Book Reviews

Paper Towns by John Green

*Originally posted on Southern Bred, Southern Read Blog on 01/10/15*

I want to start by saying that I think it is impossible for John Green to write a bad book. Seriously, everything I’ve read by him makes me feels all sorts of stuff and makes me fall even more in love with his writing style. He is witty and the story is full of dry humor.

Q is an ordinary guy that is about to graduate high school. He makes good grades and stays out of trouble. He is planning on leaving Florida behind and going to college at Duke. Every thing is going as planned until one night his next door neighbor of almost all of his life, Margo Roth Spiegelman, knocks on his bedroom window and persuades him into coming with her for a night of mischief. The two spend the night righting wrongs and wronging rights of their classmates who they will soon be saying goodbye to soon after graduation. At the end of the night, Margo says her goodbyes to Q as well. She then disappears, and when she doesn’t come to school the following week it is apparent that she has runaway from her life. Q spends the rest of the book on a treasure hunt of sorts trying to find out if Margo is leading him to her, whether it be her dead or alive.

I’ll be honest, I had a lot of ups and downs with this book. Mostly ups, but there is a chunk of the book where Q is on the hunt following clues that he thinks will lead him closer to Margo, but really he is just chasing his tail in a circle. His friends get frustrated with him, he gets frustrated with himself, everyone gets frustrated with Margo, and I just wanted someone to get to the point. I feel like John Green was trying to do a lot of character building during this chunk, which I appreciate, but it didn’t really add much to the plot. You get some deep insights on how to view people and why people do things the way they do them, and you also learn a lot about Walt Whitman.
The characters are pretty amazing. I think my favorite character is Radar because he is the person in their group of friends who is the most logical. He is also the one that is there when Q needs him, despite whatever else is going on. I love the comedic relief that Ben brings, but he is that friend who dumps you as soon as they get a girlfriend and they’re that friend that fixates on wanting do whatever it takes to move up the social ladder and be cool. Ben is still a good friend to Q, but I feel like neither one of them are the best friends that they could be to each other.

I spent most of the book disliking Margo, to be honest. I really, really loved her at the beginning of the book during her adventure with Q, but as the book went on, I found myself disliking her. I felt like what she was putting everyone through was so selfish. When we started to learn more about the why’s, I felt more sympathetic towards her but in the end, I still think she behaves like a child who can’t handle life and needs to get away. Lacy on the other hand really surprised me and went from being one of the token mean girls to really coming and being an integral part of the ending of the book. I really wish Angela, Radar’s girlfriend, would have had more air time. She was really funny and witty, so I think she could have added a lot to the characters.

My favorite parts of the book is the adventure between Q and Margo at the beginning. Right from the get go it pulls you in and gets you hooked. After that, my other favorite part is the the road trip that the group takes. I was laughing with tears coming down my face with a certain incident that required Ben to use a bottle. The cow incident was also pretty hilarious in a morbid, poop your pants kind of way.

Overall, I think this is a great book. If you like John Green’s writing, then this book will be no exception. It is a great contemporary novel that focuses on angsty teens and lessons they have to learn in order to grow. I’d also like to recommend The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider. It reminds me SO much of Paper Towns. The main female character, Cassidy, is very much like Margo and I found myself feeling the same things towards both of them. These are both great books, and I think they should be on everyone’s TBR list because I think everyone will pull away different things from the stories depending on their own life experiences.

Also, Paper Towns will be released as a movie in June of this year. I checked out the actors that are going to be in it, and I think it is spot on! I LOVE the actress (Cara Delevingne) that is cast for Margo. I think she is going to do an excellent job. I really can’t wait to see this movie. I hope all John Green books get made into movies.

4/5 stars

-Leah

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