Paper Boats – Indonesian novel for New Adult fans/ posted in: Reading Paper Boats by Dee Lestari
on May 1, 2017 - translation
For as long as she can remember, Kugy has loved to write. Whimsical stories are her passion, along with letters full of secret longings that she folds into paper boats and sets out to sea. Now that she’s older, she dreams of following her heart and becoming a true teller of tales, but she decides to get a “real job” instead and forget all about Keenan, the guy who makes her feel as if she’s living in one of her own fairy tales.
What do you have to sacrifice to be a “grown up”?
In 1999, Keenan and Kugy start university in Indonesia. Keenan is being forced to go by his father. Keenan wants to be an artist but his father wants him to take business courses in order to have a real career. Kugy wants to be a writer. She’s been writing fairy tales her whole life.
Kugy also writes notes to Neptune on paper boats and sends them out to sea.
Most of the translated fiction that I’ve read has been fairly serious. I surprised to find that is this a light hearted and fun book.
There were elements in this story that I generally don’t enjoy but that I didn’t mind here because they were well written. Keenan and Kugy are attracted to each other but there are always obstacles in the way of their relationship. Kugy has a boyfriend from home. Kugy’s friend sets up Keenan with her glamorous cousin who can help him get his paintings shown in a gallery. There are misunderstandings because people aren’t communicating with each other. I was even okay with that for a while although it usually has me pulling my hair out in frustration.
I liked the writing of the secondary characters as well. They are complete characters with their own story arcs who don’t exist just to serve the needs of the main characters. In fact, it sometimes seems like they are just stopping in this story occasionally when it intersects with their real storylines unlike some books where it seems secondary characters hibernate whenever the main characters aren’t around.
Eventually though the repeated missed opportunities and bungled communication between the main characters started to wear down my enthusiasm. Eventually someone just has to say what they are thinking. I wish the story had ended a bit sooner with less “maybe I’ll say what I’m feeling or maybe I’ll just wait until next time” on repeat.
There was also a lot of black and white thinking here. Either you can live a creative life or you can have a corporate job. You can’t do both.
This would be a good book for fans of New Adult fiction. Overall, I liked it and thought it was well written even if it overstayed its welcome for just a little bit.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Books Set in Asia
- POC authors