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…
|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||14 Years|
About the Author
Cindy lives at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and loves using Colorado towns and cities as inspiration for settings in her stories. She's the mother of three girls, who provide plenty of fodder for her YA novels.
Cindy writes speculative fiction and YA fiction, filled with a healthy dose of romance. You'll often find her hiking or listening to any number of playlists while she comes up with her next story idea. https://cindyrwilson.com/
Read an Excerpt
BlackKNIGHT: We've been playing chess for three months now.
Rogue2015: Very astute. Your turn.
BlackKNIGHT: That's a long time in the chess world. In fact, that's a long time in the real world.
Rogue2015: Thank you for pointing that out. Why don't you take your bishop out for a stroll? He can't hide back there all day.
BlackKNIGHT: He likes it back here. It's strategy. Three months, Rogue.
Rogue2015: Why do you keep saying that?
BlackKNIGHT: Because I think after that amount of time, I should know your real name.
Rogue2015: While you were busy reminiscing, I just won the game. Checkmate.
Rogue2015: I told you, you should have taken your bishop out.
BlackKNIGHT: I'll forgive you for beating me if you tell me your name.
Rogue2015: Double no. Do you want to play again or admit defeat?
BlackKNIGHT: I just want your name.CHAPTER 2
Zoe King. That's my name.
Sixty-two inches of seventeen-year-old female living on the thirtieth floor of the Safe Zone, otherwise known as my family's penthouse apartment. It gave me a view of approximately seven of Colorado's peaks over 14,000 feet — none of which I'd seen up close because I hadn't left my house for 392 days.
That's right. I was that kid. The one my parents weren't expecting. The younger sibling, the baby, the one who should have demanded all the attention and made my parents laugh. The one who should have taken the world by storm.
Instead, I built paper art in the study and pretended I cared about my sister's cheerleading squad. I pretended to watch my mother's YouTube videos as she addressed the world like they were all her closest friends. I pretended to want to see my grandparents when they came back from their visits to Japan with Hello Kitty purses, thinking my sister and I were still five years old. I pretended to be able to breathe as the world closed in on me.
When there were two kids in a family and one kid couldn't leave the house without her chest clamping tight in panic like a bear trap, then you really only had 1.5 kids because .5 of one kid was defective.
That was me. Living as half the person I wished I could be.
My therapist claimed it wasn't literal when statistics said the average American family had approximately 1.5 children. I told her, when she came to my house because I couldn't go to her, "Welcome to the average American family."CHAPTER 3
The mobile blood collection bus was parked outside of the Denver Public Library today. They handed out orange juice and chocolate chip cookies once you'd had your blood drawn, but I wasn't eligible until I turned eighteen, and I didn't have parental consent.
Dad wasn't likely to be awake this time of the morning, let alone capable of putting pen to paper to give me permission, so I continued on without juice or snacks, even though the gnawing hunger in my stomach wouldn't go away.
Some things in life are guaranteed, but food isn't one of them.
I walked past the strange rock sculpture that reminded me of a futuristic Stonehenge and around to the entrance of the library, where they had just opened the doors. It was usually the same group of people, most with backpacks or suitcases because they didn't have anywhere to stay during the day. Homeless.
I was more discreet and left my belongings in the trunk of my car. All except for my backpack.
Inside the library, I waved to the guard and went for the holds on the main floor first. I gathered my items from the shelf: an astronomy study guide, three CDs, two sci-fi novels, and a book on chess techniques, because Rogue2015 was kicking my ass.
Then I rode the escalator to the second floor and entered the non-fiction section. My usual spot by the window was open, and I dropped my backpack there before nodding at Dale. He stocked the shelves with a monotonous swish and thud, settling books into place as he had every Saturday for the past year.
He never said anything, only continued the swish-and-thud motion until he reached the end of the shelf. Then he'd walk over, deposit something on my table, and move on to the next aisle.
Today, it was an apple and a book. Free $ for College for Dummies. I glanced up, but he'd moved out of sight.
I was pretty sure Dale knew I was homeless — though not in the traditional sense. Not like those guys who sat at stairwells on the 16th Street Mall to collect what they could from business people as they rushed to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch, or scrounged for leftovers from the groups that stopped to play on the stone chessboards lining the street.
