Paper Girls, Volume 1

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Paper Girls, Volume 1 Book Poster Image
Female newsies face aliens in fun sci-fi adventure.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Paper Girls points out the differences between 1988 and the present. It depicts a diverse group of 12-year-olds working together against a common enemy.

Positive Messages

Friends stick together in times of trouble. A person's personality doesn't always match his or her looks.


The girls fight two teens from the future and are attacked by an alien. One of the girls is accidentally shot in the abdomen. Another threatens two adults with the same weapon. Visitors from the future use some sort of ray gun against their enemies.


Thinking the world has ended, a minor character tries to kiss the girl he's with, only to be pushed away.


"Goddamn," "faggot," "s--t," "bitch," "hell," "a--hole," and "f--k" are each used one or two times.


A plot point hinges on the sudden appearance of the Apple logo.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Twelve-year-old McKenzie Coyle regularly smokes cigarettes. Her mother is an alcoholic and is drunk when the papergirls visit.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Paper Girls collects the first five issues of the ongoing comics series by writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Cliff Chiang. Set in 1988, it tells the story of four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls who witness incredibly strange events during their early morning rounds. The characters occasionally use strong language, including one or two instances each of "goddamn," "faggot," "s--t," "bitch," "hell," and "f--k." One of the girls is a regular smoker, and her mother is an alcoholic. Violent scenes include a fight with teens from the future, an attack by an alien, and an accidental shooting.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byEmily C. August 29, 2017

Great comic for teenagers and up

It's a Stranger Things that doesn't shy away from the bad parts of the 80s, focuses more on the sci if than the romance, and centers around a group of... Continue reading
Parent of a 9 and 9-year-old Written byEmi B. August 28, 2017

Graphic Graphic Novel

I guess if you want to read science-fiction about time travel and intergalactic-intergenerational violence, you might as well do so with pretty pictures of mult... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byReview the Simpsons September 9, 2019

Paper girls

Kid, 10 years old February 12, 2017

Great book! Bad role models though...

It is a great book but language is often used. There is swearing on every panel pretty much. Also a characters mom is tipsy. There are several dark subjects and... Continue reading

What's the story?

As PAPER GIRLS begins, newspaper deliverers Tiffany, KJ, Erin, and MacKenzie are out on their suburban routes before dawn on the morning after Halloween. After Tiffany and KJ are jumped by three mysterious figures in "ghost costumes," the four girls break into an abandoned house to retrieve Tiffany's stolen walkie-talkie. In the basement, they discover a bizarre artifact that looks like an alien spacecraft. After they examine it, the sky erupts in vivid colors and all sorts of strange things begin to happen, including the arrival of flying dinosaurs.

Is it any good?

While aimed at readers older than its four main characters, this tale of four tweens dealing with mysterious goings-on in a Cleveland suburb expertly mixes '80s nostalgia with cutting-edge sci-fi. Author Brian K. Vaughan and artist Cliff Chiang do an exemplary job of distinguishing each of the main characters, capturing her distinct personality through dialogue and facial expressions. There's a lot of plot to keep track of, and nothing much is resolved in the first five issues, but older teen comics fans will enjoy the snappy wordplay, can-do attitude, plot twists, and tantalizing mysteries that mark this ongoing comics series.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Paper Girls mixes an everyday setting with science-fictional events. How has science shaped how we think about the future?

  • What role does violence play in Paper Girls? Are there times when violence is unavoidable?

  • How do children and adults act differently when confronted by a strange and dangerous situation?

Book details

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