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The Paper & Hearts Society

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A brand new series from Booktuber Lucy Powrie - about what happens when you give up on trying to fit in and let your weird out! It's time to join The Paper & Hearts Society ... 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 A brand new series from Booktuber Lucy Powrie - about what happens when you give up on trying to fit in and let your weird out! It's time to join The Paper & Hearts Society ... 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? Perfect for fans of Holly Smale and Super Awkward.


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A brand new series from Booktuber Lucy Powrie - about what happens when you give up on trying to fit in and let your weird out! It's time to join The Paper & Hearts Society ... 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 A brand new series from Booktuber Lucy Powrie - about what happens when you give up on trying to fit in and let your weird out! It's time to join The Paper & Hearts Society ... 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? Perfect for fans of Holly Smale and Super Awkward.

30 review for The Paper & Hearts Society

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Powrie

    This is my book! I wrote a book! It's REAL! The Paper & Hearts Society is the first book in a new series for teenagers (11+) about finding your people, not being afraid to be your true self, and speaking loud and proud about what you're passionate about. It's about being bookish, understanding your mental health, and the effects social media can have on us, and it's the book of my heart. The main character is Tabby, who is fifteen years old and has just moved to a new town in the south of Eng This is my book! I wrote a book! It's REAL! The Paper & Hearts Society is the first book in a new series for teenagers (11+) about finding your people, not being afraid to be your true self, and speaking loud and proud about what you're passionate about. It's about being bookish, understanding your mental health, and the effects social media can have on us, and it's the book of my heart. The main character is Tabby, who is fifteen years old and has just moved to a new town in the south of England, where she knows nobody and has to put up with her Gran, who loves OAP Zumba and using "The Facebook". When Tabby finds a leaflet for a book club run by teenagers at the local library, Gran convinces her to go along, but Tabby isn't sure. What if they don't like her? What if she makes a fool of herself? Plus, she doesn't think she really needs any more friends, not when Jess, a girl from her old school, won't leave her alone. But when she goes along to the first meeting of The Paper & Hearts Society, Tabby is surprised. Because there she meets Olivia, Cassie, Henry and Ed, four SUPER bookish teenagers who take her under their wing and teach Tabby how to live her best bookish life possible. There's a literary road trip around the UK, to locations like Bath, Stratford Upon Avon and the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, West Yorkshire, as well as Harry Potter movie marathons and Jane Austen dance parties. You might like The Paper & Hearts Society if you've enjoyed books like Geek Girl by Holly Smale or Super Awkward by Beth Garrod, or if you'd like to read more books about being bookish and geeky like Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl. I really hope you enjoy The Paper & Hearts Society as much as I enjoyed writing it! Happy reading!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ruby Granger

    If you follow my reviews, you will know that I am not flippant when it comes to distributing 5-star reviews, but I absolutely LOVED Lucy's first book! The Paper & Hearts Society is just the perfect book for bookworms, and should be read by anyone and everyone who is not (or is) ashamed to be a bit of a book nerd. The characters were complex and well-developed, especially Cassie, and I fell in love with Olivia's charisma and energy & Ed's sense of humour. Tabby's prior experiences with bu If you follow my reviews, you will know that I am not flippant when it comes to distributing 5-star reviews, but I absolutely LOVED Lucy's first book! The Paper & Hearts Society is just the perfect book for bookworms, and should be read by anyone and everyone who is not (or is) ashamed to be a bit of a book nerd. The characters were complex and well-developed, especially Cassie, and I fell in love with Olivia's charisma and energy & Ed's sense of humour. Tabby's prior experiences with bullying added an important layer to the novel, and I thought that the portrayal of such was well done. I have read a lot of anti-bullying fiction and non-fiction and the effect which it had had on Tabby was hugely relatable and realistic. Tabby's Anxiety was also handled sensitively and, again, realistically (it was actually the best portrayal of such that I have seen in YA literature). I can't wait to read more of the series!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alice Oseman