No, I was homeless in the sense that I'd lost everything that symbolized home for me. And the place I had left ... wasn't for me anymore. Dad and I had an agreement. I'd stay out of his hair if he'd let me continue to use his address and mailbox for important things like school and my cell phone bill. Basically so the state didn't shove me into a foster home.
Of course, I wasn't sure how much of that agreement Dad remembered, since he'd made it while working toward an epic high on heroin.
Being homeless was a small price to pay for the peace of uninterrupted sleep. For the consistency of quiet instead of yelling. For my own memories of Mom instead of Dad's.
I sat in the chair next to the window and ate my apple. Outside, I could see my favorite sculpture, one with far more whimsy than futuristic Stonehenge. This one was called Yearling — which was, incidentally, its actual name, not the one I'd given it: Horse on Chair.
It was a twenty-one-foot-high red chair with a tiny horse on it. You could read about the history of the sculpture, right here in the library, by the man who'd created it, but I preferred to think he'd been inspired by the lack of oxygen in our Mile High City and had chosen to build something fun in his air-deprived stupor.
I opened my backpack and shuffled around for my laptop, one I'd gotten secondhand from my friend Robert. I shoved aside the case with the toothbrush, toothpaste, and a bar of soap. I'd find an empty bathroom later and clean up.
My computer connected to the library's wifi, and I brought up Chess Challenge. The scoreboard appeared on the right, a running tally of how many matches each gamer had won. Rogue2015 was still at the top, with BlackKNIGHT settled at the number four position. Damn, that girl didn't give an inch.
I used to play with all sorts of other people, even people in other countries. But once Rogue and I started a running dialogue along with our matches, I rarely played anyone else. According to her profile, she was only a year younger than me. I had no idea where she lived, though, at present, her location said Justin Bieber's house. Last week it had been 1776, NYC. Despite her clear sense of humor, she played the game like her life depended on it and had a penchant for telling it like it was. I admired her focus.
I needed that same kind of focus for college. I knew where I was going, I had a plan, but anxiety filled me every time I realized how easily it could fall apart. I cringed every time I had to lie and write down my dad's address on scholarship applications even though I didn't live there. I only forced myself to go back to check the mail. But it was a choice I'd made over a year ago. No going back now, even though I'd had to lie on my college application, too.
And it wasn't just college stuff. I was lying to every single person in my life — except Rogue. She was the only one I could completely be myself with.
A message box popped up on my screen.
Rogue2015 has initiated a match with you. Would you like to play?
I smiled, feeling my shoulders relax. Right now, playing with Rogue was the best escape I could think of. I needed this. Someone who didn't judge me and someone I could tell my secrets to and never have to worry about the consequences. If I didn't have Rogue, I wouldn't have anyone I could really talk to.
I'd focus on college stuff later. I clicked the Yes box and studied the screen before making my first move. Two months until graduation, which meant I had plenty of time to work my way up the scoreboard.
That and line up a slew of other jobs for the summer so I could pay the college fees for my first semester. I had to do this. Otherwise, I wasn't just letting my mom down; I was losing my dream as well.CHAPTER 4
BlackKNIGHT: That wasn't your best move.
Rogue2015: You won't be saying that when it's checkmate.
BlackKNIGHT: So ... Rogue? Is that an XMen reference?
Rogue2015: You're stalling. It's your move.
BlackKNIGHT: You like comics, don't you?
Rogue2015: Your turn.
BlackKNIGHT: Don't you?
BlackKNIGHT: Comic lover and chess player. Cool. What other awesome things were you born to be?
Rogue2015: I was born to be a lot of things.
BlackKNIGHT: Like what?
Rogue2015: Maybe I didn't phrase that right. I meant I was born to be a person who does a lot of things.
BlackKNIGHT: Sounds like you already do.
Rogue2015: I wish that were real life. In real life ... I'm scared of almost everything. The computer is safe. Chess is safe. The real world? Not so much.
BlackKNIGHT: I get that. You can be yourself when you're anonymous, but in real life you have to answer to who you really are. And sometimes, that's the scariest thing of all.
Rogue2015: Exactly. Now, it's your turn.CHAPTER 5
It was Monday in the Safe Zone, which meant 12,222 steps around our apartment because I needed my exercise and then crappy math makeup homework from my online class before I got to finish creating Saturn.
