Book Review: Dawn O’Porter – Paper Aeroplanes and Goose

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Paper Aeroplanes is the first time that we get to meet school girls and couldn’t be more different teens Flo and Renee. The pair may have been attending the same school on the island of Guernsey for years but they have never really spoken to each other until this, their final year. A number of situations bring the two together when they realise that they are the only friends each other has got especially when their other ‘friends’ and family can’t be bothered about them or treat them terribly.

The book takes us through death, first time sex, bitchy friends, life changes and exams but also friendship, love and finding happiness and safety in someone else when you need it the most but expect it the least. For me, this book was a perfect teenage novel and sums up many of the main points that all teenage girls go through at some stage. But what really made the book even more enjoyable for me was that it centered on the friendship of two girls who are relatively normal but just have a lot of confusing shit going on, something any girl who has or is a teenager can relate to.

I loved this book as I could relate to the characters and I saw parts of myself in both of them, they are different extremes of character but there are traits there that everyone will recognise in themselves. Whether you are more like Renee, Flo or like me a bit of both, you will get to know the characters and be able to relate them and their stories to your own life.

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When it comes to Goose we pick up the story when the girls are in their final year of sixth form before going off to university and both leaving their small island and the secluded life that has brought them. Again the novel takes the girls through some big moments in their lives as they find themselves growing up, becoming adults and making big decisions that sees bigger repercussions than either of them ever expected.

The girls start to grow further apart here though as Renee decides she wants to skip uni and starts a destructive relationship with an older man leading to some tragic consequences for her which ultimately change her life forever. While Flo after a difficult couple of years turns to religion to seek help and answers to cope with the stresses and sadness’s of her life.

I loved the first book but I found this one to be much more emotional and I found myself near tears at many points while reading this and with problems so real it is understandable why. The part of your life between the safety of school/sixth form and the real world of going off to uni/getting a job is scary and exciting at the same time. The responsibilities the pair face through this time mirrors just how confusing it is to grow up and suddenly be expected to be completely responsible and adult-like in your actions.

All in all, I loved both books and I really think O’Porter has perfectly captured the trials and tribulations as well as the good times and best bits of being a teenage girl. The books may be set in the 90’s but the morals and themes here are relevant to any girl of any age growing up in any decade. Whether you have already passed your teenage years or you are in the midst of them now, these short novels are perfect stories that capture your imagination, making you realise you are not alone, you were never alone and that being a teenage girl was/is just as embarrassing for everyone else too.

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A third novel about Renee and Flo is set to be in the pipeline and quite honestly I can’t wait to for it to be released and for their story to be continued some more.

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