Paper Things

Paper Things 

Release Date: February 10, 2015
Audience:  12 and up 

The Story 

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. So when nineteen-year-old Gage decides he can no longer live with their bossy guardian, Janna, Ari knows she has to go with him. But it’s been two months, and Gage still hasn’t found them an apartment. He and Ari have been "couch surfing," staying with Gage’s friend in a tiny apartment, crashing with Gage’s girlfriend and two roommates, and if necessary, 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 with her schoolwork, never mind her friendships, and getting into Carter starts to seem impossible. Will Ari be forced to break one of her promises to Mama? Told in an open, authentic voice, this nuanced story of hiding in plain sight may have readers thinking about homelessness in a whole new way.

Story from Goodreads 

Book Trailer


I really enjoyed how this book addresses what it is like to be homeless.  I think it will make many stop and be thankful for the little things like food, a shower, and a safe place to sleep. I think it could also stir up some discussion on how homeless people are portrayed too.  


When I got done with this book, I was so frustrated. All Ari had to do was call her guardian to get out of this situation. Why did Ari's guardian just let her go with her brother?  There wasn't a situation that made them leave other than her brother didn't like his guardian. It just didn't feel real to me. 

 It would have been more real if Ari's mom or guardian  lost her job, couldn't pay for her rent, and got kicked out of their home and the family ended up homeless. This happens more than we like to think. The plot of this story was just too over the top for me personally, but I do think that middle grade readers who enjoy problem novels may enjoy this one. I also think it could be a favorite for teachers and I could see it possibly making some state nominee lists.

Overall, despite my frustration, Ari has stuck with me and I did really appreciate this novel. It made me rethink my life and be thankful for the little things that I have. It also made me rethink how as a society we handle the homeless situation, and how I can help. Perhaps I was just too wrapped up in the character Ari.

Have you read it? What did you think?


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