Before I left my room, I studied the messages on the door of my closet. Red sticky notes went on top because they were the most urgent. Yellow went next, and then blue below that because water was at the bottom.
I wrote on a red sticky note, Remind Mom to get more paper, and stuck it on the top row of my closet door. I was almost out of red and brown, since I just finished making Mars. I'd need both for a few more planets, but especially brown once I got to the asteroid belt.
I left my room at 7:15 a.m. I walked past the door to my sister Mae's bedroom, through the gigantic living room, and toward the kitchen where I'd circle the island. Approximately 143 steps in one circuit through the apartment (passing by my study and my parents' bedroom), which meant close to 89 circuits to reach my goal.
Outside the huge bank of windows in the living room, it was a clear and sunny day. Warm for March. But my choice of leggings and a T-shirt worked for any weather because I wouldn't be going out today.
I glanced in the study as I passed, admiring my paper wall. It took me a week to make Mercury, forty-seven sheets of gray and white copy paper, folded just right to create the planet closest to the sun.
My footsteps slowed as I neared the kitchen again and heard voices. Mom and Mae. My stomach clenched when I heard my name.
Damn. Not going through the kitchen messed up my circuit. I checked my phone, which had an app that catalogued my steps, and walked by the bank of windows in the living room again before heading back to my bedroom.
They were talking about me. I knew it. Another pass through the living room.
My heart raced, even as Dr. Edwards's voice echoed in my head. It's not all about you.
But my next pass by the kitchen confirmed it.
"... but it's only two months away," Mae was saying. "What if she doesn't come?"
"She will," Mom answered, voice low.
My stomach clenched and nausea kicked in. Another circuit down the hall and then to the living room. They were definitely talking about me. Mae was graduating this year. In two months. Mae had school functions and events she invited me to all the time, and I hadn't gone to any of them since I was a sophomore — a whole year ago.
But this was graduation. A huge deal. And I'd already promised her I'd go. Sure, it was back at the beginning of the school year, when I thought I'd have a ton of time to get to where I needed to be. And sure, I figured it was far enough away I wouldn't have to deal with it for a while. But I'd promised.
Graduation. I swallowed, but my throat didn't want to be moistened. Hundreds of people I didn't know. My heart beat faster. Mae's friends. They'd wonder why I even came. They'd look at me the same way they looked at me when they visited our house. Like I was an alien. Like I didn't belong.
It made me want to vomit. Just like all those times Dad had made us star in his Car King commercials. All those eyes on me ... I did another circuit and stopped by my room to write another sticky note and slap it on my door. Remind Mom to get paper.
The next circuit, I wrote the same note and brought it to the study. I added it to the note board by the door, aligning it perfectly at the end of the row.
Mom and Mae were gone from the kitchen. They probably went somewhere else to talk about me. When I walked to my bedroom again, Mae appeared in the hallway with her backpack.
"See ya," she said. She wore her cheerleader uniform, a pleated skirt too cool and cheerful to be friends with my black yoga pants.
Mae made life seem so easy, and school was a breeze for her. Even homeschooling was a challenge for me, and it wasn't what I really wanted. At school, junior year waited for me like a prize I knew I'd never win. That, and maybe Mae's friend Jackson. The same one I used to watch play basketball, willing him to come sit with me on the bleachers and talk like he sometimes did.
I'd love to see him again. Instead, he was just another reminder of all the things I'd lost when I got trapped in my house.
Hadn't I said something to him once about living life to its fullest? And now look at me.
"You have practice after school today?" I asked.
"We have that new routine we're learning. I can help you with your math when I get home."
"I don't need help," I grumbled, though I did.
Just not Mae's help. I swore the answers magically popped into her head without any effort at all. She never had to show her work because it wasn't work for her to get the answers.
"Whatever," she answered, heading down the hall without even glancing back.
Yeah, she had definitely looked at me funny. She was mad at me.
Mom met me in the living room, barefoot, her shiny black hair already combed and styled. "Don't forget Dr. Price is coming today."
Therapist #6. Dr. Edwards asked if I wouldn't mind seeing someone else for the next few weeks, and I'd agreed even though I didn't think seeing another new therapist was going to help.
