Zoe’s circumstances had on each member of her family. All they wish for her, is the best, and while they may not had been the most understanding at times, they reacted in highly realistic manners. Her sister, Mae’s frustration at not being able to connect with Zoe as they did before, her mother’s constant hope for recovery, and her father’s confusion over how to communicate with her, are all depicted well, and never feel overly dramatic or improbable.

Another strong suit of this story, is its inclusion of therapy in a positive perspective. Zoe’s therapist helps lead her down beneficial, albeit difficult, roads to recovery. I love the conversations between the two and admire how Zoe’s development and growth is reflected through these therapy sessions. The mutual trust and comfort Zoe and Jackson share with one another is also quite lovely. Despite how Zoe is the title character, we receive much development on Jackson’s part as well. The struggles he faces with having an alcoholic father is heartbreaking, and it’s even more painful seeing how he refuses to confide in others. He has no incentive of being on the receiving end of pity, so he avoids the topic of his unfortunate home life – or lack, thereof – at all costs. Witnessing him crawling out from his shell of fear and doubt, not unlike Zoe’s progression through her own, is wonderful to witness.

In conclusion, this is a stunning story that touches many important topics in our society, and produces a sweet romance that is neither forced, nor unrealistic. The struggles each of the characters face, whether it be combatting anxiety or confronting a previously negligent parent, feel remarkably raw and emotional, and I was all for it. I highly recommend this one for fans of Eliza and her Monsters and Dear Evan Hansen.

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review!

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Reading Progress

October 4, 2018 – Shelved
October 4, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
December 14, 2018 – Started Reading
December 22, 2018 – Shelved as: arc
December 22, 2018 – Shelved as: contemporary
December 22, 2018 – Shelved as: fiction
December 22, 2018 – Shelved as: romance
December 22, 2018 – Shelved as: young-adult
December 22, 2018 – Finished Reading

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