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Paperboy [Hardcover]

Vince Vawter
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)

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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.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* It’s hot in Memphis during the summer of 1959—in all kinds of ways. Things heat up for the book’s 11-year-old narrator when he takes over his pal Rat’s paper route; meeting new people is a horror for the boy because he stutters. He only really feels comfortable with Rat and Mam, the African American maid who takes care of him when his parents are away, which is often. But being the paperboy forces him to engage in the world and to ask for payments from customers, like pretty, hard-drinking Mrs. Worthington and Mr. Spiro, who gives the boy the confidence to voice his questions and then offers answers that—wondrously—elicit more questions. Others intrude on his life as well. In a shocking scene, Ara T, the dangerous, disturbing junk man tries to take something precious from the boy. In some ways, the story is a set piece, albeit a very good one: the well-crafted characters, hot Southern summer, and coming-of-age events are reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird. But this has added dimension in the way it brilliantly gets readers inside the head of a boy who stutters. First-time author Vawter has lived this story, so he is able to write movingly about what it’s like to have words exploding in your head with no reasonable exit. This paperboy is a fighter, and his hope fortifies and satisfies in equal measure. Grades 6-8. --Ilene Cooper

Review

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, March 18, 2013:
“[A] tense, memorable story.”

Starred Review, Booklist, April 15, 2013:
“The well-crafted characters, the hot Southern summer, and the coming-of-age events are reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird… This paper boy is a fighter and his hope fortifies and satisfies in equal measure.”

"An unforgettable boy and his unforgettable story. I loved it."—Rob Buyea, author of Because of Mr. Terupt and Mr. Terupt Falls Again

"Paperboy offers a penetrating look at both the mystery and the daily frustrations of stuttering. People of all ages will appreciate this positive and universal story as I did, but it will be particularly meaningful to anyone who has ever struggled with stuttering."—Jane Fraser, president of The Stuttering Foundation of America

"[A] compelling first-person narrative." —The Washington Post

"A memorable coming-of-age novel." —School Library Journal

“In a compelling climax, he, still stuttering, proudly announces his real name; the moment is as eloquent as his story.” —The Horn Book

About the Author

VINCE VAWTER, a native of Memphis, retired after a forty-year career in newspapers, most recently as the president and publisher of the Evansville Courier & Press in Indiana. Paperboy is his first novel.

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