"Okay," I said to my mom. I wouldn't forget. It was on a yellow sticky note on my bedroom door. And the note board in the study. And my phone. "Mom?"
"When you go to the store, can you get some more paper?"
She ducked back into her bedroom, voice muffled when she said, "Sure, when I get a chance. I have to make a week's worth of freezer meals first."
I did another circuit, convinced Mom was mad at me, too. Hopefully she'd still get my paper, though.
Just to be safe, I wrote her a note. Because without my paper, what else did I have?
Mae's graduation. That's what I was supposed to be working toward. Not more paper planets. And that was the reason for my new therapist. To make progress. But having a new therapist just gave me one more thing to stress about. I'd have to start all over again with someone I didn't know, and someone who didn't understand how terrified the outside world made me. If I couldn't even meet a new therapist, how in the world was I supposed to be able to leave the house for graduation?CHAPTER 6
It sounded like a black hole in here. The washers and dryers made a whirring and whooshing noise that reminded me of those NASA videos I watched on YouTube. Sometimes I could picture myself way out there in space, away from everyone and everything, and I wondered if I'd even miss being here.
I closed my astronomy book when the cycle finished and stood to pull my clothes out of the dryer. This was my favorite laundromat. It was close to school and everywhere else I liked to go. Someone always left their old National Geographic magazines on the counter by the bulletin board. They were good late-night reading material when I hunched down in the back seat of my car and couldn't sleep.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Paper Girl"
Copyright © 2018 Cindy R. Wilson.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Fun romance! Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to read and review Paper Girl by Cindy R. Wilson! Zoe is home-schooled and Jackson is homeless and they play chess together online, not knowing each other’s true identities. Before things changed for Zoe, she talked to Jackson at a basketball game her sister was cheering at. Zoe and Jackson think about each other from before she was home-schooled but neither of them realize that. Since Zoe needs help with Math and Physics, her mother hires Jackson for tutoring and their relationship grows into more than just friendly acquaintances. They help each other deal with personal struggles, Zoe’s anxiety and Jackson’s relationship with his father. Paper Girl is therapeutic and a cute young adult romance, 5 stars! * I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary review consideration and all opinions and thoughts are my own.
4-1/2 Stars. I have a very good friend who suffers from agoraphobia and a daughter with social anxiety. I’ll admit I never really understood these feelings. I’m the opposite, a consummate extrovert who loves the hub of urban life and exploring everything the world has to offer. But PAPER GIRL takes me inside the life of Zoe, an agoraphobic who hasn’t left her home in over a year. Zoe was always more shy and reserved than her outgoing older sister, Mae, but before a series of events pushed her into seclusion, she lived a fairly normal life, attending Mae’s games and flirting with Mae’s friend, Jackson. After retreating into her home, she creates a haven of paper art that soothes her as well as occupies her time. Zoe is determined to return to some sort of a normal life, starting with attending her sister’s high school graduation. With the help of her therapist, she sets small goals for herself, including allowing herself to be tutored by Jackson, who has troubles of his own. Small victories and big steps backward combine to make Zoe’s journey one that is both realistic and relatable. Plot Told from dual points of view, there is one main plot, the romance between Zoe and Jackson, and two major subplots involving Zoe’s goal to re-enter life outside her home and Jackson’s relationship with his estranged father. The author throws enough roadblocks into both of their paths to keep things from ever getting too easy. The only thing I really wanted more of was uncertainty in their romance. There wasn’t any angst or doubt, nothing to really keep me turning the pages to make sure these two would end up together. The Characters I absolutely loved Zoe. She’s complex, smart, creative, funny, and just neurotic enough to be the perfect character to root for. I could feel her shame and horror when life infringed on her safe space. Watching her stretch the boundaries of that safety zone had me cheering for her every step of the way. Jackson was a little more pulled together, even though he’s homeless. His circumstances are as outside his control as Zoe’s are, but they’re environmental rather than emotional and mental. These two both overcome their own circumstances and situations to grow in believable ways. Top Five Things I Enjoyed About PAPER GIRL 1. Paper art. Colorful origami in three-dimensional space creates a solar system and galaxy that fills Zoe’s room and life. I would love to see it, because I’m not sure my imagination does it justice. 2. Mae. She is sympathetic as the older sister who loves Zoe and struggles with supporting her sister and longing for the life they used to have together outside their home. 3. Zoe’s mom. The Instagram and YouTube star who documents all the craftiness that is her life is both a supportive and understanding parent with some of the best lines in the book. 4. Jackson. He’s sweet, patient, and brilliant. He creates the perfect balance between supporting Zoe without being a crutch. 5. Zoe. She is fascinating, at times sarcastic, terrified, artistic, smart, and more all rolled into a tiny ball of determination. Bottom Line A wonderful young adult contemporary romance that examines how social anxiety can transform someone from the inside out. Disclaimer I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