    This is such a sweet and joyful story about friendship and celebrating your passions (especially if your passion is books!) It explores anxiety and bullying and has a couple of very cute romances too. I can't wait to see more of these characters in the sequel! (especially Ed. He's my fave.)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lauren James

    [Gifted] A heartwarming, uplifting look at the power of friendship and the dangers of bullying online. Tabby stole my heart with her very realistic anxieties, worries and joy of books. A UK based summer road trip book that will make you desperate to make a book club of your very own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Yasmin

    I was lucky enough to get an early read of this and let me tell you, it is PHENOMENAL. Lucy has created just the most adorable group of book nerds that you just cannot help but fall in love with instantly. Tabby as a protagonist instantly gains our trust and empathy and we're rooting for her happiness from the get go. The friendship between the characters grows so naturally you don't even notice, but you simultaneously feel as you yourself are a member of the Paper and Hearts Society. The bookish I was lucky enough to get an early read of this and let me tell you, it is PHENOMENAL. Lucy has created just the most adorable group of book nerds that you just cannot help but fall in love with instantly. Tabby as a protagonist instantly gains our trust and empathy and we're rooting for her happiness from the get go. The friendship between the characters grows so naturally you don't even notice, but you simultaneously feel as you yourself are a member of the Paper and Hearts Society. The bookish feel in this is also A+++ and I so loved all the bookish references. I have to give an enormous shout out to the anxiety rep in this book, which is frankly one of the best I've ever seen. Having dealt with anxiety, and the feeling of being "other" myself, I felt so SEEN by this book. It made me tear up a little just at how accurate it was. One of my fave things though was that how within this group setting, each character manages to stand out as an individual, how they have their own storylines that you keep you intrigued just as much as their group adventure. I'm really looking forward to reading the following books in the series to get an insight into the other characters. I also have to mention how sort of TENSE it was. The antagonist's thread just kept building and building until I literally couldn't bring myself to read the last 60 odd pages because I knew shit was about to go down and I wanted to protect these lovable characters. This book covers so many important themes with such skill and nuance that I am in awe. Lucy's skill certainly shows in every single sentence and I just cannot WAIT for the world to read this book in June 🙌🏽

  6. 4 out of 5

    Clara

    4.5 ⭐ I feel like this book was written for my 15 years self, who was bullied at school, who didn’t yet know she was demisexual, who suffered from anxiety and depression alone, who only wished to have friends who would love to read as much as she did. Lucy wrote an amazing story which would have gave my 15 years old self hope for the future, and I can’t thank her enough for it. I believe this book could bring hope to any teen out there. 4.5 ⭐️ I feel like this book was written for my 15 years self, who was bullied at school, who didn’t yet know she was demisexual, who suffered from anxiety and depression alone, who only wished to have friends who would love to read as much as she did. Lucy wrote an amazing story which would have gave my 15 years old self hope for the future, and I can’t thank her enough for it. I believe this book could bring hope to any teen out there.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Beth, BooksNest

