I started out hating this book because of Michelle. I couldn’t fall in love with the story because she was there being a selfish, rude, immature, bitch.
And there is a story to love here. Paper Hearts deals with many issues that are tough to swallow. From bullying to rape, Michelle goes through some shit. And she deals with it all in the wrong way.
She puts this wall of bullshit up. A wall built on ignoring all authority figures. Mouthing off to people who are only trying to help her. She is the typical rebellious teenager, and it pissed me the hell off. (I honestly don’t think I was ever like that as a teenager. If I would have EVER mouthed off to my mom like that, I do believe she would have backhanded me or at least grounded me to my room. I don’t know. I guess we’re all raised differently). But Michelle and her mom are an entire different story that I will get to later.
Michele just does things for the hell of it. There is no filter from her brain to her mouth.
There is a particular scene where she is in a bathroom and a girl she does not know walks in. They acknowledge each other with a nod and that literally could have been the end of it. It’s not like the girl made any attempt to be rude. But Michelle says some smart ass off the wall comment and the girl asks the obvious question “why are you talking to me?”. Michelle comes back with another smartass comment and refers to this other girls make up as “whore paint” in her mind. Michelle, correct me if I’m wrong please, but is this not a form of bullying? Insulting people just for the hell of it? And on top of that, someone you don’t even know.
Anyways, that was around the halfway mark and I did not see my hate for Michelle and her mindless behavior lessening.
She gets these really sweet people in her life and she is constantly bitching to one of them and being completely rude to the other.
Nathaniel. Oh, my goodness. He has to be one of the best characters I have read about in 2013. He is such a gentle soul. I love him so much. And his grandma is a sweet little old woman. I just wanted to hug her for days. They were the only 2 honest to god good characters in this book.
Michelle is only a “good” person when it comes to Nathaniel. She sees that he needs help and gives it to him without needing anything in return.
And some of that made me like her a little, but then she would get into it with her mom over the littlest things, and I’d go back to not understanding her actions.
She treated her mom like dirt. While her mom would ask simple questions, questions pertaining to her daughter’s safety, Michelle gave no fucks. I just could not understand Michelle’s reasons. And then towards the end of the book, a big thing is revealed and I get it. I understand Michelle’s outbursts. It put her heavy heart and soul into perspective and I felt so hard for her. This poor girl, only 16, has been through a lot. And thank God she gets Nathaniel. It’s the least she deserves. Although it does not justify all of her actions, it puts a lot of them in the light.
This turned out to be a really great book. Although there are a lot of inconsistencies and the writing is sometimes awkward, this is a decent debut from Miss Savell. I was engaged the whole way through and I look forward to more of her interesting stories!