Posted in 2015-2016 Club, Not Mock Newbery

Paper Things, by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

Summary:  When Ari’s mother died four years ago, she had two final wishes: that Ari and her older brother, Gage, would stay together always, and that Ari would go to Carter, the middle school for gifted students. He and Ari have been “couch surfing,” staying with friends and sneaking into a juvenile shelter to escape the cold Maine nights. But all of this jumping around makes it hard for Ari to keep up and getting into Carter starts to seem impossible. Will Ari be forced to break one of her promises to Mama?


Find it at WCPL


2 thoughts on “Paper Things, by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

  1. Paper Things is a moving book about the struggle a young girl and her brother go through as they deal with homelessness and the changes their situation causes.
    The characters in Paper Things were very well done. The main character, Ari, was especially well explained. Her choices in the book, her Paper Things, her thoughts, and her actions painted a very clear picture of the type of person she was, while not directly stating her personality. Also, one thing I loved was how in some passages the ideas were meant to be understood by the reader. I thought that because you were interpreting your own ideas and feelings from the passage, it felt as though you were going through what she was. For instance, when she stays at her brother’ s co-worker’s house, and their hosts are not welcoming, you derive a feeling of guilt and shame from the passage, and it feels like that feeling is your own. Although difficult to explain(I didn’t do a very good job..)this effect helps you to empathize with the characters, instead of just pitying them.
    The themes included looking for silver linings, the importance of feeling accepted, and friends and family are more important than material things.
    The setting painted a clear picture of the town they were in and contributed to the book. Although things like the streets and the homes and the school were not described a lot, things that were important to Ari, like her Paper Things, were thoroughly described. This also said a lot about her character.
    The Paper Things were also something great about this book. In the beginning, they are her perfect family, and she can play with the dolls to relieve herself from the pain of losing friends and family. However towards the end, although still important to her as part of her past, she relies less on them because she had found perfection in her own family.
    This was a fantastic book, and very well done. It filled all the criteria and I think that it will be a definite contender for Newbery.

  2. I half agree with Ellie and half disagree. She has already told the plot/storyline, so I won’t drag that out, but to me the book was one-dimensional – Not a Newbery winner to me. The characters seemed flat, and when I read it the whole thing actually kind of annoyed me… So overall this isn’t a winner. It could be a good read for 6th graders.

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