Genre: Contemporary Age Range: YA Star Rating: 5 stars Series: yes - second book
*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for THE PAPER AND HEARTS SOCIETY*
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 …
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
I flew through the second instalment in this bookish series, and it cured the reading slump I was on the verge of! More bookish jokes and friendships around books abound in this entry.
Like the previous book, READ WITH PRIDE can be read as a standalone. It follows one of the friends from the first book, giving her spotlight and keeping Tabby (the previous book’s protagonist) present without her taking over the story. A lot of this is achieved by introducing a new cast – the members of the new book club/rebellion Read with Pride – which means the focus isn’t entirely on the Paper & Hearts Society members.
Given it’s Pride month and some of the conversations on social media at the moment, the central threat of the library restricting access to LGBTQ+ books felt timely and all too real – and it is. READ WITH PRIDE is a book that should prompt conversations about the matter at hand.
The depiction of burn out was so painfully real. As someone who dances on the edge of burn out a lot, and has crashes several times a year (including one at the start of the month), I could really see myself in Livvy. Thankfully, I’ve never gotten as bad as she does, but I could empathise so much with her and see the steps leading her towards it. I kept wanting to jump into the book and stop her, because I didn’t want to see her go through it all, because I was reading myself into her. I love it when that happens, because I get so invested in a book.
I love how this series tackles well-being issues that are often caused by societal and personal pressure. They’re so deftly handled, functioning almost like self-help books, while never feeling like a manual. I’d wish I’d had them when I was younger, because it would have been so good to read these before my GCSEs!
The ending ties Livvy’s story up neatly, but still leaving space for another story. There is a third book on Goodreads in the series – bring it on! I wonder which member will get the spotlight next.
Read my reviews of other books by Lucy Powrie:
The Paper and Hearts Society (this series):