Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Release Date: September 22, 2009
Paper Towns is the young adult novel about Quentin Jacobsen, the boy who has never really taken risks and values his routine. One night, Quentin’s life is changed when Margo Roth Spiegelman comes to his window and convinces him to accompany her on a mission to get revenge on all of the people who have wronged her. Quentin has loved Margo, his next door neighbor, since they were ten years old and throws caution to the wind in order to assist her. After a thrilling night, Quentin is convinced that Margo will leave the crowd of friends that have been a source of her unhappiness and decide to spend the rest of their senior year of high school with him. That is, until Margo does not show up to school the next day. After several days and an appearance by a police detective, Quentin takes the case into his own hands and decides to find Margo. With the help of Quentin’s friends, Ben and Radar, he begins to piece together the clues that Margo left behind. Before he can find Margo, though, he must first discover who Margo Roth Spiegelman really is.
The entire novel is told from Quentin’s point of view and I thought that Quentin was an incredibly likeable character. He is awkward and quirky and it makes him easy to relate to. Quentin’s friend, Radar, is incredibly smart and spends most of his time revising and adding entries onto an online database. I definitely preferred Radar to Quentin’s other friend, Ben, who referred to women as “honeybunny” and was pretty shallow. The dialogue between the three friends was all believable and I preferred their conversations to the ones that Green constructed in Looking for Alaska. I thought that the characters in this novel were much more realistic and much less pretentious than the ones in Looking for Alaska.
Margo Roth Spiegelman is the girl that Quentin is intent on finding and although I thought that he seemed almost unrealistically obsessed with her, at the point of putting his perfectly planned future in danger, I thought she was an interesting character. I think Green used her character in order to make a point of never really knowing a person and how appearances can be deceiving. Although Quentin is trying to physically find Margo throughout the book, he’s also trying to find out what kind of person she is within the clues she has left behind. Margo is a different person to everyone and I thought that the point that Green was trying to make was fascinating. John Green has a tendency to get slightly philosophical in his novels and Paper Towns is no exception. Quentin has several internal philosophical musings throughout the book, but I never thought that they were too much. I enjoyed the themes presented in this novel and thought that the characters made the story even more enjoyable.
I really liked this book. It was a fun young adult novel about finding yourself and learning to search deep to find others. I thought that the ending worked well with the overall story and I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good young adult novel to read. The characters were likeable and if you are a fan of John Green’s writing, you will not be disappointed.
The film adaptation of Paper Towns is scheduled to be released on July 24, 2015.
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