Paper Aeroplanes - Dawn O'Porter
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.
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 the same time. I felt like I could see elements of myself in both Flo and Renée. They are the two most amazing characters and I know that we would have been friends. There's no doubt about it - they'd have fit in perfectly with my friendship group!
Not only does this book convey what it is to be a teen, but it also address many issues which teens go through every day. There are issues regarding sexuality and sex itself, familial issues, GCSE's and the pressure of exams, puberty, emotions, friendships, relationships - everything! There is so much emotion, humour and turmoil in less than 300 pages; it's definitely a rollercoaster of a ride and I loved every minute of it! Not every aspect is full of laughs and jokes however. O'Porter shows how difficult it is to be a teenager. The amount of pressure to do well, being forced to grow up to soon and to cope with loses that they shouldn't have had to deal with yet. We're confronted with horrific characters such as Sally - Flo's supposed best friend. I hated her character so much. I found myself willing Flo to tell her where to go. To just cut that it of poison out of her life. Even though Flo and Renée are completely different characters, their familial situations are fairly similar. Both have to cope with unnecessary pressure; Renée and her sister, Flo and her mother. It makes for such an emotional read but definitely shows how important friendship is in difficult times.
Paper Aeroplanes explores so many different things so thoroughly. The importance of choice, of friendship, of family; these are all key to this novel. In amongst the jokes are some important messages; to be yourself, to spend times with people that count. This was such a great book to read and I cannot wait to read Goose!