    It is not often that a book makes me cry, and I didn’t expect it of this one, but cry I did. This book was so real and kept true to teenage life, the ups and the downs. It captured me and brought me back to the times where I learnt to become who I am today. It is very tough to be in your teen years, there is a lot going on, The Paper & Hearts Society doesn’t shy away from this. Lucy doesn’t try to glamorise the moments of our youth, she writes them as they are and creates believable and lova It is not often that a book makes me cry, and I didn’t expect it of this one, but cry I did. This book was so real and kept true to teenage life, the ups and the downs. It captured me and brought me back to the times where I learnt to become who I am today. It is very tough to be in your teen years, there is a lot going on, The Paper & Hearts Society doesn’t shy away from this. Lucy doesn’t try to glamorise the moments of our youth, she writes them as they are and creates believable and lovable, but more importantly real characters. Tabby is the main character, entering into a circle of new friends when she joins The Paper & Hearts Society book club. She’s nervous, she has anxiety and her self confidence is low. Basically, she depicts exactly the feeling you get when you have to walk into a new group of people, most of whom are already friends, and say hello. It is daunting and terrifying, it is also awkward, but that is okay, because it takes time for it to become normal.  I think Tabby was written extremely well as a character with all of these worries. She was very relatable and very innocent, which made me sad about some of the events in the book that befell her. She is surrounded by Olivia, Cassie, Ed and Henry, a group of best friends who are in the book club with her. They each offer a different personality; with Olivia being energetic and excitable, Cassie being much more private and guarded, Ed being open and cheerful and Henry being quiet and kind. I love the dynamics of this group and how they all fit together, another example of how, in the real world, not every one of your friends has your exact set of interests.   I could definitely see where the plot was going with this one, but it was written so well that I didn’t mind knowing how it would end up. I loved the journey of this book and the style of writing. The mention of YA books was really great too, I loved seeing their cameos appear and spotting the titles of books I recognised.  In the middle of this book, the characters visit Bath and I got very excited. I live near to Bath and knew every place the characters were talking about. It’s not often I can associate so closely with the setting of a book, but I really did feel as though I was there with the characters. I had a grin on my face the whole time they were exploring this beautifully bookish city. My final shout out of praise to this book is the mention of demisexuality. Never have I read a book before that mentions this term, most people seem to not even have heard of it. When I read this I had to text Lucy and thank her for including a wider range of the LGBT spectrum in her book. Any form of sexuality was normalised in this book, and apart from demisexual, it didn’t need to be highlighted and made a big thing of. I’m excited to see more and more books being written like this, finally normalising sexuality for all ages in literature.  Praise to Lucy Powrie for writing a superb book that really captured my heart. 

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stacey (prettybooks)

    I was in a really bad reading slump at the beginning of the year. You know, the kind where you watch Netflix, scroll through Twitter, or do nothing at all, instead of picking up a book. Lucy kindly offered to send me her book, The Paper & Hearts Society, to help – and it worked! Continue reading this review over on Pretty Books. #gifted: Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book for free in exchange for an honest review!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lea ♞ That_Bookdragon

    3/5 ⭐ Overall, I would say this book was enjoyable although it felt as if it was Middle Grade at times, not YA. What I enjoyed the most was the nerdiness of the characters and I could definitely relate to them most of the time. As a group, they were all really cute but to be very honest, they didn't feel like they were between 15-17... They felt more like 12-13 to me, but that's probably only me. Moreover, even though she is going through horrible things that nobody should have to get through, sh 3/5 ⭐ Overall, I would say this book was enjoyable although it felt as if it was Middle Grade at times, not YA. What I enjoyed the most was the nerdiness of the characters and I could definitely relate to them most of the time. As a group, they were all really cute but to be very honest, they didn't feel like they were between 15-17... They felt more like 12-13 to me, but that's probably only me. Moreover, even though she is going through horrible things that nobody should have to get through, she felt a bit flat for me. I could definitely relate to her anxiety, but the way she acted around others did not feel very genuine to me. I also wish the bully could have been punished in some ways, that was a lacking element for this story. However, I think this book is a very promising debut novel. Lucy Powrie is a good writer and she has a lot of potential. I think I will pick up her next book because the overall fluffy atmosphere did lift up my spirits. My Bookstagram

  10. 4 out of 5

    Martha

    This book has just blown me away in a matter of hours! I went into it expecting a cute fluffy book themed contemporary, and yes it delivered that but with SO MUCH MORE. Tabby as a character is just so well written and honest. I truly felt you could understand all of her reasoning and motives, even when they were to flawed. Also the representation of Tabby's mental health was so so so well done. She experiences anxiety (often relating to her past (ie the WORST person in the world)) and panic attack This book has just blown me away in a matter of hours! I went into it expecting a cute fluffy book themed contemporary, and yes it delivered that but with SO MUCH MORE. Tabby as a character is just so well written and honest. I truly felt you could understand all of her reasoning and motives, even when they were to flawed. Also the representation of Tabby's mental health was so so so well done. She experiences anxiety (often relating to her past (ie the WORST person in the world)) and panic attacks, and the way in which the author shows her thought spirals is so brilliantly done and truly reminded me of my own head at times. Yes, I will admit the *big dramatic moment* was predictable but it didn't matter in this book as it was handled so differently from in other stories. Basically- everyone needs to add this to their TBRs for June. And I somehow need to wait who-knows-how-long for the next book 😭 (I was lucky enough to pick up a proof of this at my job at Waterstones, my thoughts are all my own!)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cora Tea Party Princess

