Paper Girls: The Complete Story by Brian K. Vaughan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay, yes, I skipped over picking up the remainder of the individual volumes in favor of the compiled collection. 1) Pricing things out, it came out cheaper. 2) Tracking down all six volumes – without resorting to Amazon – proved next to impossible. And 3) I knew I would read the whole series, so what was the point of waiting?

That said, I did end up slightly disappointed as the story progressed. Mostly because it fell into the usual trap of any time travel story, especially when a writer decides to throw in the complication of allowing a character to meet their future/past self. It creates too many paradoxes and knots that require unraveling. And while Mr. Vaughan did an admirable job of juggling mysterious coincidences (e.g., the field hockey stick), other questions hung out in a nebulous void without explanation (e.g., the overheard walkie-talkie transmission). Time travel inevitably becomes a juggling game, and balls always end up hitting the ground, no matter how skilled an acrobat you are.

I’ll give him credit for the ending, though. The inevitable bittersweetness made logical sense. He didn’t go out of his way to craft something against reality (I know I’m trying to find common sense in a work of fiction; hear me out, though). Instead, he followed the progression laid out by the sequence of events. Does it tie everything up with a nice bow? That’s a matter for debate, considering you’re dealing with time and its loopholes. But it at least leaves the reader with a sense of accomplishment. (I didn’t feel an impulse to chuck the book across the room, at any rate)

They’re four girls on the verge of becoming teenagers. And despite everything they endure, they behave exactly like pre-teens confronted with images and concepts out of their worst nightmares. You can’t ask for more than that.

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