‘Paper Girl’ is absolutely amazing. Let me say this first, so we all can hear it. Let me say it again. ‘Paper Girl’ is absolutely amazing. Why? The emotion, the fears that I can relate to, the need to be in control. Every teenager is scared of something, or feels like they are in the shadow of someone, or not good enough. Zoe and Jackson and Mae show everyone that not everyone is perfect, but that neither are the people you just assumed were. I loved the characters, the writing and the character development! This book is either going to take off or be the favourite of those few quiet people who will hold this book so close to them that they will feel broken when their copy falls to bits. But hey, maybe they can make something out of that amazing paper, a galaxy perhaps? I cannot express just how much I need you guys to read this. Lovers of Rainbow Rowell and John Green will love this.
Why You Should Read Paper Girl It talks about social anxiety. As someone who is familiar with social anxiety, I enjoyed how it was portrayed in the novel. Zoe would take small steps at the time in her struggle with social anxiety that resulted in agoraphobia. I loved how she wasn't magically cured from her anxiety. A strong family bound. Zoe's family was very supportive. Even though some of their reactions to her anxiety and agoraphobia - especially reactions from her older sister - were not the most correct, they were still there for Zoe. There's a cute fluffy romance. I loved how Zoe and Jackson always had a crush on each other. Although, Jackson's life had been harsh since after his mother passed away (his alcoholic father drove him out of home) he was always there for Zoe. May it be to tutor her (I completely understand Zoe's hate of Physics), help her deal with her social anxiety or to play chess - even if none of them knew who BlackKNIGHT and Rouge2015 were. And, even though Zoe lived in a "bubble", she was there for Jackson too, to help him rebuilt his relationship with his estranged father. Heartbreak. Life needs more fluffy reads with some crushing heartbreak. And, that's what you find in Paper Girl. Jackson's story is heartbreaking. Zoe's anxiety is heartbreaking (I hated how people made her feel she wasn't living her life and was losing all those great moments. That would only make her feel more anxious). These two go through such an emotional roller coaster, having to confront their past and feelings.There's a moment that all you want is for Zoe and Jackson is to find hope and happiness. Zoe's paper universe. Imagine a whole universe made of paper with all the planets, moons and stars and even Pluto, everyone's favourite dwarf planet.
I really quite enjoyed reading this story. The characters and the theme were really interesting. Chess, Math, Astronomy and being brave. I loved seeing the characters overcome their difficulties. Zoe and Jackson were the best, I loved the “chess chats.” I especially loved the art and imagery, it also helped that some settings in the story were written about real places. The description of Zoe’s room was amazing, I think it would be awesome to see it in real life. This book is perfect for teens. #Netgalley #Papergirl
I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion. 3.5 stars — This one left me with muddled thoughts and feelings, so rating it is a bit hard for me. I’m finding it hard to articulate how I feel, but I’m going to try…this is just your warning. Basically, I enjoyed myself, but I also wasn’t blown away. I think I expected the mental health aspects to play a stronger role, but the romance, strangely enough, was the highlight for me. So yeah. The thing about Zoe, and her anxiety (or agoraphobia?) is that we never really get a clear idea of what she’s suffering from. Which is not to say we don’t get any idea…there’s actually some really great descriptions of what she’s going through, how her panic attacks get triggered, what she’s afraid of. (And as an aside, can I just say that I appreciated that it wasn’t as a result of some great trauma, because I don’t think everyone who suffers from anxiety necessarily has a triggering event.) And we also see her new therapist talking about cognitive behavioral therapy a bit (like when she said they needed to help retrain her thinking), but other than that, there wasn’t a lot of depth there. Like, we never learn about her coping mechanisms, or any other steps she’s taking to help deal. I felt like we got just enough to have it be an integral part of Zoe, but not enough for me to feel like it could be influential for teens. I honestly can’t speak for whether this depiction, and the consequential development/healing journey was realistic or not. Honestly, it truly felt like we were working on a fictional timeline (ie things moved fairly