Friday, 15 June 2012

Book Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Publisher: Speak
Released: 2008
Summary: 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. Printz Medalist John Green returns with the trademark brilliant wit and heart-stopping emotional honesty that have inspired a new generation of readers. - Goodreads 

John Green delivers another smart and funny story for teens in his young adults novel Paper Towns. Green’s teenage protagonist, Quentin, is a geeky misfit who is infatuated with his enigmatic childhood best friend and neighbour, Margo Roth Spiegelman. When Margo reappears in Quentin’s life only to just as quickly disappear Quentin is left to follow the clues that will lead him to Margo. 

If this sounds familiar it may be because Green wrote a similar story about an offbeat unpopular boy and the unattainable mysterious girl he lusts after in his 2005 Printz Award winning novel Looking For Alaska. It would be unfair to write off Paper Towns as a paper cut-out of Green’s previous novel even though he travels a road he has travelled before. So maybe Quentin is reminiscent of Miles, and Margo resembles Alaska from Looking for Alaska, but so what? Green has found his writing niche and writes thoughtful stories with clever characters. 

The quick-witted dialogue and layers of meaning that he interweaves in his stories is masterful and young adult fiction at its best. Green brings to life all his characters that are, more often than not, a little bit quirky, but not just for quirks sake. They are real in a way that sometimes makes them unlikeable because they’re human, and they’re teenagers. Green not only writes solid three dimensional characters like Radar who edits entries for his online encyclopaedia Omnictionary and whose parents own the largest collection of black Santa’s, but he writes about things that matter. Just as Quentin struggles to align his idea of Margo with the reality of her, we are all limited in our ability to truly understand people and walk in their shoes. 

As long as John Green keeps writing his hilarious one-liners, razor-sharp dialogue and complex stories that actually appeal to young adults he can write about as many scrawny nerdy boys and the mystifying beautiful girls they love as he likes. 



  1. I absolutely loved this book, in fact I did a review of it! And then another one of his books. I'm dying to read Looking for Alaska, I figure, if he still manages to write such amazing stories we can forgive him for the self plagiarism.
    Great review. You're wonderfully written.

  2. Haven't heard of this one yet. Great review!

  3. I tried to start this one on a librarian's recommendation and didn't get far. Looks like I'll have to pick it up again! I've heard what a brilliant writer John Green is so I bought Looking for Alaska but haven't read it either. Looks like I have two more books to get to soon! I do love the idea that Radar edits entries for Omnictionary. Such a unique characteristic, which goes a long way in making a memorable impression.
    Very nice review!

  4. Just found your blog and I really like what I see :) New follower here!
    I just picked up this book at the library and after reading your review I think I'll be moving it to the top of my pile of books to read. I loved Looking For Alaska so it sounds like I'll really like Paper Towns as well. Thanks for the review!

  5. I keep starting this book and setting it down. I don't know why, but I just can't get into it. I know I'll like it once the story gets going, but I'm having trouble getting to that point.

    Thanks for the great review! You've made me want to go and give this book another chance.


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