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Presented by State Library Victoria

5 Reasons That You Should Read 'Paper Cranes Don’t Fly'

The first nominated book I’m going to write about is Paper Cranes Don’t Fly. This book is absolutely amazing and if you are looking for negatives, this is the wrong post. I really enjoyed it and congratulate Peter Vu for his ideas. Anyway, let’s get started (this is both a message to myself to start writing and to you, the reader, saying that we shall begin).

1. The first thing I noticed about this book was its unique perspectives on common concepts. This book changed the way I think of hospitals because of its different approach to them. It talks about how when you get to know the nurses and the people at the hospital, the idea of a place that is initially frightening, suddenly becomes a place of belonging. It can even go so far as to become a ‘second home.’ I personally like this concept for its difference in perspective. The other main concept is of different types of love. The book explains and showcases (quite well) how love can be for friends. You can love your friends more than anyone else in the world. Love is so often categorised to either your family or ‘partner/significant other/whatever-you-want-to-call-it.’ In this book, Adam Auttenburg loves his friend (not girlfriend) Tess and also he loves his other friend Ambrose (who everyone calls AJ). It’s a different and grown-up idea, which I find interesting.

2. Next is the characters. The realism and personality makes the characters amazing. I don’t really know how to describe the connection, but it’s there. Reading this book creates the most genuine and realistic connection with all of the characters. As mentioned before, the main character is Adam Auttenburg, who is always going to hospital because of his cancer. The two other main characters are Ambrose and Tess. Adam is the only person who actually calls Ambrose, Ambrose. Everyone else calls him AJ. I’m already talking about him, so, I may as well talk about him some more. He has a deep, loving friendship with Adam and vice-versa but it’s not always that obvious, especially when compared to Tess (I’ll get to her in just a sec). He is the music guy and introduced Adam to every song/artist he knows. Just being in the same room as each other makes them happy and I think that’s very powerful. He isn’t the most showy person, but he is funny and honest. Tess is the same, with an addition. She is always happy. She is the bright and optimistic girl that Adam needs. She is very lovable both from the reader’s and Adam’s point of view. Adam stands up for her several times and I think this is a sign of the strength of their friendship. The bond that the characters share is something very hard to describe. When you read this book, you can just feel it’s there. It isn’t really specifically stated but it’s so very strong and powerful it’s hard to miss.

3. Keeping in mind this list is in no particular order (I had to say that somewhere), I think next up would have to be the backstories. There are quite a few backstories in this book, that I think shape the characters and their values. You learn a lot about the people and the way they became friends through these backstories. The seamless transition from present to past in this book is so awesome. Peter Vu writes them in a way that uses them more as an explanation for certain things rather than as memories of a specific character. My favourite backstory is the one explaining the characters friendship and how it started. It helps so much in understanding how Adam, Tess and AJ became such good friends and why their friendship is so strong. These backstories are like a backbone, and without them I think this book would be a lot less interesting. Everyone one of them contributes to the story in a way that generally explains something important.

4. Without a doubt, emotion is a key part of this book. I think that this is one of the main reasons that it was longlisted. As mentioned before, the connection you feel to the characters makes them like your family. It’s that strong. The way some people in the book stand up for others is enough to make your heart warm. When some major things happen in Adam’s life (for example when he found he had cancer), there is something about it where it is just the most heart-wrenching moment. I cried reading this book. When Adam turns 18, everyone goes to such great lengths to make sure he enjoys it. When you read about how Tess and AJ (notice I call him AJ, because I feel that it is Adam’s thing only to call him Ambrose) can just be sitting in the same room as Adam, not talking, not doing anything and they still smile about being in each other’s company, it really is something else. They way they seem to share the same thoughts. The way their life brightens as soon as another walks into the room. The way they seem to get happier just by having another next to them. The way they love every second they can get with another. I could go on forever describing how the reader of this book can feel such profound emotions towards characters they don’t even personally know.

5. Lastly, this book is surprising. At first glance, Paper Cranes Don’t Fly seems like it will be a story about a kid with cancer. It is and it isn’t. It’s mostly about friendship and the power of love. While Adam Auttenburg does have cancer, it’s less about him having it, and more about him fighting through it with his friends (and family). He meets other people, one of which is Rachael. She hasn’t been mentioned yet because she didn’t have a huge part in the story. You expect some sort of romantic love to occur, but it doesn’t. I think this is quite a surprising event, especially when Adam and Rachael kiss. I find this an interesting part in the story and once again, it is quite surprising.  The title, in my opinion, is actually misleading (in a good way) because it sets the book of to be sad and disheartening. I’m not saying it isn’t, I’m just saying that it is truly a book about the power of friendship and love. The way the book changes perspectives at the end of the book is quite interesting and surprising as well. I think that the way Peter Vu ended the story was very good. With a nice main twist that is extremely emotional, it is a great book.

I couldn’t find any big faults in this book, which is why I haven’t included any negatives in this list. If I had to rate this book, it would definitely be a perfect 5/5. I love it so much. It changed me and I really would recommend it to anyone who would listen to me. Thanks for reading this list guys,




Ayyy @bookboy, great review! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and hope to see more reviews from you. But it would have been just a teensy bit better if you had pictures(or gifs) in between every paragraph, as it was hard not to waver a little while reading them. With that said, I will certainly be getting it as soon as possible

14th Jul, 18
julianne Centre for Youth Literature

Terrific review - Love how you have structured this. It sounds richly emotional and profound. I'm going to read it now! Do you think it will win the Inky?

19th Jul, 18

I can’t say for sure considering I’ve only read one other Inky title so far, but I’d say this book is absolutely in the running. I think it will be in the top 5 for sure.

19th Jul, 18

I have never read the book, but I would like to.

8th Nov, 18