Book Review: Paper Towns by John Green

2:41 PM Shannon McLeod 0 Comments

Recently, I finished reading Paper Towns by John Green. This is the third book I have read by him, after Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars. I'm a fan of John Green's characters. They are always dynamic and witty, and keep the reader on their toes. You never know what they're going to say or do next, which I quite enjoy.

For those who don't know what Paper Towns is about, let me give you a quick summary from the book description on the novel's Amazon page:

"When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q."

So now that we know what Paper Towns is about, let's get into the review (this will contain spoilers). The beginning of the book was fast paced as Q helped Margo on her quest for revenge against her cheating boyfriend and friends. I enjoyed the suspense of patiently waiting to see what in the world Margo needed all of those catfish for. Finding out that Margo planned this entire night in a matter of hours and was adventurous enough to act on it surprised me. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I knew then that Margo was an intelligent character not to be messed with.

The middle of the book slowed down substantially. Q spent all of his time thinking about Margo to the point of where she became his obsession. He spent his time reading the poem Margo provided for him and hung out in the abandoned minimall she led him to with her clues. What struck me as unrealistic was when Q figured out where Margo was and decided to skip his high school graduation to track her down and find her. His two best friends (Ben and Radar) and Margo's best friend (Lacey) decided to skip graduation to go with him. Why didn't their parents stop them? Why would you skip your high school graduation? It seemed like this wouldn't have happened, but I understood why it did. We needed the rising action and suspense of them in Q's van, wondering if they were going to make it to Margo in time before she left Agloe.

The end was the most interesting, thought-provoking section of the story. After a hilarious twenty hour drive where Ben had to pee at all the wrong times and a run in with a cow, they made it to Agloe, New York where they found Margo inside the abandoned general store. Q realized at this time that he never saw Margo. He saw what he wanted to see. Margo explained to them that she didn't want to be found. What I loved the most was when Margo told Q that she came to Agloe because it was a paper town that became real. She thought that if a paper girl came to what was once a paper town but was now a real thing, maybe she herself could become real and no longer be a part of the repetitious cycle of life (born, school, work, kids, retirement, grandkids, and death). That touched me and got me thinking about my own life and how I myself have felt like I was trapped inside the never-ending cycle of life that was already dictated for me.

John Green has always been great at tying all of the subplots and main plot together to create an affective ending that leaves the reader thinking long after finishing the book. His characters are always complex and humorous. His pace is almost on point throughout the whole book. The middle section is too slow and repetitive for my liking with Q obsessing over Margo and not making any progress towards finding her. I give this book 4/5 stars. It is not my favorite John Green book (that will always be Looking for Alaska), but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on it? How many stars would you give it?


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