    5 Words: Family, friendship, books, self-discovery, bullying. This. Book. I first read The Paper & Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie back in April when BKMRK kindly sent me a review copy. Then pretty much as soon as it was first spotted in the wild in June I read it again, this time armed with a pencil for underlining and annotations. As much as I loved Tabby, the main character, I related so much with Olivia that she is definitely my favourite. It was astounding to see myself so clearly in a book, 5 Words: Family, friendship, books, self-discovery, bullying. This. Book. I first read The Paper & Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie back in April when BKMRK kindly sent me a review copy. Then pretty much as soon as it was first spotted in the wild in June I read it again, this time armed with a pencil for underlining and annotations. As much as I loved Tabby, the main character, I related so much with Olivia that she is definitely my favourite. It was astounding to see myself so clearly in a book, in a side character so fleshed out that they came to life. I saw me - I was represented. It was a shock to me how much I felt seen. I think one of my favourite things about The Paper & Hearts Society was how it was packed with a huge love for books. I loved spotting books that I'd read, bumping books up my existing TBR, and adding books I hadn't heard of. Check back on Saturday for my own Paper & Hearts Society summer reading list, inspired by the books that the characters discuss. I really liked the conflict in this book - it was so natural and so real. The friendship group came to life to such an extent that I almost forgot they were characters in a book, and every interaction between them was natural. I loved the road trip, how it was another factor in the changing dynamics of the group. And all of the destinations were already on my literary travel bucket list, so it was great to see them come alive. It made me wonder how the Paper & Hearts Society would react to Barter Books and Alnwick Castle - they should definitely head up North and do a flying lesson at Hogwarts. The Paper & Hearts Society is one of those books that lifts you up, and it's fast becoming a self-care reread book for me. Read it, pre-order the next one, reread it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    catriona (reads)

    I smiled the whole way through

  13. 5 out of 5

    zaheerah

    *I received a copy via the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.* A young teen moved to a new town and discovered a book club that pushes her out of her comfort zone. Honestly, this was a little disappointing, considering how positive the reviews were for this book. I really wanted to love this book, but this book was just not for me. This is a story I would say good in concept, but the execution was so bland. I have no issues with *I received a copy via the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.* A young teen moved to a new town and discovered a book club that pushes her out of her comfort zone. Honestly, this was a little disappointing, considering how positive the reviews were for this book. I really wanted to love this book, but this book was just not for me. This is a story I would say good in concept, but the execution was so bland. I have no issues with references to certain things, but this book really overdid it with the book mentions. Like I genuinely thought this book would’ve collapsed on itself if it didn’t mention another book. Yes, this is a book about a book club. But the way it was written was definitely meant to namedrop. A majority of the book is: Tabby/ Anyone else: Oh, wow. I love [book title] by [author]! Spends a couple of lines on how great it is. And that’s it. A lot of the books mentioned were prevalent Young Adult/ Contemporary novels. I understood wanting to celebrate UKYA, but I found myself rolling my eyes a lot of it because it was so just so cringey. I also found the characters to be quite snobby at some points. And a lot of them act as if reading is such a weird thing that makes them different. Like, you know when people say “Am I the only one who does [something that everyone does]” Tabby and some of the others all tends to give off that similar vibe, and it was just a little frustrating. I’ve never watched a video of hers, but from work I’ve seen, but I can definitely see how her own reading taste has influenced this book. You can see how this book is very constructed toward Powrie’s reading taste. It’s not a bad thing, nor am I calling her taste terrible, but I just know this is a book club I wouldn’t be joining. When Tabby’s not in the club, she’s dealing with personal issues. She has moved away from her old town, but that doesn’t stop her past from following her. I found this part of the book much better and far more interesting to read than the activities of the book club. This is where the book doesn’t fail; in my opinion, it’s rather uplifting when we can see how the book club helps Tabby. And it also showcases the danger of online bullying and toxic friendship. Overall, I wouldn’t say this is full on terrible book. Out of the youtube bunch, it’s actually one of the better ones. But Paper & Heart’s biggest downfall was that it was trying way too hard to be a great book WITH fantastic references to other contemporary novels when it could’ve just been a great book. I don’t plan on continuing this series.

