by Dawn O’Porter
It’s a year and a half on from Paper Aeroplanes, and Renée is now living with her Aunty Jo. They even have geese, and Renée likes to sit and watch them, wondering if she’ll ever find ‘the One’ – someone who will love her no matter what, and be there for her no matter how bad things get. She and Flo are in their final year at school, and they’ve got some tough choices to make – like will they go to university? And if so where – and will they go together? Renée’s usual ambivalence on the matter shocks Flo, who had assumed they’d continue as they were, the best and closest of friends, forever. She feels as though she needs Renée’s support more than ever, so when a handsome young boy enters Flo’s life, she finds herself powerfully drawn to his kindness, and his faith. Renée and Flo’s friendship will soon be tested in a way neither of them could have expected – and if Paper Aeroplanes was a book about finding friendship, Goose is the novel that explores whether it’s possible to keep hold of it.
If I had known before reading this book that it was a sequel, I wouldn’t have read it. It was only upon searching on Goodreads that I found that this book is in fact the sequel to Dawn O’Porter‘s “Paper Aeroplanes“, this is not made clear anywhere on the cover or inside the book so unless you’re in the know you’d think this book stood alone. That said, I read the whole thing and didn’t feel like there was any back story missing.
Nominated for the UK’s first ever YA Book Prize, O’Porter’s “Goose” did not sit well with me. It follows the story of 18 year old best friends Renée and Flo throughout their final year of school on Guernsey. I went in with an open mind, yet I found it difficult to relate to either of these characters, both immature and juvenile in their ways despite their age, which at times felt very unrealistic, especially given the explicit nature of some of the plot.
Approaching the end of school, Flo doesn’t have many friends and becomes drawn to the church. Having never believed before, she suddenly gets dragged into everything church related including weekly prayer groups and religiously themed concerts as she tries to hold on to the first group that accept her. I found this inclusion of religion in the plot to be a little awkward, especially when it came to Gordon, a friend of Flo’s. Gordon’s character seemed extremely unrealistic to me; a stereotypical church boy who took his beliefs so far that he lost all social skills in an instant when Flo invited him to her house one night.
Other sections were good, yet felt a little lacking. The story line often felt slow, detailing drama after drama. It felt at times that I was reading a soap opera; everything that could go wrong went wrong, everything that could possibly happen to a teenager happened.
Despite all of this, the book wasn’t terrible. I finished it in less than a week and sped through the chapters. I was engaged in the story line and was interested in finding out what happened next, it’s just not something I’m going to run home and shout about.
Overall rating: A quick YA read about two best friends in their final year of school. Full of dramas, this story kept me entertained but felt too immature and unrealistic and didn’t encourage me to read the previous book. For all of this I score O’Porter’s “Goose” two stars.