The Paper & Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie
I was in a really bad reading slump at the beginning of the year. You know, the kind where you watch Netflix, scroll through Twitter, or do nothing at all, instead of picking up a book. Lucy kindly offered to send me her book, The Paper & Hearts Society, to help – and it worked!
Tabby Brown doesn’t fit in. She’s anxious and unhappy, and just wants some friends to hang out with who get her… and then she discovers a piece of paper tucked into a book inviting her to join a book club. It’s here that she meets Olivia, Cassie, Henry and Ed, and embarks on a summer of bookishness and friendships.
Lucy’s approach to anxiety – something that affects a lot of us in the bookish community – was great, and she includes LGBTQ+ characters (something that I haven’t come across in a young teen book before). As well as a Jane Austen-themed party, a literary road trip (visiting one of my favourite places, Bath), and the downside of social media. I also loved spotting titles of books that I knew!
I raced through The Paper & Hearts Society and loved it from start to finish – it had me in tears at the end. I was always going to support Lucy as she’s one of my best friends, but it makes me so joyously happy that I can shout about something I genuinely love. I cannot wait to pop into a bookshop and buy my own copy.
Proud by Various
My first publisher event of the year was Stripes’ EqualiTea. I was excited to be given a copy of LGBTQ+ anthology Proud, edited by Juno Dawson. It’s full of stories, art and poems from authors and illustrators who are part of the community, including Tanya Byrne, Moïra Fowley-Doyle, David Levithan, Simon James Green and many more.
Proud is such a diverse collection of stories – of genres, characters, narrative styles and illustrative styles. I enjoyed discovering which stories would be my favourites (as someone who doesn’t usually get on with short story collections!), from Simon James Green’s Penguins (illustrated by Alice Oseman), a contemporary about coming out (and gay penguins!), to fantasy tale The Phoenix Fault by Cynthia So (illustrated by Priyanka Meenakshi), about two girls who fall in love, as well as many other stories you should read with pride.
I’m really looking forward to reading more from the authors featured in Proud.
The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan
Sarah Crossan’s One is one of my all-time favourite YA novels, but I hadn’t yet picked up her first verse novel, The Weight of Water. It’s about 12-year-old Kasienka who moves from Poland to England with her mother, searching for the father who left them.
The Weight of Water is immensely honest, and doesn’t sugar-coat what it’s like for a migrant to move to a place that feels cold and unwelcoming. Kasienka deals with loneliness and isolation; her mother’s broken-heart and poverty; and her schoolmates don’t make her feel any better – swimming is the only thing they can’t make fun of her for, because she’s better at it than all of them.
As with all of Sarah Crossan’s novels, The Weight of Water is powerful, moving and unsentimental, and I can’t wait to read her next book, Toffee.
#gifted: The Paper & Hearts Society and Proud were obtained for free in exchange for an honest review.
- What’s on my shelves?
- Mini Reviews: The Paper & Hearts Society, Proud & The Weight of Water
- Mini Reviews: Normal People, So Happy It Hurts & The Quiet at the End of the World
- Mini Reviews: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts) & In At the Deep End
- What’s on my shelves?