When The Paper & Hearts Society book was announced by Hachette, I knew that it would be a book that would be a book to really resonate with teens. I put it on my list of most anticipated books of 2019, which you can read here. Lucy Powrie is a big name in the world of books – having created the weekly bookish chat tag #UKYAChat and having a huge following online – so to read her debut book was a joy! Huge thanks to Hachette Kids for sending me a proof copy!
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?
This book is a wonderfully realistic and somewhat comforting read of friendship and found families, and is completely perfect for a teen reader. Far too often, older reviewers read teen books and begin comparing them to adult books. Teen books are usually written with a teen reader in mind, and The Paper & Hearts Society does this incredibly well. While reading, I was instantly transported back into the mindset of how I was as a teenager.
Set over the course of a summer, The Paper & Hearts Society focuses on Tabby, a 15 year old who is staying with her Gran while her parents finalise moving house. Tabby is book obsessed, but is plagued by an incident in her past with an old best friend – who now seems hell-bent on making Tabby anxious and full of self doubt. On meeting a new group of people eager for new members for their book club, Tabby’s summer and her idea of friendship is changed forever.
Tabby was quite a likeable character – obsessed with books and very reflective of an average teenager with her own doubts and worries about the world. The rest of the group does take a while to grow on the reader, similar to how they have to grow on Tabby. It’s nice attention to detail that these characters aren’t instantly likeable, and that friendships have to grow.
This book not only deals with the difficulty of making new friends, it also deals with bullying. Both in the form of flashbacks and present day cyberbullying, Tabby’s old friend Jess makes recurring appearances as quite a nasty bully. I think that the way Tabby deals with these bullies will really strike a chord with teen readers – I know from experience that being bullied leads you to say things you normally wouldn’t say, or feel backed into a corner with no clue as to how things would get better. It’s admirable to see that Lucy has written such a relatable situation, and I hope that it may help teen readers in similar situations.
Although I found at points that some of the book was a tad too over descriptive in paragraphs, it didn’t really stop me from enjoying the book for what it was; a tale of newfound friendship and finding people that you feel like you can belong with.
Final thought: A refreshing debut that will please the hearts of book lovers everywhere. 4/5