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Girls of Paper and Fire

Review

Girls of Paper and Fire

Written by Natasha Ngan with a Foreword by James Patterson

In Natasha Ngan’s GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE, Paper Girls serve as the Demon King’s concubines in a world where there are three castes: Moon, Steel and Paper. Paper is the caste of humans and is considered the lowest one, with Steel in the middle with a mix of human and demon features and Moon is the highest caste with demons. When Lei, a 17-year-old Paper caste with strange golden eyes, is taken from her village by royal guards, her past comes to haunt her as seven years ago, it was her mother who was taken. Lei, along with eight other girls, is to be one of the Paper Girls. At the palace, Lei must decide how much she is willing to give to the king, and how much she wants revenge.

"Ngan’s writing and language capture the emotions of all the characters in a way that is really easy to read. GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE is such an important book that I recommend to everyone."

GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE left me feeling so emotional in a good way. The world Natasha Ngan has created is based off of her personal experiences; I just want to say that she is so brave for putting something so personal into a book that so many people are going to read. This book deals with the topic of sexual assault in a way that feels both graphic and not graphic at the same time. Nothing is explicit or graphic but the raw emotions of the Paper Girls can be felt through the pages. The events of the book feel very real and I know that if you take the demons out, GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE depicts something that happens in many cultures.

The beginning of the book gripped me and did not release me until after I read Ngan’s acknowledgement section at the end. It wraps up in a way that left me hungry for the next book. I love how the book comes full circle as it starts off with Lei talking about her birth pendant and it ends with her finally opening it. While reading the book, I had her pendant in the back of my mind and was really curious to see what it would say when Lei finally opened it. The little twists and character arcs that went different from plan had me gawking at the pages in disbelief.

The pacing throughout the book is done really well. The first half has a slower build up, then the middle starts to pick up and then the last quarter of the book had me racing to turn pages as I eagerly read more. Some of the Demon King’s actions had me scratching my head in that sometimes he was depicted by characters as dumb while other times he made astute decisions. I’m very curious to learn more about this Demon Queen and see what happens with the King’s possible infertility in the next book.

Ngan’s writing and language capture the emotions of all the characters in a way that is really easy to read. GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE is such an important book that I recommend to everyone. There is a trigger warning on the book for violence and sexual assault, which I think was a great idea to include in the book as a warning for others. If you love forbidden romance, revenge and danger mixed in with an important theme like sexual abuse, then this is the book for you.

Reviewed by Ilona K., Teen Board Member on November 14, 2018

Girls of Paper and Fire
Written by Natasha Ngan with a Foreword by James Patterson