Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O'Porter

Paper Aeroplanes

Written by Dawn O'Porter
Part of the Paper Aeroplanes Series

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Selected by our Editorial Experts

Shortlisted for the Waterstone's Children's Prize 2014 Fiction for teens category - May 2013 Debut of the Month

Readers should be at least 14+ for this hard-hitting novel.

With graphic content and some scenes of a sexual nature, Paper Aeroplanes is a gritty, poignant, often laugh-out-loud funny and powerful novel. It is an unforgettable snapshot of small-town adolescence and the heart-stopping power of female friendship.

Click here to download a letter from the author on her inspiration behind the book.

A Piece of Passion from the Publisher, Emily Thomas

Dawn Porter (as she was known before her marriage to movie star Chris O'Dowd) used to make me laugh out loud of a morning on my journey to work. Dawn wasn't sitting next to me, but it sure felt like it. I was actually reading her weekly column in Stylist magazine - one in which she told of the everyday dilemmas and issues in her life (and all other young women's lives) in her trademark charming, disarming, unfiltered and utterly exhilarating way.

To say Dawn tells it like it is, is like saying the Pope is a Catholic, or the British winter is mostly brutal. It's a fact. 'Dawn Porter needs to write a book,' I thought, 'and write it like she talks.' But I approached with caution, along with a few of my own ideas, about what she could maybe, possibly write, fully prepared to be dismissed. Turns out that Dawn had ideas of her own. Within minutes of our first phone conversation, after her delightful shrieks of pleasure at being approached to write a novel (or two), she had waved away my ideas and nailed hers. Dawn wanted to write about an experience close to her heart, and something she knew a thing or two about: female friendship. More specifically, that particular relationship between schoolgirls of a certain age. Intense, cloying, joyful, excruciating, hilarious, painful... and sometimes forever. Dawn went off to write her book. And when she came back, she handed me the beginnings of a masterpiece.

All the things I loved about Dawn's column, about her documentaries, about her, were there - in what came to be entitled Paper Aeroplanes - the story of a friendship. Dawn doesn't flinch from describing the horrors of having your period round at someone's else house when you're fifteen; the freakish body hair that you're convinced is yours, and yours alone; your excruciating dysfunctional family; the strange and contradictory mass of feelings you have at all times; the curiosity, yet wariness of boys (and of sex in general); the hideous misery of falling out with your best friend; the knowledge that though your life stretches out, tantalisingly, before you, you have absolutely no clue what to do with it. Paper Aeroplanes is every teenage girl's experience. You will read it and weep, and then you will laugh, and then you might weep some more. I'm just off to read it again...

Win an original print from The Pavee and the Buffer Girl

Siobhan Dowd's powerful story of the fight against racism and prejudice, The Pavee and the Buffer Girl, has been reissued as a splendid graphic novel with stunning illustrations by Emma Shoard. We are giving away an ORIGINAL print from the book (shown here) and a copy SIGNED by Emma.

To have a chance of winning this special prize, click the button below. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once.

The draw closes on 3 May 2017. The winners will be notified by 15 May 2017.

Good luck!

Enter prize draw Draw closes: 03/05/2017


Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O'Porter

It's the mid-1990s, and fifteen year-old Guernsey schoolgirls, Renee and Flo, are not really meant to be friends. Thoughtful, introspective and studious Flo couldn't be more different to ambitious, extroverted and sexually curious Renee. But Renee and Flo are united by loneliness and their dysfunctional families, and an intense bond is formed. Although there are obstacles to their friendship (namely Flo's jealous ex-best friend and Renee's growing infatuation with Flo's brother), fifteen is an age where anything can happen, where life stretches out before you, and when every betrayal feels like the end of the world. For Renee and Flo it is the time of their lives.


Funny, touching and packed with cultural references, this is a must for anyone who has experienced the joy - and pain - of teenage friendship Grazia Dawn O'Porter's first novel is just as brilliant as you would expect ... Funny, sad and incredibly poignant, it's the novel you wish you'd read at 15 Stylist Dawn O'Porter's debut novel is a treat that can be enjoyed by all ages

'Porter perfectly captures the sometimes ludicrous complexities of adolescence, and everyone should relate to this heartbreakingly funny depiction of friendship and loss. The Irish Times A really gorgeous and nostalgic read Marie Claire She has nailed every high school girl's defining moments -- Jo Elvin, editor Glamour Brought us right back. And made us LOL. A lot! Company One of the best debut novels I've read. -- Alex Jones The Mail on Sunday A laugh out loud read. A heart-warming tale about two teenage friends Sunday Express'

About the Author

Dawn O'Porter

Dawn O'Porter is a broadcaster and print journalist who lives in London with her husband Chris, cat Lilu and dog Potato. She has made thirteen documentaries about all sorts of things, including polygamy, childbirth, geishas, body image, breast cancer....and even the movie Dirty Dancing!

Dawn has written for various UK newspapers and magazines including Grazia and Stylist. She is also a highly prolific Tweeter and blogger of The Dawn Report.

Although Dawn lives in London she spends a lot of time in LA and travels a lot. You may have seen her dragging two huge pink suitcases with broken wheels and a Siamese cat (Lilu) in a box through international airports. At some point she plans to get new suitcases - the cat, however, has a few years left in her yet.

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Book Info


272 pages
Interest Age: From 16


Dawn O'Porter
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Author's Website


Hot Key Books

Publication date

2nd May 2013




Publisher Profile

Hot Key Books is an imprint of Hot Key

logo Hot Key Books, a division of Bonnier Publishing, publish stand out, quality fiction, for 9 – 19 year olds, print and digital that people like to talk about. If you are looking for something a little bit different from your books, something a little bit special then Hot Key Books may well have just what you want.

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