ARC Review: Papergirl by Melinda McCracken

Title: Papergirl

Author: Melinda McCracken

Publisher: Fernwood Publishing

Release date: April 1, 2019

Rating: 3.5/5 stars


Cassie lives with her family in war- and- Influenza ravaged Winnipeg. The city’s workers are angry with the rising prices and low wages. When they being a general strike, Cassie decides she wants to help. She begins volunteering as a papergirl selling the strike bulletin, and as she sells papers every day and struggles with bullies, hunger, and the violence that the strike entails.


Papergirl will interest readers who enjoy character-driven books that address issues and historical settings. It would be a wonderful classroom read, as it incorporates history into the story and tactfully yet honestly addresses the issues that lead to the strike and the impacts of the strike.

Cassie reminded me of Nisha from The Night Diary. She is a young girl without much firsthand knowledge of how harsh the world can be, with a sense of justice. As she watches the strike go on, she learns more about the world, the people in it, and how to fight injustice.

This book has an old-fashioned tone that is sometimes dry and is less engaging and conversational than many YA books are.  It has descriptions of the food, the setting, and the characters, that while it does enrich the book, may not suit those searching for a fast-paced adventure. It is character-driven and spends a lot of time exploring the characters, how they react to hardship, how they interact with their world, and how they are changed by the events of the book.

Papergirl is being marketed as young adult fiction. However, I think this book would appeal much more to a middle grade audience. Cassie, the main character, is ten years old, and does sound and think like a young person.  The violence is minimal and shown through Cassie’s sense of right and justice, and the book is written in a fairly simple way.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Fernwood Publishing through Netgalley. This did not impact my review in any way, and all opinions expressed are my own.

If You Like

If you liked Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani, Soldier Boy by Keely Hutton, you might enjoy Papergirl, which releases April 1, 2019.

Let’s Chat!

Do you like historical fiction? Are you going to read Papergirl? Have you ever read a book that was sold as young adult but really should have been middle grade?


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