Title: Paper and Hearts Society
Author: Lucy Powrie
13th June 2019
Tabby Brown is tired of trying to fit in. She doesn’t want to go to parties – in fact, she would much rather snuggle up on the sofa with her favourite book.
It’s like she hasn’t found her people …
Then Tabby joins a club that promises to celebrate books. What could go wrong? EVERYTHING – especially when making new friends brings out an AWKWARD BUZZING feeling all over her body.
But Olivia, Cassie, Henry and Ed have something that makes Tabby come back. Maybe it’s the Austen-themed fancy-dress parties, or Ed’s fluffy cat Mrs Simpkins, or could it be Henry himself …
Can Tabby let her weird out AND live THE BEST BOOKISH LIFE POSSIBLE?
Overall opinion of the book:
The Paper and Hearts Society was such a lovely, refreshing read. Tabby recently moves to a new town and is living with her grandmother, it’s the Summer holidays so she’s yet to make any friends her age. When she comes across a leaflet in her local library advertising a book club, reluctantly she goes along to it. That’s where she meets Olivia, Cassie, Henry and Ed, who equally share her passion and love for books. The story then follows their blossoming friendship and bookish trips. It’s the type of book I wish was published when I was still a teenager. Tabby was such a relatable character and I connected with her introverted and often anxious personality. If I had to describe what I was like as a teenager, it would be very similar to Tabby. I’d overthink all the time and I don’t think this was represented heavily in books 10 years ago.
It was lovely to read a YA book that’s deeply rooted in friendships and a love of books, rather than solely on romantic interests. The references to other YA books was great and I loved all of the Harry Potter chats, it reminded me of the many Harry Potter marathons I’d have. There’s also a part in the book where the characters talk about their top five Harry Potter characters, it was interesting to compare them to mine (Lupin, Hagrid, Molly, Ron and Sirius). The Paper and Hearts Society definitely deep rooted me in nostalgia and I liked that the society discusses classic writers, such as Jane Austen as well as current authors, like Becky Albertalli.
The characterisation was brilliant and each member of the society were completely different from one another. It was easy to tell them apart and in the sections where group messages were shown, their personalities were so distinctive and I could tell the characters apart just through the language they used and how they spoke. Sometimes in books, personalities can be lost when displaying text or social media messages, but this was not the case in The Paper and Hearts Society. I loved each member of the society and their own individual quirks. They’re all so different and this book emphasises most people have something in common that can bring them close together. I like that it emphasises it’s okay to not want to fit in with the stereotypes of society. It encourages readers to break away from this and be proud of their individuality. Though, I do disagree with the trope if you’d rather stay in and read you’re weird, as it’s quite a common thing.
In regards to the writing style, it was easy to read and follow. Lucy’s writing style is relaxed and engaging. She’s fantastic at creating setting, and her descriptions of Bath were accurate and takes the reader straight to the intended place. The spelling, punctuation and grammar was great and I enjoyed the descriptive language Lucy uses. Her use of text and Social Media messages were fantastic and it was interesting to see the characters interact through messages as well as in person. This is the reality of friendships nowadays and it was great to see a book reflect this.
One of my favourite things about The Paper and Hearts Society was how inclusive it is. There is a diverse range of characters, POC and LGBTQIA+ rep – this was so refreshing. One of the characters (won’t mention a name as I don’t want to spoil the book) is demisexual. This is one of the first books I’ve read that discusses the ace spectrum. Not only is this representation great for those who relate to this, it also educates other teenagers on sexualities they may not be completely familiar with. While there are romances and relationships mentioned in the book, they’re not the integral part of the plot, but rather smaller sub plots. I personally loved the fact that the book focuses on a love for books and friendships over relationships. While it’s great for YA books to show relationships, it’s so important for healthy friendships to be portrayed too.
Although The Paper and Hearts Society is mainly a light hearted read, it does discuss some upsetting and equally important topics – such as divorce, family illness and bullying. Bullying and cyber bullying in particular are prevalent in the book and it reflects on how toxic some friendships can be, and how bullying can affect a person’s mental health and future friendships. Lucy tackles this subject well, in an eye opening and often heartbreaking way.
The only niggle I had with this book was the age of the intended audience. For me personally, I’d likely class The Paper and Hearts Society as a teen book or young YA, rather than a late YA book. This isn’t a negative thing at all, I just think readers perhaps 13-16 would relate to this book more than those who are 17-20, but that’s only my personal opinion. I’m 24, and still loved it!
Overall I absolutely loved The Paper and Hearts Society, it’s was deeply rooted in my teenage nostalgia and I loved all of the characters. It’s an honest representation of what it’s like being a teenager, discussing the awkward and embarrassing encounters alongside making life long friends. The topics discussed in the book were important and overall it was an absolute pleasure to read!
If you love all things books and cats, I would definitely recommend reading The Paper and Hearts Society. It was such a lovely read and a fantastic debut novel. It’s the first book in the series and I can’t wait to read more about the society in the future.
Lucy is an absolutely talented writer and is also part of the book community too – woo! I love seeing someone from the community achieve their dreams! Lucy’s 19. Can we all just take a minute to appreciate her success and how brilliant of a writer she is please?!
The Paper and Hearts Society is out now!
If you would like to purchase a copy of this book, you can do so here: