Title: Paper Towns by John Green
Summary: (from Goodreads) 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.
Review: I have read all of John Green's book (because he's only actually written three... well 3 1/2 because he co-authored something, but I digress.) Looking for Alaska was the first and it blew me away. I was expecting An Abundance of Katherines to do the same and it didn't. However, Paper Towns managed to accomplished everything I wished Katherines had.
The first thing that made me fall in love with this book was it's humor. I was expecting Katerines to be really funny and it really wasn't. Paper Towns however, was hysterical. At one point I literally had to put the book down I was laughing so hard. Tears came to my eyes and I just still couldn't stop laughing. I feel like Green captured my high school years in this book. I can't remember the last time I laughed so much at a book.
Green's ability to portray high school is one of the best that I've read. High school is a multitude of people that often fall into stereotypes. And, just as often, those stereotypes are broken by some unseen force that no one understands. We always expected a certain type of girl/boy to be popular. We expect cheerleaders to date football players. So when the cheerleader starts dating a band nerd, it messes with your head a little. But at the same time, we all saw it happen in high school (well, I did anyways.)
The type of person Green chose to make the protagonist also made me happy. I was a hardcore, 100% band nerd in high school (ok, in college too.) I have actually started a sentence with the words, "this one time, at band camp." Quintin, our protagonist, isn't a band nerd himself, but hangs out with all of the band members. We see their quirks and how they're just like the rest of the school in a lot of ways but at the same time, have been ostracized because they do something just a little bit different. I liked seeing Q fit himself into this world, one foot on each side of the social line.
Margo, this girl that Q is in love with and next-door neighbors with, runs off. And her reasoning for doing was partly because she realized she needed to go somewhere else to figure out her life. The other reason was just because she wanted to be the center of attention. It's so conflicting and human. It's part of the process, learning how to be you and realizing that often, you're not going to be able to be the center of attention but that doesn't mean you stop being important.
Q actually did annoy me at some points. Margo runs away very early on in the book and Q spends it looking for her. He gets so whiny and self-absorbed though that I just kind of want to punch him in the face. There are so many times that Margo becomes this weird sort of unhealthy obsession that I just had a hard time relating to. I guess it's because it would take a LOT for me to act the way to my friends that he sometimes acted towards his for a person that I wasn't even dating.
I do like that he's not always friends with his friends, though (even if the reasoning behind it is a little ridiculous.) They're different from each other and they fight and that's great to read in a book because it's reality. You're not always friends with your friends. Sometimes you fight and that's fine. They're relationships like everything else and it's refreshing to see that in literature.
Q, despite how much he annoyed me sometimes, I actually ended up liking by the end of it. He had turned into this great character who knew what he wanted. And he knew that it wasn't what Margo wanted. So, despite the fact that he was in love with this girl, he went home because that's what he wanted. They went their separate ways, like it so often happens in life.
Margo was the only character that I disliked throughout the whole book. I understood her need to leave. