Friday, January 27, 2012

Book Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Dutton
Hardcover, 305 pages
Date Published: October 16, 2008
Source: Bought
Description (Taken from Goodreads): 
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.

Printz Medalist John Green returns with the trademark brilliant wit and heart-stopping emotional honesty that have inspired a new generation of readers.
 Going into Paper Towns is like diving into your absolute favorite food, only to discover that it is entirely different from what you expected. But it’s still really good.

See, the thing is, I loved Looking for Alaska and I adored Will Grayson, Will Grayson. So much so, that I think I expected Paper Towns to give me that same feeling right from the get-go, but it didn’t. I was into it, I really liked Quentin, and the idea of Margo Roth Spiegelman being such an enigma – or, as John Green likes to call beings such as her, a manic pixie dream girl. And the quirky dialogue between the two was fantabulous (I realize this isn’t a word, but it fits the situation).  But after Quentin and Margo’s one magnificent, adventurous night, I found myself hating Margo.

I think that’s expected. And maybe even encouraged. Because, let’s face it, Margo is not really all that great of a person. She’s selfish and self-centered, but she’s a manic pixie dream girl, so it’s okay. Quentin, on the other hand, is everything Margo isn’t. Where she’s wild and uncontrollable, he’s kind of boring and predictable, but he’s loyal and thinks before he acts. He’s also devoted to Margo in ways that don’t even make sense to him.

The push and pull, tension-filled relationship of Quentin and Margo drives the novel, only because Quentin refuses to let the girl go. Even when the girl goes…literally. The plot is based on human nature and the images we push onto others. Margo Roth Spiegelman is an enigma because her peers make her one. She coins the term paper town to describe the boring Florida suburb she lives in. She says the place has no substance, no dimension, thus, it is made of paper. And I think that kind of explains her too because everyone creates this image of her being this or that, but deep down, she’s none of those things. She’s a paper girl.

Getting from Margo Roth Spiegelman, the enigma, to Margo Roth Spiegelman, the normal girl, is quite the journey, for both Quentin and the reader. John Green has a natural talent for spinning tales that are so compellingly realistic that they tug at every single heartstring the body has, while making us smile at the same time. By the end of the book, I loved Quentin, I loved his friends Radar and Ben, I loved his sorta clueless parents who think he enjoys driving his mom’s mini-van, I loved the idea of people being comprised of only so many strings and once they’re all cut, we’re done for, and I even came to care for Margo.

Paper Towns will take the reader on an adventure without a true destination or endpoint. It’s a roadtrip without the map, but getting there and figuring out the mystery is the reason why it’s so fun. John Green fans will delight in this novel, thrive on the characters, and devour every single page. This book is just another reason why I look at John Green as a literary god. The man can do no wrong!

Opening line: The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. ~ pg. 3

Favorite lines/passages:
Standing before this building, I learn something about fear . . . This fear bears no analogy to any fear I knew before. This is the basest of all possible emotions, the feeling that was with us before we existed, before this building existed, before the earth existed. This is the fear that made fish crawl out onto dry land and evolve lungs, the fear that teaches us to run, the fear that makes us bury our dead. ~ pgs. 140-141

Wobbling between 4.5 and 5 on this one
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

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3 comments:

Britt said...

Glad you liked this one! This was actually the first John Green book I read, so it's interesting that you had ideas about what it would be like going in. I actually still haven't read Looking for Alaska or WG,WG but I own both!

Natalie (Mindful Musings) said...

I've never read a John Green book. NEVER! Seriously? How pathetic is that? Even the girls in my English Society were raving about The Fault in Our Stars last week. Though I DO own a copy of Paper Towns, so maybe I should read that one first...

Glad you enjoyed it, Nikki!

Loraine said...

I love your review! Here's mine: http://lorxiebookreviews.blogspot.com/2012/06/paper-towns-by-john-green.html , Have a nice day!

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