Paper Towns by John Green
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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, ask 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 he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.
When I first started reading John Green a few years ago, this was one of the first ones I had picked up. The first one I had read was An Abundance of Katherines, which still remains my favorite of his. Back then, Paper Towns didn’t impress me as much as his other works so I decided to give it another try.
I still found it kind of lacking. For me, in this particular book, it was really hard to get John Green out of my head. It didn’t feel like it was Quentin’s voice. It always felt like John’s voice and it was kind of frustrating. I watch a lot of Nerdfighters and Vlog Brothers and just John Green videos on YouTube, and I felt like it was John the whole time so it was hard to get into Quentin as a character. I know that authors put themselves into characters-I definitely do that-but it was highly distracting in this book.
I also just didn’t think it was that great of a story. I was kind of like Q’s friends, and sort of frustrated at his obsession with Margo. She seemed sort of…I don’t know. I just didn’t like her. She was so mysterious and she left these clues and everyone was fascinated by the idea of her but not actually her, you know? It was kind of “been there, done that.” I feel mean right now haha because I don’t tend to give less than positive reviews but I just wasn’t that impressed with this book. I felt like Margo was a one-dimensional character and I really wanted her to surprise me. The direction in which her story ended up just didn’t surprise me and I like a good book to surprise me. His other books have done that before, and this one just felt predictable from the beginning.
That being said, there is a lot of good about this book because John Green is a really great writer and he has a way of capturing teen voice in a way that not many authors can do (Andrew Smith!!!!!) and he definitely does that in Paper Towns as well. It always seems to me that John Green never really left his teen years behind, but in a good way. He remembers what its like and it comes across in the page. He gets the emotions and the hormones and the humor and all of it. Its great. And there were parts of the book that I really liked, like the after-prom party and the road trip and that sort of thing. There were parts that had me laughing like crazy. There were almost, like, short stories within the bigger story that I enjoyed more than the story as a whole. Not one of John Green’s strongest, not in my opinion.
3.75 out of 5 Stars