The Paper & Hearts Society – Book Review #Gifted
Happy book birthday to The Paper & Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie. I was lucky enough to be gifted an Advanced Reader Copy through NetGalley. It is a fantastic book and I am thrilled that everyone can now grab a copy. You definitely should! If you are in any doubt then read my full review below.
The Paper & Hearts Society Review
The Paper & Hearts Society is an easy to read, addictive YA contemporary debut. It has everything a true bookworm could ask for; realism, great characters, a bookish adventure and even some recommendations for your TBR! The book is true to its intended audience with a young and fresh narrative voice, which adds a refreshing authenticity to the story. I was immediately absorbed into the world of the protagonist, Tabby, who has just moved to a new town and is struggling with low self-esteem and anxiety issues. With some persuasion from her gran she attends a book club meeting in the hope that she may find somewhere she feels like she belongs.
I love how true Lucy is to her teenage characters. Being a teenager is hard and each of her characters has very genuine struggles ranging from identity issues and anxiety to problems at home. It is extremely easy to identify with Tabby. Having to make new friends is scary for people of any age but when you are a teenager, still trying to discover who you are, what your peers think about you can mean everything. So when Tammy goes to meet a new group of people, all of whom are already friends, it is easy to understand how she is feeling. Tabby is a down to earth, likeable character who experiences a lot of ups and downs throughout the novel.
There is a wonderful dynamic between all of the characters in the Paper & Hearts Society and they all have very different personalities. There was a real danger for the novel to be about stereotypes, however, Lucy has created characters with real depth and thought behind them. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Olivia’s bubbliness and enthusiasm; she is the best friend I would love to have. Cassie can be hard work but you know that when you have her loyalty, you will have a fierce friend who will always have your back. I instantly warmed to Henry, who is kind and has a quiet confidence about him. Ed is hilarious and definitely kept me smiling.
There is romance in the novel and, although some is rather predictable, it makes for enjoyable reading as it feels very natural. I love that Lucy has very normalised LGBTQIAP+ representation in the novel, including having a demi-sexual character. It is easy to see that the sexual identity is simply part of the character rather than added as an afterthought.
Topics, Themes and Issues
Throughout The Paper & Hearts Society there are a number of issues raised including mental health, anxiety and bullying. Lucy clearly embraces the challenge of writing about difficult topics, demonstrating a deep understanding of the issues involved. There are moments which are really heart-breaking. It was particularly poignant to me as I have recently watched a family member compete with some of these issues whilst trying to complete their GCSEs. I reiterate, being a teenager is hard. Books can be a safe space and I am sure that The Paper & Hearts Society will be that for the young bookworms who pick it up.
“It wasn’t just a book anymore – it was Tabby’s lifeline” – The Paper & Hearts Society
My favourite part of the book is the literary road trip, having been to some of the places mentioned myself. Lucy does an excellent job of capturing the spirit of the places she describes. The real essence of a road trip though is not just about the places but the people you are with. Above all else The Paper & Hearts Society is about true friendship, where you can be who you really are. To be your best bookish self.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Paper & Hearts Society, being hooked from the first page right through until the end. It is a feel-good, well-written story with excellent characters and I cannot wait for their adventures in book two.