Book Review: Paper Towns by John Green

paper towns

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Quentin Jacobsen has spent the majority of his life in love with his next door neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman. Although they are next door neighbors, they are more acquaintances than friends.  But that all changes one night when Margo invites Quentin to an adventure of a lifetime.  While Quentin thinks this is a turning point in his nonexistent relationship with Margo, the next day Margo disappears.  This isn’t the first time Margo has runaway, and while her parents have finally had enough and changed the front lock, Quentin is sure that Margo has left clues for him to find her.  As Quentin unravels the clues Margo has left behind, he realizes that the Margo he’s pined for might not be who Margo really is.

I picked up Paper Towns because I loved (who didn’t?) The Fault in Our Stars. Although I did enjoy Paper Towns, I generally shy away from YA books because I am no longer a young adult and as I am not the intended audience, this genre doesn’t always speak to me like other fiction books. That being said, Paper Towns did take me back to high school, with all its awkwardness and insecurities.  Quentin is a great character, bolstered by his best friends Ben and Radar.  His last night with Margo was amazing.  It was fun, brilliant, and wildly entertaining.  But after she leaves, Quentin is left to wonder what that night was all about, where Margo is, and how to get her back.

While I did like Quentin, I didn’t really care for Margo.  She encompasses all the dreadful characteristics of teenagers, mainly self-centeredness.  One reason I didn’t completely love Paper Towns is because I didn’t quite understand Margo, and her need to run away.  Her family life, while tumultuous with the strained relationship with her mother, did not seem to tragic or dramatic that made it worth running away (of course this is where me not being a young adult anymore probably is a disadvantage).

Overall, Paper Towns was enjoyable. It’s about getting to know people as they are and not confining them to perceptions and desires.  While this won’t get the tears rolling like The Fault in Our Stars, it is a decent read with great characters.

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