Just as I originally predicted, this turned out to be a great read! Perfect for my YA mood!
Paper Girl (Release Date: December 4th, 2018)
I haven’t left my house in over a year. My doctor says it’s social anxiety, but I know the only things that are safe are made of paper. My room is paper. My world is paper. Everything outside is fire. All it would take is one spark for me to burst into flames. So I stay inside. Where nothing can touch me.
Then my mom hires a tutor. Jackson. This boy I had a crush on before the world became too terrifying to live in. Jackson’s life is the complete opposite of mine, and I can tell he’s got secrets of his own. But he makes me feel things. Makes me want to try again. Makes me want to be brave. I can almost taste the outside world. But so many things could go wrong, and all it takes is one spark for everything I love to disappear…
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Mental illness must be so difficult to write about. Especially, if the author doesn’t have first-hand experience. It’s a sensitive topic and a complicated one, and quite often books are written without the proper research being done, and the result can be disastrous. In the case of Paper Girl, both the research, and experience is evident in its pages, and as someone who suffers from anxiety, I appreciate the realistic approach to the subject matter.
Zoe suffers from severe social anxiety, and its sudden onset obliterates the life she was living, resulting in her inability to leave the safety of her home. It’s so heart-breaking but what makes it so much worse, is that Zoe has barely begun her life. She is a teenager with a vibrant personality, who has dreams, and a life to live. She barely knows who she is, and now she’s too terrified of everything to find out. That is until Jackson.
Now this is where it gets a bit tricky. I want to be very clear in stating that Jackson, or having a first serious boyfriend is not what magically cures Zoe. He is a catalyst for her for sure, but not the cure. Her desire to reclaim her life is powerful and her feelings for him, provide the motivation to get better. Along, with her love of her family, her yearning for a ‘normal’ life, and her dreams of becoming the person she longs to be. I hate books where the crush or new object of affection, magically cures whatever problems the MC has. It’s a terrible trope, particularly when talking about a serious mental disorder, and it’s NOT REALISTIC!
My point is, Zoe needs to get better on her own terms, and that’s what she sets out to do.
I really enjoyed this story. I loved the characters, especially Zoe’s sassy sister! But my favourite thing about this story is the ending. How Zoe’s recovery comes about. This book has all kinds of feels too. It’s funny, sad, heart-warming, and inspirational.
If you enjoy contemporary YA with a little more substance, you will like this one. I know I did!