Paper Towns: Book Review

paper towns book coverBook: Paper Towns by John Green

Publisher: Dutton Books

Year: 2008

Genre: YA, Mystery

Pages: 305

Rating: ☆☆☆ – Above average

Who’s going to be in the movie?
Nat Wolff (the blind kid in The Fault In Our Stars)
Cara Delevingne (model for Burberry, Mulberry, Dolce & Gabbana and Jason Wu, and Mother Chucker in Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood”)

When can I watch?
July 24

What’s it about?
Quentin “Q” Jacobsen has been in love with his neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman, since their childhood. Margo is more beautiful, more carefree, more funny, more popular and just more than anyone else Q has ever met. But despite being next door neighbors, Q and Margo haven’t been friends since they were kids.

That is until one night Margo sneaks out and asks for Q’s help for a night of pranks, mayhem and revenge. Margo pushes Q way outside his comfort zone (and into a moat…). After their adventurous all-nighter Q goes to school wondering how that night might change his relationship with Margo. But much to his disappointment, Margo has run away (again). At first no one is concerned – it’s not the first time Margo has left town for a few days without telling anyone. But as the days go by Q’s concern grows and he begins to find clues Margo left for him.

With the help of his best friends, Ben and Radar, Q is on a mission to solve this riddle and starts looking for Alaska Margo.

What did you think?
Didn’t I already read Looking For Alaska? Q and Margo are pretty much the same as Miles AKA Pudge and Alaska. Margo/Alaska is the girl you want to be (although I personally don’t care to be either) and Q/Pudge is the boy you want to give a big bear hug to and feed cookies. Q/Pudge is the sweet, shy, thoughtful, lovable, wide-eyed boy that is hopelessly in love with beautiful, wild, charismatic, brilliant and unattainable Margo/Alaska. So since I’ve already read Looking for Alaska, a lot of it felt kind of repetitive. They’re good and interesting characters, but nothing felt new about Q or Margo. But I kind of hate Margo…this might be an unpopular opinion but I think she’s a b!tch.

I get that some people run away or harm themselves or do a multitude of self destructing things as a cry for help, but that does not seem to be Margo’s MO. She just seems flaky, foolish and selfish. She doesn’t even make it clear as to whether Q will find her alive or dead at the end of her little game. Instead of leaving cryptic messages and clues for Q, she could have just left him a note explaining herself. But no, the world had to revolve around the mystery of Margo and she couldn’t make it easy for anyone. But if she did leave a note for Q that would make a very short and very boring book. So literarily, I know Margo has to leave clues for him. But it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I might have shot myself in the foot by reading The Fault In Our Stars before reading any other John Green books. So far I’ve red three of his books and TFIOS is by far the best one. I keep holding his other books to that standard and keep being disappointed. Not that I didn’t like Paper Towns, I actually really enjoyed it. It’s like wanting a home cooked meal but getting Chicken McNuggets; both are great and delicious, but Chicken McNuggets just weren’t what you were looking for.

Now that I’ve talked about what I didn’t like about Paper Towns I can start praising the good stuff. Yay! I can’t talk about a John Green book without applauding his writing. His writing is equally beautiful and witty. Even during parts when I wasn’t loving the story or characters I still loved reading Paper Towns simply because of the way John Green writes. I want to live in a world where people think and talk like John Green characters – that is, if there were more Qs, Radars, Bens, Pudges, Colonels, Hazels, Gus’s and Isaacs than there were Margos.

Another thing that I love about Paper Towns is the theme of perceptions and expectations vs. reality. There’s a reoccurring idea that people may not actually be how you see them to be, and about not holding who someone is against themselves. My favorite passage from Paper Towns is about that theme, my man Radar summed it up well:

“You keep expecting people not to be themselves. I mean, I could hate you for being massively unpunctual and for never being interested in anything other than Margo Roth Spiegelman, and for, like, never asking me about how it’s going with my girlfriend – but I don’t give a shit, man, because you’re you… I’m too obsessed with a reference website to answer my phone sometimes when my friends call, or my girlfriend. That’s okay, too. That’s me. You like me anyway. And I like you. You’re funny, and you’re smart, and you may show up late, but you always show up eventually.”

Should I read it?
If you like John Green books then you’ll probably like this. If you haven’t read John Green then this isn’t a bad place to start. You can buy Paper Towns at Barnes & Noble for pretty cheap.

Here’s the Paper Towns trailer:

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