Reviewed by Jenni Cahill
The Girl On Paper begins with a prologue, told through media reports and emails marking the relationship and subsequent break up of novelist Tom Boyd and classical pianist, Aurore Valencourt. Newspapers and magazines spread gossip of their house hunting, ring shopping and then fights in restaurants. Tom is devastated when Aurore leaves him and his life starts to spiral out of control with drink and drugs.
Tom is a successful author with the first part of his Angels trilogy becoming a bestseller and the second instalment is eagerly awaited. So the pressure is piled onto Tom as the deadline for the third and final Angels book looms but, due to his heartache over Aurore, Tom is unable to write. The mere thought of opening his laptop sends him into a panic but he must find a way to complete his manuscript to not only fulfil his publishing contract, but to save him and his best friend, Milo, from financial ruin.
Milo is Tom’s best friend, but he is also his agent and has foolishly lost all their money and assets. They will both lose everything they have worked hard for if Tom doesn’t finish his book. One stormy night, a naked woman appears in Tom’s house, claiming to be Billie Donnelly, a character from his novels. Once Billie manages to convince Tom she really is a character from his books, she makes a deal with him; she’ll help him win back Aurore if he finishes his third book in the trilogy, allowing her to go back home.
Before reading The Girl On Paper, I thought the idea behind the plot was an interesting concept. I don’t mind suspending belief for a good story, escaping into a world where the unbelievable can happen. I liked the way Billie arrived, falling out of a book when Tom needed guidance and motivation. Before Billie arrived, Tom was surviving on a cocktail of drugs, drinking himself into oblivion and getting into trouble with the police. Billie offers him the chance to turn his life around and together they set off on an adventure. I loved Billie. She was fun and feisty yet vulnerable underneath the surface. She doesn’t get off to a very good start with Tom, who just wants to be left alone. He won’t even let his friends help him so he isn’t pleased when Billie bulldozes her way into his life and tries to fix it. They start off bickering and sparring but slowly a friendship begins to form.
As well as finishing the third book, Tom and Billie must find the last remaining faulty copy of the second book, the one Billie fell from and has been accidentally thrown away. We see the journey the book takes, being passed on from person to person and travelling across continents. This was probably my favourite part of the book, seeing the snippets of the readers’ lives each time the book is passed on. If I had to pick one fault with The Girl On Paper it would be the ending. It wasn’t a bad ending, just not the one I was expecting and invested 400 plus pages on. I was a teeny bit disappointed, but it in no way ruined the book and I was pleased with the outcome.