It’s the mid-1990s, and fifteen year-old Guernsey schoolgirls, Renée and Flo, are not really meant to be friends. Thoughtful, introspective and studious Flo couldn’t be more different to ambitious, extroverted and sexually curious Renée. But Renée and Flo are united by loneliness and their dysfunctional families, and an intense bond is formed. Although there are obstacles to their friendship (namely Flo’s jealous ex-best friend and Renée’s growing infatuation with Flo’s brother), fifteen is an age where anything can happen, where life stretches out before you, and when every betrayal feels like the end of the world. For Renée and Flo it is the time of their lives.
With graphic content and some scenes of a sexual nature, PAPER AEROPLANES is a gritty, poignant, often laugh-out-loud funny and powerful novel. It is an unforgettable snapshot of small-town adolescence and the heart-stopping power of female friendship.
This is the type of book every girl should read to know they are not alone in their experiences, and that every woman should read to remember what they fought through in their adolescence to become the person they are now. O’Porter’s writing is raw and emotional, and the fact that she was inspired by her own teenage journals just lends the book a real nugget of honesty that sets it apart from other books on similar subjects.
What’s lovely, as well, is the focus on a female friendship. Yes, romance is sprinkled throughout, and there are family issues that each character must cope with — but the real heart of Paper Airplanes is the bond between Renee and Flo. And this is oh-so-important for girls and women to remember: because as important as our romantic partners are, and as important as our family is — really strong, meaningful female friendships are also so critical. I don’t know where I’d be in this world with out my BFF — and Paper Airplanes just solidified her importance to me, while reading about the friendship between Renee and Flo.
Originally published in the UK last year, the U.S. edition is in stores now.