  14. 5 out of 5

    ThatBookGal

    The Paper & Hearts Society is basically a love letter to the bookish community and book lovers everywhere. Filled to the brim with references to fandoms across various genres, I found it utterly charming. Reading Lucy's author letter about the book, I just relate so hard to that difficult time around GCSE's, and so knew that I would going to find some powerful connections in her book. The characters, in particular the boys, were genuine and I just want to sign up instantly to be the 6th memb The Paper & Hearts Society is basically a love letter to the bookish community and book lovers everywhere. Filled to the brim with references to fandoms across various genres, I found it utterly charming. Reading Lucy's author letter about the book, I just relate so hard to that difficult time around GCSE's, and so knew that I would going to find some powerful connections in her book. The characters, in particular the boys, were genuine and I just want to sign up instantly to be the 6th member of the gang (luckily I have my society badge all ready ;) ). Tabby could so easily be me, navigating anxiety as a teenager is utterly exhausting, particularly when you have also been bullied, and the message of 'you're not alone and you're not weird' is an absolute critical one that just screams out from every one of these pages. The friendship between the gang was wonderful, and the way they helped each other over their various obstacles was just super sweet. This was without a doubt YA at its finest, unlike many books recently that blur the lines of whether it can truly be considered for teens. I felt like you could tell that Lucy is on the younger side as she wrote this, and that (aside from making me insanely jealous of her talent at such a young age) was a bonus because you got a true picture of British teens, as opposed to adults trying to remember when they were teens. I devoured this book, basically in one sitting, and I'm sure it'll be one thats going to become much loved by the Bookstagram and Book Blogger community.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Oda Renate

    What a fantastic read. Emotional, swoony, fun, funny. Great rep. Fun references.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chiara

    Too juvenile and predictable for me.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Annabel

    I loved this book so much. I wish I had such an amazing group of friends when I grew up. And I now want to take a literary road trip so who's with me?!

  18. 4 out of 5

    gem

    This book is so cute and happy and feel good! It’s perfect for fans of Alice Oseman and Chloe Coles, this is the ultimate love letter to book fans. I loved the friendships, and the book club was great. I was never in a Bookclub, but my best friend and I used to raid our local library for all the latest sweet valley books and spend our pocket money buying them all, so I know the sheer joy of spending your time doing nothing but talking about books as a teenager. (I still do that now but knowing I c This book is so cute and happy and feel good! It’s perfect for fans of Alice Oseman and Chloe Coles, this is the ultimate love letter to book fans. I loved the friendships, and the book club was great. I was never in a Bookclub, but my best friend and I used to raid our local library for all the latest sweet valley books and spend our pocket money buying them all, so I know the sheer joy of spending your time doing nothing but talking about books as a teenager. (I still do that now but knowing I could go into school to talk about the latest book was ace!) Tabby was such a believable character, she feels like someone I would really want to be friends with. I love the idea of a literary road trip so much! My favourite bookish place is Barter Books in Alnwick, I can imagine Tabby and her friends going there and loving it just as much as I do. Or Hay on Wye. I can’t wait to find out what they get up to next. :) Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Natasha

    Disclaimer: I receive a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. “It is a truth universally acknowledged that any book lover in want of a good book will always find one in a library.” If you are in need for a quick read light read, this book is a must to pick up. It's a story about friendship, anxiety, bullying, finding yourself, fitting in and coming of age basically. I think all of us at some point in our life, mostly in our teens where we feel lost. We don't know who we are or what Disclaimer: I receive a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. “It is a truth universally acknowledged that any book lover in want of a good book will always find one in a library.” If you are in need for a quick read light read, this book is a must to pick up. It's a story about friendship, anxiety, bullying, finding yourself, fitting in and coming of age basically. I think all of us at some point in our life, mostly in our teens where we feel lost. We don't know who we are or what we want to be, the types of friends we have or the people we socialize with and I think it's okay for us to feel lost at that point in our life. I think we also need to realize that it's okay when we come to a decision in our life where we decide for ourselves what to keep and what to let go. It's okay to not be friends with everyone, its okay to not like what others like, as long as we respect each other, be kind to one another and at the end of the day you feel safe, comfortable and happy. This book is funny, what is there not to like to discuss books when we already love books. Each characters has their own personality and problems that fits together to help one another. I enjoyed the read, can't wait to see how the series will continue.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Veronika

    This is breaking my heart, but I didn't really love this book. But it was still a wonderful read and I enjoyed reading it. The book is about a new girl in town joining a book club, while dealing with some demons from her past. It was a love letter to all things bookish. It dealt with some important topics and it was really lovely and cute. I adored all the literary references and book recommendations. My copy is now full of post-its with the books I need to read. I am dead jealous that I am not This is breaking my heart, but I didn't really love this book. But it was still a wonderful read and I enjoyed reading it. The book is about a new girl in town joining a book club, while dealing with some demons from her past. It was a love letter to all things bookish. It dealt with some important topics and it was really lovely and cute. I adored all the literary references and book recommendations. My copy is now full of post-its with the books I need to read. I am dead jealous that I am not a member of this book club or best friends with this amazing group of people. But it all felt a little flat for me, the plot, the characters, nothing but the literary references stood up. I hate it when the main conflict resides in miscommunication, when all that it needs is just for one character to say something, and he/she chooses not to. It is so infuriating! But if I forget about that, the book brought me warm feelings and I felt happy while reading it. I know I am really tiny minority with three stars here, so don't mind me and definitely read it for yourself, it was indeed very lovely.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rosanna Threakall

    A book for book fans. A lovely read that feels comfy. I love Ed!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bookread2day

    I really enjoyed reading The Paper & Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie, now I’m even more excited as author Lucy Powrie can’t wait to write more adventures for The Paper & Hearts Society, that’s awesome, I can’t wait to read another adventure. I have much more of my review on my blog site. www.bookread2day.wordpress.com

