#162 Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter Review

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 to their friendship (namely Flo’s jealous ex-best friend and Renée’s growing infatuation with Flo’s brother), fifteen is an age where anything can happen, where life stretches out before you, and when every betrayal feels like the end of the world. For Renée and Flo it is the time of their lives.

With graphic content and some scenes of a sexual nature, PAPER AEROPLANES is a gritty, poignant, often laugh-out-loud funny and powerful novel. It is an unforgettable snapshot of small-town adolescence and the heart-stopping power of female friendship.

If you’re looking for a book to take on your summer holiday, then look no further. Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter is the ideal summer read. I read it in the sun in the back garden early in the month and I was so engrossed in it that I didn’t realise I’d burnt one shoulder! I read it in the course oft he afternoon as it’s easy to read but also well written and the plot is so relatable for a girl who grew up in the 90s (grew up in, not had my teenage years in.) I recognised a lot of the references and having grown up in a family who had little money for the early part of my childhood, I could related to Renee and what feels like to her, the poverty she lived in.
The book has a duel narrative and each chapter is in the voice of either Renee or Flo. What I particular liked about this though is the fact the author constantly moved forward and never went back to explain a situation from another view point. It was incredibly clever. When I read the blurb and it stated to have graphic content of a sexual nature, I have to admit I was half expecting some This Is England crossed with 50 Shades but in fact it’s really quite mild when it references sex, in fact it focuses more or the relationship from the point of view of the teenager in question be it Flo or Renee. The bit of the blurb I’m glad was correct was the bit about it being incredibly powerful and poignant. I ended up crying at two separate points in the book! Good job I had my sunglasses on. It’s also fast moving due to the fact it’s set over the main character’s last year at secondary school and how life changing that can be at 15. 
The characters were likable and believable in my opinion. Both from opposite sides of the track with a parents death bringing them together as friends. They each had their own share of problems but all the scenarios were realistic and not at all far fetched. I didn’t really identify with either of them as a character, but as I mentioned before I more identified with them as a unit of girls growing up in the 90s. 
I’d definitely recommend this book, in fact I’ve already lent it out to my sister to read because it was just that good a read. The author has a great way with words when it comes to dealing with such things as first sex, unrequited love and even death.

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