Featured Review: The Paper Girl of Paris (Jordyn Taylor)
About This Book:
Now: Sixteen-year-old Alice is spending the summer in Paris, but she isn’t there for pastries and walks along the Seine. When her grandmother passed away two months ago, she left Alice an apartment in France that no one knew existed. An apartment that has been locked for more than seventy years. Alice is determined to find out why the apartment was abandoned and why her grandmother never once mentioned the family she left behind when she moved to America after World War II. With the help of Paul, a charming Parisian student, she sets out to uncover the truth. However, the more time she spends digging through the mysteries of the past, the more she realizes there are secrets in the present that her family is still refusing to talk about. Then: Sixteen-year-old Adalyn doesn’t recognize Paris anymore. Everywhere she looks, there are Nazis, and every day brings a new horror of life under the Occupation. When she meets Luc, the dashing and enigmatic leader of a resistance group, Adalyn feels she finally has a chance to fight back. But keeping up the appearance of being a much-admired socialite while working to undermine the Nazis is more complicated than she could have imagined. As the war goes on, Adalyn finds herself having to make more and more compromises—to her safety, to her reputation, and to her relationships with the people she loves the most.
*Review Contributed By Elisha Jachetti Staff Reviewer*
THE PAPER GIRL OF PARIS by Jordyn Taylor is a new young adult novel that is both a contemporary and historical fiction. The story is told from two perspectives— Alice in present day and Adalyn during WW2, the link between them being Chloe Bonhomme, Alice’s late grandmother and Adalyn’s sister. Having never known much about her grandmother’s childhood, Alice is surprised when Chloe wills her a secret Parisian apartment. Now, on top of trying to understand her mother’s depression and her father’s denial, Alice is determined to figure out why Chloe hid her past. With the help of her new French friend, Paul, Alice searches her grandmother’s old apartment, which no one has been in since the 1940’s, and finds Adalyn’s diary. Paul aids in translating it, and the truth is more than Alice could have ever expected. In fact, it may be what heals not only Alice’s family, but those from Adalyn’s past too.
This story is absolutely heartbreaking and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I finished reading. The spirit of the book is so beautiful, and it’s made me consider how well I really know my own grandparents. In fact, it’s sparked multiple conversations, and I love when a work of fiction makes me think about life in a deeper and meaningful way. It also resonates strongly right now as it’s about human connections and the bonds between us, which some people may be strengthening or reexamining during this time of quarantine.
All the important questions are tied up by the end of the book, but I still have so many more. I want to know about Chloe Bonhomme. I want to know how she met the American soldier. I want to know about her zazou friends, and if she knew of her sister’s or her parents’ fate. When was she aware the apartment was hers? What made her keep it? How did she feel about Adalyn later in life? I understand that we, the readers, are made to share Alice’s experience, as she, too, probably wishes she could inquire about the same subjects, and in that way, the book is a perfect mirror to life. With that being said, I’d love to read a sequel, or prequel, to learn more about the woman who connected Alice and Adalyn. In the book, as it is, we don’t know too much about her character, since Adalyn kept a secret life from Chloe, and later Chloe kept her secrets from Alice.
With that being said, THE PAPER GIRL OF PARIS is an enchanting read set in an enchanting city with enchanting characters, surprising twists, and sweet romances. This book is a must-read for fans of ALEX & ELIZA and JOJO RABBIT.
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