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Paperboy Hardcover


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Best of the Month in Middle Grade
Paperboy is the spotlight pick in our Best Books of the Month for Middle Grade readers (ages 9-12) list for May 2013. See more of our Editors' Picks.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (May 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385742444
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385742443
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, May 2013: Words don’t come easy for an 11-year-old boy coming of age in the segregated South of Vince Vawter’s moving novel, Paperboy. Spending the summer tending his best friend’s paper route leads to new discoveries, friendships, and danger as the lives behind the closed doors of neighbors, now his customers, are exposed for the first time. For a boy with an impossible stutter, this poses a whole new set of challenges to let his thoughts and feelings free. Paperboy is an impressive look at hope and bravery in the face of adversity and the fierce protection of love. --Seira Wilson

From School Library Journal

Gr 6-9-After an overthrown baseball busts his best friend's lip, 11-year-old Victor Vollmer takes over the boy's paper route. This is a particularly daunting task for the able-armed Victor, as he has a prominent stutter that embarrasses him and causes him to generally withdraw from the world. Through the paper route he meets a number of people, gains a much-needed sense of self and community, and has a life-threatening showdown with a local cart man. The story follows the boy's 1959 Memphis summer with a slow but satisfying pace that builds to a storm of violence. The first-person narrative is told in small, powerful block paragraphs without commas, which the stuttering narrator loathes. Vawter portrays a protagonist so true to a disability that one cannot help but empathize with the difficult world of a stutterer. Yet, Victor's story has much broader appeal as the boy begins to mature and redefine his relationship with his parents, think about his aspirations for the future, and explore his budding spirituality. The deliberate pacing and unique narration make Paperboy a memorable coming-of-age novel.-Devin Burritt, Wells Public Library, MEα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
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4 star
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See all 96 customer reviews
The depth of Vince Vawter's knowledge in dealing with a stutter made it all feel so very real to me.
S. Shamma
One can't forget that, but the story diverged from that event immediately, only coming back around to it in the end.
Jennifer Donovan
The story is a great novel for kids it shows how to overcome challenges and make life the best it can be.
Donn Renfro

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Coenen TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Paperboy is a coming-of-age novel. It takes place in 1959 and focuses on a young boy with a huge problem.

He stutters.

And believe me, when you stutter, nothing else much matters. The majority of your being is focused on trying to be "normal."

Now, before you start throwing things at a virtual me because of my review title, I've had a stutter since I was in elementary school -- this was back in the late 1970s. One important technique that I used -- just like in Paperboy -- was to place a soft "hiss" before difficult words (I was more a "blocker" than a "stutterer"). Book, because of the hard B sound, would cause my mouth to freeze up (like a "closed fist", says the main character in Paperboy) and putting a soft "s" sound in front of it allowed me to force the word out. If the hiss didn't work, I'd often change the word entirely -- another technique often used by stutterers. For example, using the word "Story" instead of "Book." Story, after all, starts with a soft S sound. Much easier! (And much less panic provoking!)

Like Little Man (the main character's nickname in the book -- and nicknames are important because they often take the place of hard-to-pronounce real names), I was in speech therapy and learned many ways to compensate for my stutter, though if I was faced with reading out loud (darned teachers who loved round-Robin reading), giving speeches, or talking to people in general, I would often panic. Freeze up. And my speech problem would be all the more severe.

Reading this book was almost reading about my own life. No, I didn't play baseball or deliver papers, but I could relate to every single stuttering-related issue faced by Little Man.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Todd B. Kashdan VINE VOICE on April 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I ordered this through Amazon Vine because I thought this would be a great book for my 6-year old twins to learn about empathy, perspective taking, and vulnerability. Can we teach our kids morality in a secular manner? Yes, through books like this. All sorts of questions emerged from this book that I was able to discuss with my kids:

what does it mean to be true to yourself?
when is sharing something you are not good at a strength instead of a weakness?
what would you do if you were in his situation?

great stories offer the best psychological insights.

thanks.

Todd
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Donovan TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A strong setting takes a run of the mill novel and raises it up. This novel is aptly titled, because in reading it, one truly gets what it's like to be a paperboy. The boy (unnamed throughout most of the novel) is taking over his friend's paper route while he's away for the summer, so as he learns the ropes, so does the reader. However, this paperboy has to struggle with something that others probably do not -- his stutter. So talking to the customers and asking for payment is a challenge.

However, at 11, he's at the time in his life when he's going from being a little boy to entering into adolescence which brings more awkwardness, but also more determination and pride. He already knows that he's one of the best baseball players around, but he wants to overcome the barriers that stuttering has put in his way.

The other strong setting is the place -- 1959 Memphis. That means that while his parents go out to dinner parties, he is cared for by his African American housekeeper/nanny Mam (it seems as if 50's housewives did a lot of socializing, but perhaps I'm wrong). Mam gives him confidence. A customer on his route who takes the time to talk, listen, and ask questions also helps him figure out who he wants to be.

The novel is great on so many levels -- a great cover, a great premise, lots of heart -- that by the time I got to the end, I forgot the bang that started it all. The first sentence:

"I'm typing about the stabbing for a good reason. I can't talk.

Without stuttering."

What a hook! One can't forget that, but the story diverged from that event immediately, only coming back around to it in the end.

CONTENT NOTE: I would say this is a book for older middle grade readers, at least 5th and up. There is some swearing.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By VReviews VINE VOICE on April 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Long time newspaper man, first time novelist, Vince Vawter tells the tale of an eleven year old summertime paperboy in 1959 Memphis, Tennessee. On the cusp of the civil rights upheaval that characterized the city in the 1960s, `Paperboy' expertly delves into the personal struggles of a paperboy whose sever stutter limits his ability to communicate, creating barriers in his relationships. Most notably, is the strained and superficial relationship he has with his mother. Fortunately, "Mam", his African-American care-taker loves and understands him, providing a moral compass through the trials and tribulations of his summer. The nuance of the times is beautifully explored through the various newspaper customers the paperboy encounters on his route. Each with a story, sometimes adventurous, sometimes odd, others desperate.

The best stories come from authors who write about what they know. The struggle for the paperboy to make connections to people, including his own parents despite his stutter, is made all the more poignant because the author, Vince Vawter, has lived with stuttering all his life. This is a novel about the struggle to overcome limits, and the reward that comes from that struggle.
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