Title: Paper Towns
Authtor: John Green
Published: October 16th 2008
Length: 305 pages (Hardcover)
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
“Here’s what’s not beautiful about it: from here, you can’t see the rust or the cracked paint or whatever, but you can tell what the place really is. You can see how fake it all is. It’s not even hard enough to be made out of plastic. It’s a paper town. I mean, look at it, Q: look at all those culs-de-sac, those streets that turn in on themselves, all the houses that were built to fall apart. All those paper people living in their paper houses, burning the future to stay warm. All the paper kids drinking beer some bum bought for them at the paper convenience store. Everyone demented with the mania of owning things. All the things paper-thin and paper-frail. And all the people, too. I’ve lived here for eighteen years and I have never once in my life come across anyone who cares about anything that matters.”
I’m really glad I have finally read another John Green novel! He is an extraordinary writer, who puts a lot of thought into his words, his characters and the plots of his stories, which I really appreciate as a reader. So when my english teacher told us to pick a book to read in class, I chose this one. I knew I wanted a contemporary book with humour, some seriousness and something to tell the world. From my experience with TFiOS, I was certain another book by John Green would fit the bill.
It’s weird because I don’t usually like these kinds of covers (you know, faces), but I think this one is fine. Not a favourite or anything (it kind of affected how I imagined Margo), but the colours are nice, and her eyes kind of lures you in.
The plot of Paper Towns was sometimes ridiculously funny, unexpected, surprising, and interesting, but I found some parts slightly too slow. To be honest, I didn’t really feel the urge to keep on reading when nothing had happened for a while, which resulted in me taking 19 days to finish it. Though it was a really entertaining, well-written book, this kind of lowered my rating of it.
The characters in this story were great, though! I really liked Quentin, even though he was always late and never thought about anything but Margo Roth Spiegelman. Ben was hilarious, even though he was an asshole. Margo was alluring and interesting, even though she only cared about herself most of the time.
This is, in my eyes, part of what the book is really about. That you have to accept people for who they are, both others and yourself. To see both the good and the bad. Nobody’s perfect, not even Margo Roth Spiegelman.
All his life, Quentin has put Margo on a pedestal. In his eyes, she is this goddess, invincible and fearless, but throughout the story, he realizes he doesn’t really know her at all. That the Margo in his head, isn’t the true Margo. He hasn’t seen her through a window, but a mirror.
I also think John Green wanted to teach his readers that it can be hard to break free from the things that holds you back, but that it might be good for you. It can make you realize things about yourself that you didn’t know before.
I find it hard to really describe the ways both Paper Towns and TFiOS have affected me, so I guess my advice to you is to simply pick up the books and find out for yourself :).
To wrap this up, here you have some pros and cons :)
+ The relationship between Q and his friends. The dialogue between them was really funny, and they brought out a different side of Quentin.
+Quentins parents. Also hilarious!
+The crazy adventures.
+The mysteries and the clues.
+/- The poetry. This was a big part of the plot and it fitted the story, but I’m really bad at understanding poems. Therefore, I found it pretty boring when Q spent a lot of time just reading and analysing poems.
+/- The roadtrip. It had some fun parts, but was also very slow.
– Q’s last conversation with Margo didn’t feel completely realistic.
It’s a bit hard for me to rate this book since some parts were really great, and some parts less great. My expectations weren’t entirely met, but I still think I have to give it…
Here are some of my favourite quotes :). Paper Towns had so many great things to say and was incredibly funny, so it was really hard for me to pick them out. Prepare yourself ;)
“But then again, in sixth grade, Jase promised not to punch my arm if I ate a live earthworm, so I ate a live earthworm and then he punched me in the face.” “And I don’t really have anyone upon whom I want to rain down my wrath,” I said, because in truth I didn’t. I always felt like you had to be important to have enemies. Example: Historically, Germany has had more enemies than Luxembourg, Margo Roth Spiegelman was Germany. And Great Britain. And the United States. And czarist Russia. Me, I’m Luxembourg. Just sitting around, tending sheep, and yodeling.”
“In the end, I had to call myself a faggot, which really annoyed me, because 1. I don’t think that word should ever be used by anyone, let alone me, and 2. As it happens, I am not gay, and furthermore, 3. Chuck Parson made it out like calling yourself a faggot was the ultimate humiliation, even though there’s nothing at all embarrassing about being gay.”
“Can we call Ben then?” “No, Ben’s an asshole.” Radar looked at me sideways. “Of course he is. You know your problem, Quentin? 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. My parents have a shit ton of black Santas, but that’s okay. They’re them. 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.”