Chasing Paper Cranes, by Courtney Peppernell, is an inspirational coming of age novel that teaches an important message: when the world crumbles at your feet, the people who help you rebuild are your true friends.
Layla’s father left when she was a young child, but he left behind a book of Japanese legends. Layla always felt drawn to one legend that says if you fold 1,000 paper cranes, your wish will be granted.
Layla meets Sam online and a relationship flourishes. They plan to meet in London and she brings 1,000 paper cranes to give to Sam.
However, it becomes clear early on after meeting Sam that his feelings have changed. Layla is crushed.
She meets Cal, a Spanish student. On a whim, Layla flees London with Cal to travel through Europe. Along the way she meets interesting people and visits some of the most beautiful cities. Can the trip heal her broken heart?
The premise of Chasing Paper Cranes isn’t new. Layla is devastated after being dumped. Most readers will be able to relate to this. What makes this story feel original and fresh is the honest and insightful writing. On many occasions I had to stop and reread a sentence that struck a nerve.
It turns out you can drink too much, but straight vodka will never burn as much as someone who walked away.
She said all the empty and forgotten things we say become ghosts inside us.
I was realising that the things we haven’t learned about ourselves are the very things other people come into our lives to teach us.
Layla isn’t just traveling through Europe to get over Sam. She’s traveling to discover the one person she’s neglected most of her life. She’s finding herself. And along the way, she meets friends who put her on the correct path to loving oneself, which is the hardest love to unearth and accept. The author shows that self-discovery strikes when least expected, but when it does, embrace it.
Peppernell’s novel is beautiful because its message is simple, albeit arguably the most important lesson most individuals ignore. Finding oneself sounds trite and cliché, but the happiest people are the ones who have discovered and learned to love themselves. This is why so many books and songs hammer away at the subject. It takes a gifted writer to tell a story with the right amount of raw emotions, heartbreak, humor, and self-discovery. Chasing Paper Cranes ticks all the right boxes, and it goes above and beyond by creating characters that will live on in the reader’s mind.
Unfortunately, while the story is spellbinding, there are annoying pesky grammar issues that repeatedly pop up. It’s such a shame since without these errors the book would be close to perfection. Distractions, no matter how small, are still distractions.
Chasing Paper Cranes is a mesmerizing coming of age story that will resonate with readers young and old. And it may inspire you to pack a bag and set off on a trip of your own. Who knows what or who you’ll meet along the way.