quickly), and that can give unrealistic expectations to readers who might be suffering from the same thing. But honestly, I’m no expert…it’s just how I felt when I was finished. I guess I just wasn’t sure what I was going to get with the mental health side of this story, and I felt that in the end the way it was addressed was rather light. It was there, we saw aspects, but in some ways it was overshadowed by the romance for me. Now, I loved the romance, it was a total highlight for me, so woop woop for that, it’s just that I was surprised. Now saying all that, I appreciated that Zoe wasn’t magically healed by love, and understood that she needed to make the changes for her. So that was a bonus. Jackson was an interesting character, because unlike Zoe who wanted to get better but was just afraid, he seemed to be oblivious to his own issues and what he needed to do to fix them. I found that to be a fascinating twist, that he was just as screwed up as Zoe. And I felt like he still didn’t really confront all that was messed up about his choices to keep his homelessness a secret. I didn’t really get a nice resolution with his Dad…it was just sort of okay all of a sudden. I felt like I needed something more there. Like, did Jackson even learn anything in the end? Their romance was totally sweet though. I loved the way they moved from crushing to flirting to more…it was a believable transition, and I got a lot of sweet butterflies from it. Obviously I grew frustrated with both of them for wanting to help the other but not wanting to accept help themselves. And I was frustrated with Jackson for not respecting Zoe’s need to do things on her own…and I felt like I wasn’t sure Jackson ever understood why she needed that. So there were ups and downs in their relationship as well, but on the whole I just loved t
Zoe is a sixteen-year-old shut-in, while Jackson is seventeen and homeless. She never leaves her house, while he doesn’t even have a house. They are total opposites, but they find each other through an online chess game, where they tell each other their most intimate secrets, not thinking that they could ever meet. Little do they realize that they already know each other. What will happen when Jackson discovers Zoe’s secret identity? Can a relationship be built on lies? And what will happen when the truth eventually comes out? Will Zoe forgive Jackson? Will she ever be able to conquer her fears and live a life in the real world? These questions, and more, will be answered in this cute romance with serious undertones. The story is told from the points-of-view of Zoe and Jackson, interspersed with their online chess chats. They’re both extremely likable characters in heartbreaking situations. But you just can’t help but feel optimistic that these two damaged souls with help each other heal. I loved the part Gina plays in Zoe’s recovery, especially when we find out why she does what she does. Warnings: mental illness, alcoholism, drug abuse, child abuse. I received this book in return for an honest review. Full blog post (7 December): https://www.booksdirectonline.com/2018/12/paper-girl-by-cindy-r-wilson.html
This book was a real page-turner. Both of the characters were really developed in a way that you felt all of their pain and anxiousness. I know that I was rooting for both to figure out that the other was actually their anonymous chess partner online, but until they did, it was very interested to see just how much they'd share. Reading the descriptions of Zoe's paper galaxy made me want to actually see pictures of it. I did my best to picture them in my head, but I'm sure I had nothing anywhere close to what it actually should have been. Jackson's life was a hard one. It was very sad to read about him living in his car. But I guess even sadder is that there are actually kids probably doing that all the time. I was glad to see what happened with his dad went the way it did. Once in a while it is nice for there to be happy endings all around if possible. I loved Zoe's mother, she was such a fun character. Her sister Mae, definitely made me mad at times, but that was because she was so realistic, just like a real sister probably would be. I feel like this book did a great job with showcasing so many different types of issues that teens today might deal with, and it kept me reading and wishing and hoping for the HEA. This is one I will definitely put on my list of books to order for my library with budget money in the future.
meet zoe king: chess champion; origami master; sister to mae; completely and utterly afraid to leave her house. then there's jackson: homeless, but driven; smart about math and physics; wants to get a degree in astronomy; totally into zoe. when jackson is hired to be zoe's tutor, he's thrilled to finally have an in to talk to her. zoe, on the other hand, is trying not to have a panic attack. but jackson wants to help zoe. as he begins to get a fuller picture of her issues, he wants to assist her in overcoming them. and he does provide a lot of motivation for her. paper girl explores these really interesting characters in a really engaging way. i loved jackson and zoe. homeless and homebound, they should seem like total opposites, but they fit each other in just the right way. **paper girl will publish on december 4, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (entangled teen) in exchange for my honest review.
