Book Review – Paper Swans

by Jessica Thompson

Started: 5th October 2014

Finished: 9th October 2014

As I’m practically up-to-date with my uni reading I thought I’d read something for pleasure as a quick break. I was sent this book by Bookbridgr about a month ago and have been dying to read it!

Paper Swans has two protagonists – Ben Lawrence who is a ‘PR genius’ and afraid of love. And Effy Jones who has started her own charity dedicated to help people in Uganda. As Ben battles with his inner demons and Effy strives to do her best to help others, the two meet and they both find themselves in positions they never imagined.

Both characters were wonderful and well written. However, I must admit that Ben was my favourite out the two. I felt that he had more of a depth and mystery surrounding him. His character completely fascinated me. I liked how he is in conflict with himself and it’s very interesting to watch how he copes with it. I found Effy to be a very driven and hardworking woman – which was great. There were times where I felt she simply overreacted – however it would have been a very smooth read with hardly any drama if she didn’t! As for minor characters I really liked Theo and Rosa – they are exactly the type of best friends both Ben and Effy need in their lives.

The plot generally unfolded in alternating chapters between the two protagonists. This doesn’t happen straight away as there’s more focus on Ben but it quickly develops into a dual narrative. I enjoyed this way of writing and setting the story as you get to develop a relationship with each character before they meet. I also liked the date at the start of each chapter – I thought it was a nice, clear, way of being able to keep up with the time of the novel. I liked how the mystery surrounding Ben’s past wasn’t revealed until the end – however you do get random snippets of explanation throughout the book. It was quite predictable once a couple of things are exposed to the reader so it wasn’t as showing as it could have been – but it was interesting to hear about it.

I really enjoyed the last couple of chapters and how certain characters made a reappearance. However as, in my opinion, we didn’t see an awful lot of Ben and Effy together, what happened with them did feel a little rushed. Although Effy was a really important character, there were times her story felt more like a sub-plot to Ben’s. As Ben’s story has more details that need to be explained I didn’t mind, but it would have been a nice touch to hear more about Effy before she became so invested in charity work.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and thought it was a great debut from Thompson. I can’t wait to see what else she’ll produce in the future.

Rating: 4/5

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