The Paper

Fiction - Horror
338 Pages
Reviewed on 07/08/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Paper is a work of fiction in the thriller, horror, and suspense genres. It is best suited to mature adult readers due to strong language and scenes of violence. Penned by author John K. Addis, this engaging novel delves into the real-life adventures of two seventh graders who started an independent newspaper in their hometown of New Haven, Michigan, in 1988. The narrative unfolds with a blend of coming-of-age elements and a psychological thriller with a supernatural twist, as the protagonists navigate adolescence, friendships, and the mysteries lurking in their small town, including the enigmatic house at the end of the street.

Author John K. Addis has an easy, confident narrative style in this nostalgic and atmospheric journey back to the '80s filled with youth's innocence and intrigue. I loved how the scene-setting and attitudinal touches perfectly captured the essence of small-town life, weaving a tale of friendship, courage, and the allure of the unknown into a credible, realistic setting. The dynamic between Jimmy Logan and Dale Dunkle is both endearing and relatable. Great dialogue moves the plot forward naturally and beautifully characterizes the protagonists as they navigate the complexities of adolescence while embarking on their journalistic venture. The author has a good sense of timing to build tension and suspense, keeping readers eagerly turning pages as the mystery of the abandoned house unfolds with fantastic pacing and some really exciting twists. Overall, The Paper is a captivating and thought-provoking read that transports readers back in time, and I’d certainly recommend it to fans of exciting thrillers.

Romuald Dzemo

The Paper by John K. Addis deftly captures the turbulence and trials of adolescence through Jimmy Logan's engaging and poignant narrative. Set in the late 1980s, the story follows the friendship between Jimmy and Dale Dunkle, a gifted but socially awkward transfer student. Their shared passion for creating The New Haven Herald Jr. newspaper becomes the fulcrum of their relationship. The small-town setting is vividly drawn, with its familiar institutions and the socio-economic backdrop that complicates and enriches the characters' journeys. As Jimmy goes through school life, the pressures of fitting in and family troubles enrich the plot, moving it seamlessly forward between personal life and the community.

John K. Addis excels at bringing his characters to life. Jimmy is a well-rounded protagonist plagued by the insecurities and conflicting desires typical of a thirteen-year-old. His brooding nature and moments of cruelty stem from a deep need for acceptance and fear of vulnerability. Dale embodies innocence and intellect, often becoming the unwitting target of bullies. Other characters like Pax Jenner, the neighborhood bully, and Emilia Jankowski, Jimmy's crush, add tension and empathy, rounding out a compelling cast. Jimmy's motivations are complex, driven by a need for acceptance from his peers and a more profound desire to find his path. He is torn between loyalty to his friend Dale and the allure of social standing, which is constantly tested by the bullies and his family's expectations. A particularly emotional scene involves Jimmy's confrontation with his mother about his failing grades and her pregnancy, revealing his fear and resentment about his evolving family dynamics. The Paper is cleverly plotted and filled with realism, a story that explores adolescence with skill and thoughtfulness.

Divine Zape

The Paper by John K. Addis presents a stunning narrative of adolescence, friendship, and the personal evolution of young Jimmy Logan in the small town of New Haven. Set against the backdrop of 1980s America, it captures the trials and tribulations of growing up, the struggle for identity, and the complexity of relationships. The story centers around Jimmy Logan and Dale Dunkle, two middle school friends who rekindle their friendship by creating "The New Haven Herald Jr." - a newspaper. The plot unfolds through the pressures of school bullies, familial discord, and the mental turbulence of adolescence. As Jimmy faces these challenges, his dedication to the newspaper project grounds and isolates him, driving the story forward. The small-town setting of New Haven provides an ideal landscape for exploring themes such as community, belonging, and the clash between societal norms and personal values.

Addis excels at creating characters that instantly grab readers' interest. Jimmy deals with many internal conflicts, often torn between his aspiration to be accepted and his loyalty to his true self and friends. His complicated family dynamics, particularly with his mom and her boyfriend Mike, intensify the conflict. On the other hand, Dale embodies the archetypal "boy genius," socially awkward yet fiercely intelligent and ambitious. Their friendship evolves through shared passions and trials, vividly depicting adolescent camaraderie. The conflict in this story manifests in various forms—bullying by Pax Jenner and his cronies, internal battles with self-worth and identity, and the tension between Jimmy’s life at home and the world outside. The Paper by John K. Addis is written in crisp prose, and the setting is captured in compelling detail. Readers will enjoy the relatable characters and the author’s expert storytelling.