The Paper Girl of Paris by Jordyn Taylor
Release date: May 26, 2020
An e-galley was provided by HarperCollins via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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.
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.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The Paper Girl of Paris is YA historical fiction that follows more of an adult historical fiction pattern. That is, a lot of adult hf is dual narration, partly set in the past and partly set in the present day, and the protagonists are connected in some way (usually by familial ties).
It's a compelling narrative in this case. Alice is trying to find out more about the great-aunt she never knew she had, who happens to be Adalyn. As the story progresses, readers know more than Alice does, but only because Alice can do no more than assume context based on Adalyn's diary. There are love interests in both their stories, and while I enjoyed Paul as a character, I felt like his relationship with Alice was one of the weaker components. Luc and Adalyn, though, were great.
The story felt pretty passive, over all, but I liked the directions it went, and the pacing was never an issue. Also, often with dual narration I'll prefer one narrator's chapters to the other, but I enjoyed both Alice and Adalyn's sections.
Content warnings: anti-Semitism, violence, sexual content, underage drinking, foul language
The Verdict: A nice addition to YA historical fiction.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: Possibly.