by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
What I really loved about this book was how realistic it was. When she brings up the paper dolls she used to play with with her best friend, Sasha, Sasha starts out thinking about them in a positive way. And as the reader, I was right there with Ari being proud that she liked them still. And then Sasha turns around and says "God, we were such dorks." While Sasha had no intention of hurting Ari, Ari still feels the bite, and I could too because I had already come to appreciate and love her paper things. Small incidences like this build up the entire book. Everything was entirely natural and Ari was such a beautiful person. She was grateful for what she had and always tried to help those around her. I also really liked Daniel, one of the friends Ari makes during her experiences. He was such a great person and, like Ari, was believable. He pushed her to be brave in ways that she wasn't already and supported her when she needed it even though he had no reason to.
There was one teeny tiny flaw: Sasha's ending. This might give a little bit away so if you don't want to read it, you can just skip this paragraph. Sasha is quite mean to Ari. I just can't believe at the end that Sasha was so willing to go back to Ari without a real apology. I understand why Ari took her back, it just speaks to how great of a person Ari is. I just don't like that Sasha didn't take responsibility. She didn't know what Ari was going through, but she should have been able to see that Ari needed help, and yet she did nothing. Well, that's not true. She ditched her and found new more popular friends. I guess I was sort of justice that Sasha was waitlisted at Carter, especially after she told Ari they would be going to different middle schools (implying at the time Sasha would be going to Carter and Ari would not be). I think that Sasha should have been a little bit more responsible for what she did.
Also, just a quick note. What a beautiful cover! I just love it and it matches the simplicity and beauty of the Paper Things in the book. The paper things's meaning is hard to get across without reading the book, but the cover does a nice job of portraying what they mean.
This book was sort of like french onion soup. The characters are the crouton on top, that really absorbs the rest of the plot, setting, and writing style. They pull everything together so that you can take a bite of everything at once. The combination is rich and almost creamy so that it makes your mouth water, or tears run down your cheeks. The spices and herbs that help flavor the onions are the small incidences that make up the characters history. The onions and other main ingredients are the plot and major events that make up Ari. I would give this book a 4.75 because it was so beautifully written and extraordinarily heart warming. The warm soup, just like the plot and characters, warms you up from the inside. Both french onion soup and Paper Things are real treats. A surprisingly good experience no matter when you take a bite. I couldn't get everything across in this review, but I could suggest this book to everyone because it isn't a typical realistic fiction book. I don't want to give away the ending, but Ari's journey is beautiful and comes to a fulfilling conclusion.