Mitch is the typical eighth grader, insecure about his weight, and the fact that he is supposed to be in gifted classes, which labels him a dork. Plus, he isn’t sure how to approach girls, the usual middle school issues we all have experienced or will experience in our lives. Paper Airplane by Kevin N. Fair gives a genuine voice to the world of the adolescent boy like I have never seen before. It truly shows that Kevin knows what he’s talking about, because Mitch is authentic, and his story is one that unfortunately happens to many youth today.
Everything seems to be going alright for Mitch, aside from the typical middle school issues like his crush not liking him back, and he may be a little overweight, but when things start to spiral out of control, like when Mitch’s mom and unborn baby brother almost die in the hospital, and when his friends decide to abandon him for some unknown reason, Mitch isn’t sure how to deal with these emotions and eventually he turns to drugs in order to cope.
Though I almost felt like Mitch was too young to feel these deep emotions and go through all this turmoil while reading this book, I think I was wrong, because kids are growing up so fast these days, and adult life seems to start sooner for them than it didn’t for my generation. This story is sure to pull at your heartstrings, and give you a couple of heart attacks, especially if you are a parent. Kevin really knows how to grasp the voice of this age group, and it’s scary how real the situation in this book is, and how our children may have to deal with similar types of problems.
This book is great for teens and parents alike, and maybe even something you would want to buddy read with your child. It speaks of a lot of issues, like bullying, peer pressure, social awkwardness, and tragedy. Sometimes, it may be hard to articulate how we feel, but this book can be a great conversation starter for families of younger teens or kids that are in middle school. I hope that you read this book and take something from it. Though there are sad and scary parts, there is this undertone of humor through out the book that helps push the story forward, and it shows that there is a light at the end of every dark tunnel. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars, powerful, yet easy to read for younger adolescents. Thank you Kevin for sending me this book.