July 20, 2011

Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Hardcover 305 pages
Published October 18, 2008 by Dutton Juvenile
When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night— dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—, he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’'s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they'’re for Q.

 John Green’s voice makes it nearly impossible for you to not enjoy his books. Even if I hadn’t enjoyed the story, I think I would have kept reading just for the voice.

Paper Towns is brilliant. There are so many themes and metaphors and ideals littered throughout the story that I’m fairly certain I didn’t grasp them all. This story made me angry, and then sad, and then literally laughing out loud.  Their road trip is by far my favorite part of this novel, and surprisingly, so was the ending. I’d heard some people say it wasn’t really the ending they were hoping for, so I was expecting to dislike it. But no. I loved it.

I love these characters. All except Margo, who happens to be the most self-centered character I’ve read about in a long time. I couldn’t find a single redeeming quality in her, despite Quentin’s obsession with her and her clues. She just really….ugh. And Q annoyed me a few times throughout the story as well, driven by this obsession and making some silly decisions for this girl he didn’t really know. Yeah, I realize that is the point. He didn’t know her, he was obsessed with the idea of her. Still, it was annoying. I didn’t like the change in him. Luckily, there are so many characters I loved that balanced out what I didn’t like.

Nearly everything about this story is real. There are so many moments that made me actually stop to think about life and the way we see things. About human nature. It’s rare that a book has that effect on me.

The one thing I didn’t like (aside from a couple select characters) was the fact that Q’s friends went along with this little Margo mystery. Would they really care? They had lives of their own, after all. And some weren’t so shy about their feelings toward Margo and her actions. And yet they went along, which seems a tad unbelievable. It’s probably the only thing about this story that didn’t feel…natural.

Paper Towns had flaws. The characters were flawed. But these were intentional flaws, realistic flaws, and for this reason, I think this book near perfect.

4.5/5 Stars


  1. John Green is a genius, isn't he? Have you read Looking for Alaska? So good! As for Paper Towns, I thought it was brilliant.

  2. I haven't read that one yet, but now I really want to. Paper Towns was my first John Green book though I've watched his vlogs for a long time. I'm going to get Looking for Alaska soon, though!

  3. This was the first book by John Green I ever read. I loved it. I'm glad you enjoyed it as well.


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