It has been quite some time since I have indulged in a contemporary YA novel, and this one was the PERFECT choice. Paper Girls is a poignant and beautiful story, one that had me engaged and, at times, dabbing my eyes, as I read this story about Zoe and Jackson. It is amazing how a book can be so relevant yet not high handed. Paper Girls is about finding yourself, being kind to yourself, and learning who you are in the face of impossible obstacles. It is filled with hard situations, unforgiving problems, and a world that is broken. But the beauty of this story is that human nature gives each person a choice: to rise above and overcome. Zoe was not what I was expecting. Her innocence is stunning because it is balanced by real issues. Nothing about her is contrived and who she was and the life she lead hit me right in the feels (so to speak). As someone who deals with anxiety, this story shares the realities and the fears so well. It sheds a light on the frustrations of everyone, those who struggle and those who love them. It was amazing to watch her fight for more and slide back, only to rally and take another step. Readers find themselves obligated to cheer this young girl on, knowing she is the true heroine of her story. Jackson was not what I expected. The more his character grew, the more you want to get in the ring and fight for him. The pure tenacity of this young man is so well represented in this story. He is lively and determined, despite the hardships he has faced and continues to face. Zoe and Jackson are drawn to each other, in a way that is wholly innocent and sweet. Their desire to support one another is selfless, and the realization that they alone can overcome their problems is profound. Cindy R Wilson, you are a genius. If all contemporary YA stories were like this, I would have new favorite genre. Paper Girls is a story that will touch your heart and leave you filled to the brim with hope, love, and perspective. This book is NOT to be missed!
4 Paper Stars! Review by Nancy Late Night Reviewer Up All Night w/ Books Blog Paper Girl by Cindy R. Wilson is an intriguing story about a young girl with agoraphobia and social anxiety as well as a young boy trying to make his mark on the world— even after the world keeps knocking him down. Captivating and authentic, this is a very enjoyable read. How do you deal with life when it becomes too much, too scary? Zoe hasn’t left her house in over a year and Jackson is living in his car because he can’t go home. Zoe has created her own world and has filled it with origami. It wasn’t until Jackson came into her life that she wanted more than to just exist in her room. They are both fighting battles that most teenagers aren’t even aware of. Both Zoe and Jackson find solace in playing chess online. They start an online relationship not knowing that they already know each other in person. Jackson and Zoe were so sweet together. I loved that the romance didn’t take over the book, it was just enough to make the story interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters as they developed in front of my eyes. I loved being able to follow their journey to self discovery and healing. The book was written in a way that just flowed. I was intrigued and wanted to keep reading. Definitely not the usual YA I read, but I found myself enjoying the story more and more as I continued to read.
Paper Girl” by Cindy R. Wilson was really nice young adult fiction. This book is about serious problems like anxiety, agoraphobia, homelessness, an addicted parent. This is not what the average teenager should be facing. But you must know that even in such dark circumstances there is always room for love. In this case, the first love that gives you wings, more faith in yourself and hopes for a happy ending. This book is pro therapy so I recommended it not only to regular YA fans but also to teenagers with agoraphobia and social anxiety problems.
Paper Girl by Cindy R. Wilson a five-star read that will rip you into pieces. What a book, I honestly didn’t expect this to be as amazing as it was, it had me in tears several times not just sad tears either. This was so nicely done, as we read Zoe’s story you will get drawn in and realise that everyone at some point in their lives could be a paper boy or girl, ripped apart so easily and at times pieced together again just as easy. This is a deep story but also at times comedically funny and so entertaining that you will love every page. When you read the description of the paper room and they are in such descriptive details that you can see the comets on the walls. This story will have you looking up origami and if you are anything like me trying to find easy pieces to try out. I hadn’t read anything by this author before, but I will be making sure to check anything she releases as I can’t get enough of this writing. If you have ever suffered from anxiety then this novel will speak to you, and if you know anyone with anxiety this will help you to understand them better, Cindy R. Wilson has a great talent for showing you the good, the bad and the beautiful of anxiety and how to deal with it.
