Book Review : Paper Towns By John Green

ImageTitle: Paper Towns
Author : John Green
Genre : Young Adult Fiction

After reading this book I am absolutely sure that John Green is not only one of my favorite authors, but he’s also one of my favorite people. The guy is a GENIUS. Yes a CAPS LOCK genius. Him being that, ‘Paper Towns’ is one book I have skeptical views on. It kinda did not live up to my expectations. Some parts of this book are out-of-the-world beautiful, while some parts just make you go like ‘WHAAAT?’

And umm, by the way, SPOILERS AHEAD. (You have been warned)

Quentin Jacobsen is a senior in High School. He’s the son of two therapists which makes him (or so he says) the most well-adjusted teenager in the world. He has two best friends: Ben and Radar. Radar is not his real name, just a nickname that got stuck.

Then there’s the famous neighbor slash crush, Margo Roth Spiegelman. A girl with such a powerful personality, that you can only call her by her full name. Margo and Q used to be really good friends when they were younger. But then they grew up and Margo became popular while Q stayed just Q.

That is until one night, Margo shows up at his bedroom window in the middle of the night, inviting him to an adventure that he will remember the rest of his life. After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school (hoping to be friends with her again) 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 he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part, mainly consists of introduction of the characters and ‘THE NIGHT’. I loved it. It was funny and spontaneous. It was nice to see the reunion of Margo and Q. The second part, the part of finding and deciphering clues, left me slightly confused and sometimes irritated.

A person, who a week ago, was so excited to finish his high school, and was looking forward to the last couple of weeks of his senior year and graduation, is compelled to look for a girl, who- later we find out- didn’t not even want to be found. He is pretty sure that he must be the one to find her.
He spends his time pouring over Walt Whitman’s ‘Song of Myself‘, trying to understand what Margo was thinking and where she could be. Luckily for Q, his best friends are all up for the adventure to find Margo. But when they aren’t, when they just want to be teenagers, Q is angry with them for not being more invested in the search for Margo.
I would have been okay with this, only if the ending wasn’t what it was.

When Q and friends finally do find where Margo is, they take a road trip across the country to find her. This part is very exhilarating, and makes you so excited since you spent two-thirds of the book gathering clues with Quentin. They go to this Paper Town, called Agloe, New York, where they find Margo literally living in a barn. I was actually happy she wasn’t dead or anything. You can’t rely too much on John Green for keeping the protagonist alive.

What I didn’t anticipate was Margo’s reaction to them finding her. I thought there will be frantic screaming of relief and a teary reunion. Instead it’s the opposite. She just stands there awkwardly. Infact the first thing she says is ‘what the hell are you doing here?’
The least she could have done was express her gratitude and that, if not her parents, then atleast there were others who cared about her.
It was very weird.
With every page nearing towards the end, I was like ‘no nooo it wasn’t supposed to end like this.’ I was quite sure that she wouldn’t be coming back home, but it still could have had a better ending.

Since I have already read ‘Looking For Alaska’, I felt that this book is very similar to it. Margo is very much like Alaska : Erratic, slightly selfish, hard to understand. In short, unpredictable. I’m not sure if she is supposed to be liked.

I read this book too fast, since it became impossible to tear my eyes off it. It felt as if the clues were for us too! It felt that maybe we’ll be able to figure out where Margo was before Q. So that made me go on. There was a lot of poetry in it though, and since I have 0 experience in it, a lot of it went past my head.
It might just be least favorite of my John Green books.

My Favorite Paper Towns Quotes:

“That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfast cereals based on color instead of taste.”

“The fundamental mistake I had always made – and that she had, in fairness, always led me to make – was this: Margo was not a miracle. She was not an adventure. She was not a fine and precious thing. She was a girl.”

“Nothing ever happens like you imagine it will . . . But then again, if you don’t imagine, nothing ever happens at all.

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One comment

  1. Utsav · January 19, 2014

    So is it mentioned in the book why she wasn’t happy reuniting with her friends?

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