Monday, February 18, 2013

Book Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Pages: 305
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: October 16, 2008
Source: Personal copy
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life - dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge - he follows. After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues - and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer Q gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew."

Geeky Quentin Jacobsen lives a normal high school existence, but he just so happens to live next to the very popular Margo Roth Spiegelman.  When they were children, they used to play together, go to the park together, and they even shared a scary event together when they were young.  Things have changed though.  Margo has elevated herself into the upper echelon of high school hierarchy and only hangs out with the cool kids, whereas, Quentin, or Q, is the polar opposite.  They haven't talked in years, but one night that all changes.  Margo enters Quentin's room on a whim and is dressed in black. She has a plan to get back at her ex-boyfriend and a few others, but needs Q to drive.  Of course taking his mother's car without permission and staying out all night terrifies him, but he decides to accompany her on her all-night plan of revenge.  Hilarity ensues while Margo and Q reconnect again.  Q thinks that maybe things will change and perhaps she will hangout with him at school before they graduate.  However, things are never as they seem and after their night together, she disappears.  John Green's Paper Towns is a stellar read for those who love a little mystery, young love, an adventure, and a smart read.  One thing is for sure: Green writes young adults like no other author out there.  

Q is on a mission to find Margo and his adventure is all-consuming in Paper Towns.  There's even an epic road trip involving Q and his band of nerdy friends.  Their antics, trash talk and witty dialogue had me laughing out loud.  My favorite characters are Ben and Radar, Q's best friends.  Their one-liners and comments are laugh out loud worthy.  Even though I really couldn't connect with Q and his obsession with Margo, I think Green really captures young adults and how that first love is all consuming.

Green captures what teenagers have to go through so well...probably better than any other young adult author out there.  Paper Towns is a funny read, but it also has an important message and is so insightful.  His writing one minute has me spewing coffee, because it's THAT funny and the next wanting to write down a quote that is so beautiful.  Here are some of my favorite quotes from Paper Towns:

* “What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.” 
*  “It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.” 
*  “When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out.”
I had no idea what "paper towns" were until reading this story and going on Q's quest with him.  By the end of the novel, readers will understand the deeper meaning and true meaning of "paper towns," which I thought it was pretty interesting.  Green really knows how to make a reader think.

Even though Paper Towns isn't my favorite read, I can't deny how much I love Green's writing style and the way he tells a story.  I plan on reading more of his books in the future; I'm a huge fan!


  1. *sigh* I think I'm the only person EVER to not have read a single book by John Green. I think I need to start with The Fault in Our Stars since everyone raves about that one, but this sounds like a fabulous read as well even if it's not quite as good. Love an author whose books make me think!

  2. Dammit. My last comment got eaten. Fail.

    Anyway, I was saying that I haven't read a John Green book yet and I feel like I might be the only person in the world at this point:) Even though this one isn't quite as good as The Fault in Our Stars, I still really want to read:)

    1. I hate when that happens. You need to read a John Green book- you'd love his writing style and his characters. I hope you get to soon! Thanks for stopping by, Jenny!

  3. Paper Towns sounds great -- it is the ONLY John Green book that I have not yet read. Sigh. So I keep saving it for later.

    Also. I love smart and funny mysteries. So this sounds fantastic. <3

    1. I need to read more of John Green's books...loving them so far! I hope you get to read Paper Towns soon--thanks for stopping by, April!


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