3.5 stars "Paper Girl" is a sweet YA contemporary romance that follows Zoe (a.k.a Rogue2015) and Jackson (a.k.a BlackKNIGHT). They had interacted a couple years before, and it had changed their paths. Zoe had mentioned chess, and Jackson had mentioned astronomy. As a result, Zoe is making paper origami art of the solar system, and Jackson joined Chess Challenge online. They frequently play the other without knowing who the person is behind the screen name. In that time, both of their lives have changed. Zoe has severe social anxiety, which has led her to be house confined- she hasn't left the house in over a year. Even inside the house, she avoids other people unless she absolutely needs to interact with them. Her parents have hired therapists to come to the house to help her work on it. Jackson's mother died of a brain tumor and since then, his father's drug and alcohol abuse have gotten out of control. Two years before, he moved out of the house and just stops by for his mail and bills, so that social services won't put him in foster care. He lives in his car and spends most of his time at the library and Starbucks. He works odd jobs, like tutoring so that he can have money to pay for his cell phone and car insurance, and also to pay for college. Zoe has a goal of going to her sister's graduation. Jackson wants to make it to 18 and go to college fully paid with scholarships for which he is applying. Zoe would love to avoid everyone, even Jackson, the boy she has long had a crush on, but as she is failing math and physics, her mother has hired Jackson to tutor her. Cue the cute romance! Chapters are told with the conversations between them on Chess Challenge, then Zoe and then Jackson- a format that really works well. Their romance was very cute and the writing moves fast. However, I wish the social anxiety was addressed in a better way. Zoe's sister, Mae, tells her frequently to just get over it. Zoe accepts this- and seems to think her therapist would say the same. If so, her therapist is not really doing a great job. You wouldn't tell someone with cancer or another disease/illness to just get over it, so why would mental illness be any different? The therapy we see is minimal- I am assuming the idea is exposure therapy. However, the therapy sessions are maybe too brief, and we don't really see her help Zoe with coping techniques (what to do when a panic attack happens or strategies to revise her thinking). Considering the severity (hasn't left house in over a year), I would also expect some kind of medication to be necessary. Maybe Zoe is on medication, but none of this is mentioned in the book, so I am not sure. Instead, the therapist seems to help her set goals without giving her clear skills or anything to help accomplish them. I think it would have been a much stronger book if we could have seen how she gets the help and treatments she needs to accomplish the goals set for her (even if these were happening behind the scenes, bringing them to the foreground/having them be more explicit would be helpful). Overall, I think it was a cute romance, but I would have liked to have also seen some clearer treatment for Zoe that would aid her in accomplishing her goals. Jackson's story is also very sad, but it was less prominent in the book; I think it was handled OK, and I was glad Zoe talked to her parents (a good strategy for such an issue) even if that didn't help in the resolution. The pacing and writing was great and really
The idea of a story about Agoraphobia has always intrigued me and when I read the synopsis for Paper girl I knew I had to get my hands on it. I’m so glad it didn’t disappoint. Zoe is our paper girl. She likes crafting with paper and has made an out of this world solar system. She also likes playing chess. All her hobbies can be done in the home. In fact, everything she does can be done in the home. Zoe hasn’t left her house in over a year. Her anxiety has taken over her life. She is missing out on a normal life. She is homeschooled. Her sister desperately wants her to attend her graduation. Zoe wants to play online chess with Black knight and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist. Jackson is the top of his class. He’s a good kid and keeps his head down. After his Mum died, Jackson’s Dad lost control of his life. He started a downward spiral of alcohol and drugs. Jackson needed to get out of the situation and now lives in his car. He spends most of his days in the library when he’s not at school. His life isn’t perfect but he’s trying his best to get a college scholarship with maximum funding. He tutors for extra cash and plays online chess for fun. These two have lots in common but they are also opposites. Ones a math genius the other needs a tutor. Ones homeless the other never leaves her home. They both love chess and have taken up each other’s interests. They have two relationships. They know each other but they also have an anonymous online relationship. Both need to be brave and change their lives. This is a story of struggle but also romance. The story is intriguing and touching. This book for me was perfect. The story was something I wanted to read about and the author executed it beautifully. 5 stars out of 5. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.