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ben Babcock

    Let’s start with this: The Paper & Hearts Society is the kind of book I would have definitely loved as a teenager. Lucy Powrie combines her love of contemporary young adult fiction and classics with a captivating story of moving on from fractured friendships and bullying to create a great story brimming with allusions. Tabby Brown is a fifteen-year-old book nerd moving to a new town over the summer. Somewhat introverted and anxious, Tabby isn't all that interested in exploring her new home; Let’s start with this: The Paper & Hearts Society is the kind of book I would have definitely loved as a teenager. Lucy Powrie combines her love of contemporary young adult fiction and classics with a captivating story of moving on from fractured friendships and bullying to create a great story brimming with allusions. Tabby Brown is a fifteen-year-old book nerd moving to a new town over the summer. Somewhat introverted and anxious, Tabby isn't all that interested in exploring her new home; she’d rather stay at her Gran’s and read a book. Nevertheless, she falls in with an existing friend group, who've formed a book club. But she’s also being cyberbullied by a former friend. And so on one hand, Tabby has finally found some amazing bookish people to hang with—on the other hand, her entire world and ego are under psychic assault. It’s hard, though, to open up to people you’ve just met, even if you’re feeling a very real connection. I mention above I would have loved this as a teenager. That’s not to imply I don’t love it now. However, the older I get the more I find myself having to consider YA novels from that perspective: what would teenage me have thought? The ironic thing is that teenage me didn’t read much YA. Diana Wynne-Jones looms large in the memory, and of course there was Harry Potter and Eragon, but let me tell you young whipper-snappers: you are so incredibly lucky with the boom in fantasy YA these days. It’s phenomenal. Anyway, The Paper & Hearts Society isn’t fantasy, but that’s fine. It’s about a protagonist who loves books almost as much as breathing, and I can identify with that. Yes, there’s some kissing and romance in here (ew), so it wasn’t all fun, but I can overlook that because of how much I enjoyed spending time with Tabby and her new friends. Powrie captures the anxiety of trying to fit into a group that has already formed: that initial breathless apprehension and second-guessing; the weird way your clever book-soaked brain turns you into a sassy mofo, and you suddenly have an out of body experience where you're watching yourself and asking, “Who am I? This isn’t how I act around people!”; the strange twin sensations in your gut of butterflies because you’ve found people you enjoy spending time with and butterflies because oh-my-god-socializing-oh-my-god. It’s the kind of paradox that, at 29, I am all too familiar with, yet at 15, I expect Tabby is still unravelling about herself. As someone twice Tabby’s age (ugh it sounds so weird to say that), it’s tempting for me to dismiss some of her concerns, especially around the cyberbullying. It’s definitely true that some adults forget what it’s like to be a teenager, and the relentless change in our society—particularly how we communicate—doesn’t help. When I was in high school, cyberbullying was definitely A Thing. We had MySpace and I think a thing called Friendster (can you tell how much time I spent on social media pre–Twitter and pre–Goodreads?) but we didn’t have smartphones, just the way cooler flip phones. So cyberbullying happened at desks in front of computer monitors, not on phones in our pockets. For anyone who isn’t using social media the way teens do right now, it can be difficult to comprehend what cyberbullying feels like on those platforms. Powrie’s portrayal is accurate (as far as I can tell), particularly in the underhanded ways in which the Jess manipulates Tabby. There’s a certain savviness required for these actions, or to debunk and defuse them as Ed and Cassie both attempt to do in their own ways. One of my favourite moments of the story is when Tabby’s dad suggests she invite Jess to stay with them once they’ve settled into their new home. This delightful ironic ignorance is so emblematic of well-meaning, loving parents who nevertheless just don’t get it. So while it’s worth asking why Tabby struggles so much asking for help with her situation, a little soul-searching by the reader should hopefully furnish the answer. Dealing with these kinds of conflicts is very scary, especially when you mix it with trying to make new friends. And oh wow do Tabby’s new friends come on strong. I love that Powrie lampshades this a few times, particularly through Henry when setting him up as the sensitive kind of guy for whom Tabby feels something. Indeed, each of Tabby’s four new friends has an interesting and distinct personality, both in person and in the group chats we get to read. They are all enjoyable and annoying, in my opinion, to some extent. (Shout-out, as well, to a deserving fifth “friend” in the form of Tabby’s Gran, Nancy, who also has a well-rounded personality.) I loved how hostile Cassie was to Tabby at first. It felt quite authentic, the idea that not everyone in the group would be happy with a new person jumping in, and especially how it’s related to other stresses in Cassie’s life. That being said, the one-on-one interactions between Tabby and each of the other friends were some of the least satisfying parts of the book for me. As much as I applaud Ed for sitting Tabby down in the bookstore, listening to her, and also explaining about Cassie’s situation, it felt like a bit of an awkward infodump—especially when Cassie then goes and repeats it to Tabby later, since she doesn’t know Tabby knows. Aside from those interactions, however, The Paper & Hearts Society is remarkably streamlined in terms of its plot. Powrie keeps us on our toes, never letting us get too comfortable either with the format of the book club itself or Tabby’s relationships with the other members. Both of these elements evolve continuously throughout the book, as they should. I really didn’t want to put this down, but at the advanced old age of 29 I have a lot more trouble staying up all night than I did as a teenager—don’t feel too bad for me though, because picking it up the next day meant I could finish it in the sun on my deck. In the end, there’s just the right amount of realness to The Paper & Hearts Society, if you know what I mean. It speaks to me, both present!me and teenage!me, in its characterization and the issues and interests it embraces. Maybe it’s an indulgence, but I just love books about books—it’s meta and totally related to my interests. I’m also quite pleased to hear that there’s a sequel in the works with Olivia as the principal protagonist. Her demisexuality, the casualness with which it was revealed to Tabby, the use of so many good terms in that conversation (including asexuality) and the acknowledgement of the spectrum was so heartening, as someone who is pretty confidently aromantic/asexual, to read. Although Olivia is much more of a people person than either myself or Tabby, I’m still excited to see what’s in store for her story.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Vicky (What Vicky Read)

