Paper Planes is a lovely romance and one I quite enjoyed for 2/3rds of the book. Once the two are together and in love the final 50 pages are slice of life details as the two figures out where they will live and the various details of their life together. It’s sweet and romantic yet I was missing that sense of purpose and need to read, which had my interest in the story petering out. If I’d ended the book once the two got together I don’t feel like I would have missed something important. At the same time however these two men are warm, charming, and mature with an easy, uncomplicated and drama free romance that will appeal to fans who want something light and satisfying.
The story begins with photographer Stuart on a plane. Stuart explains through internal monologue that his long time partner died on a hijacked plane and Stuart is now giving memorial speeches in his name. Although flying doesn’t bother Stuart he makes a point to thank the pilot of the flight, Dustin, which creates a spark between the two men. A chance encounter leads to more and although it takes months and more than a few miles in distance, the two eventually fall in love and live happily ever after.
The plot itself is very easy and drama free. The men are rational, intelligent, and well adjusted men. Here the characterization certainly shines as both Stuart and Dustin have lost loved ones to a plane crash and AIDS respectively, but remain very normal. There are no big dramatics ever as both men are pretty much over any pain and hardship from their lost partners. Stuart’s journey is more immediate with a few tears and questions but both men are able to communicate, sympathize and understand each other so there is no need for hysterics or big misunderstandings. They get together, communicate well, fall in love, and live together.
For some readers this may not have enough angst and drama but for others who like an easy, uncomplicated read this story may shine. The plot is character driven and easy to read with Stuart as the third person narrator. I found Stuart and Dustin’s pasts and various details about their characters more than enough to keep my interest. It’s only once they got together that my attention started to wander as the remaining sex scenes and life details were nice but blended together slightly. I can’t really complain though as the lack of any real angst shows the characters’ maturity and emotional stability, which is definitely something different from a lot of romance stories.
The writing is solid with few distractions. The various secondary characters are nice but forgettable. Dustin is an interesting character and his uniqueness in many areas makes him compelling and a good foil for Stuart. Together the men aren’t necessarily the most dynamic and fascinating but they’re charming, warm, and satisfying. This story will definitely appeal most to those that like uncomplicated and easy romances without all the angst, tears, and drama.