Popsugar Reading Challenge 2021 Book 15

Prompt: A book by a blogger, vlogger, YouTube video creator, or other online personality

My choice for this prompt is Read With Pride. The second in the Paper and Hearts Society series by book blogger Lucy Powrie. I really enjoyed the first in series when I read it so was looking forward to part two.

What it’s about?

From Goodreads:

The much anticipated second book in The Paper & Hearts Society series by Booktuber Lucy Powrie. Will you be the next recruit for The Paper & Hearts Society book club? For fans of Holly Smale and Super Awkward.

Olivia Santos is excited for her last year at secondary school. But when a parent complains about LGBTQ+ content in one of the books, the library implements a new policy for withdrawing books. Olivia is distraught – she’s demisexual and knows how important it is for all readers to see themselves represented.

Luckily, she’s the mastermind behind The Paper & Hearts Society book club, and she knows exactly what to do: start a new club, find ways of evading the system, and change the policy for good!

With two book clubs to run, exams to prepare for, and a girlfriend, just how long will it be before Olivia burns out? After all, creating a book club and trying to get the #ReadWithPride hashtag to get noticed is going to take a lot of energy.

Sometimes, when you’re in too deep, it’s up to your friends to look out for you …

What I think:

My expectations for this book were pretty high as I had so loved the forst in the series, but unfortunately for me thus didn’t quite match the joy of the first book.

The focus shifts to Olivia, who I love. She is such a great character. Hardworking, passionate and thoughtful, Olivia starts year 11 with enthusiasm but its not long before the pressure for success in her exam year and her social commitments mean she is spreading herself too thinly. As a representation of the pressure we put on 16 year olds I thought it was accurate and perceptive.

The Read With Pride group is such a fantastic creation. Representation in books matters and fiction is so important for young people exploring their identity and working through complex emotions.

Where thsi fell short for me is that so many characters are introduced as part if the Read With Pride group that I didn’t feel like I really got to know them at all. The range of sexual and genders identities was not explored in any depth so they felt less like real people and more like a box tick.

Having said that, the original Paper and Hearts Society crew continue to develop and be delightful. There is so much humour and literary love it is impossible not to enjoy parts of the book.

Admittedly I am not the target audience for this book, but I would have liked fewer, but more rounded new characters.

The cover reveal for book three in the series looks great and I will definitely be reading the next, and last, installment of this bookish series.

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