    Such a cute story. I flew through this one and just loved how involved books were throughout. I can’t wait for the second book already!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Adventures of a Bookworm

    Where do I even begin? Do I start talking about Bath or Haworth? Tabby or Livs? Jane Austen parties or Harry Potter movies marathon? Anxiety in YA? I don’t know where to start. This book is more than just an ode to literature, it’s a story that consists the meaning to experience the different types of love, to a partner, an author, a friend, and so many more. I read this book in one setting, three hours and a half, sitting on my bed staring at the pages and going on a whirlwind of adventure(s). A Where do I even begin? Do I start talking about Bath or Haworth? Tabby or Livs? Jane Austen parties or Harry Potter movies marathon? Anxiety in YA? I don’t know where to start. This book is more than just an ode to literature, it’s a story that consists the meaning to experience the different types of love, to a partner, an author, a friend, and so many more. I read this book in one setting, three hours and a half, sitting on my bed staring at the pages and going on a whirlwind of adventure(s). At first, I couldn’t get through the first 100 pages, Lucy’s voice is so distinct and her exploration and description of what it feels like to have someone that you cared for so deeply in the past, is the cause of anxiety and panic attacks, and that’s something that I’ve experienced and still do. It was hard but at the same time it was great. And I had to keep reading. The more I read, the more I knew about tabby. The more I knew myself. “It made me feel worthless, and the more worthless I felt, the more I wanted to be worth something” I have cried at least four times throughout the book, and on several occasions found myself gasping for air. Lucy Powrie managed to capture the hardship of being a teenager. More so, being Tabby (main character), whose an introvert dealing with anxiety, panic attacks, and low self esteem. With reading about five people who are all entwined and connected by the same thing, The Paper & Hearts Society, you get a vivid picture of each and every character. Livs (Olivia) being the fun and energetic one, Cassie being the reserved one, Ed the best friend anyone could ask for, and Henry the thoughtful kid and the love interest. And now onto the last bit, the appearances of YA titles and literary locations. It was an immense fun seeing references of books like Unconventional, Loneliest Girl in the Universe, and so many more. Bath. Bath. Bath. Bath is my favorite place on earth and just reading about it took me back to the place. I could see myself walking down the royal crescent and Sydney place, and it was one of my favorite parts of the book. The Brontë Parsonage Museum, oh my god. I’ve been there recently and I just love that place so much and being in Haworth again, was nothing short from amazing! The Paper & Hearts Society has climbed its away to my heart and my all time favorite list.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hannah (flippingchapters)

    4.5 2nd book for The Reading Rush down! I’m so happy that I decided to pick this one up for this readathon! Afterall, it’s a book about books! *insert a million smiles* it was just a pleasure to read and I love all the characters so much! Especially Tabby and the love interest hehe TW: bullying, panic attack and anxiety

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chloe

    More like 2.5 stars. Like I already said I think this book was slightly too juvenile for me, but I found it got better as it went on. It was a quick easy read but very predictable.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kate (beautifulbookland)

    I finished this about three months ago (oops) so I can't really remember much about the book, but I can remember enjoying it, so four stars it is.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Steph

    A brilliant bunch of characters (I am particularly fond of the boys, Ed and Henry), some lovely messages of friendship, bullying, family and dealing with all sorts of emotions. Chuck in a great main character and you’ve got a book lover’s book. Good work Lucy Powrie!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kate (Reading Through Infinity)

    I absolutely loved this! It was filled with hopeful, uplifting messages about friendship, books, and believing in yourself. Full review to come!

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