Genres: Young adult, contemporary.
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.
Paper Towns is my first John Green novel. I know, I know. I’m so late, but now I have the advantage of buying and reading almost all (I’ve preordered The Fault in Our Stars) of his books straight away, which I will do, because I’ve decided that he’s awesome. His books have been on my “to read” list for a while but I was a little apprehensive about picking them up. I worried that they would just be typical young adult realistic fiction novels that involve a lot of romance, break-ups and teen angst but Paper Towns isn’t like this at all – it’s so much more than that.
The mystery aspect of the novel was a complete surprise as I tend to avoid reading book descriptions properly. I did skim over the “…middle of the night—dressed like a ninja” part, which I thought sounded a little silly. I was wrong. If I were standing next to Q when Margo Roth Spiegelman happened to come by that night, I would have stared at her in awe. I’m not a rebellious person at all but Paper Towns really did bring out my rebellious side. I just wanted to have a spontaneous road trip and do something completely uncharacteristic that I’ll remember forever. That’s what I think makes a good novel. Paper Towns makes you want to do something and it makes you feel something.
The ‘paper towns’ concept, and how it was incorporated into the story in different ways, was fascinating. The characters are also unique and have clear personalities. It’s rare that I view characters as people and not just characters, not just a name, but in this novel I did. I particularly liked Quentin and the personal journey he undertakes in this book. Another favourite character was Ben (is it just me or does anyone else picture him as McLovin from Superbad? I could just imagine him talking about ‘honeybunnies’). He’s hilarious. I loved all of the characters though, really.
Overall, I really, really loved this book. I can see now why so many people quote John Green’s work. He definitely has a talent for writing “re-readable” books. It wouldn’t be enough just read his books once because it’s all about the messages and the metaphors more so than the basic storyline. At least, that’s how I feel about Paper Towns. I have yet to see whether I feel the same about Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson.
If I had one small problem with the storyline, it’s that I didn’t like Margo at the end of the novel. I do, however, think that was the point. As many of the characters say: how we see people, and how we imagine them to be, isn’t necessarily who they really are.
There’s so many other things I could say about this book, but I will just say that, if you’ve not read any of John Green’s books, at least try them. You may be surprised.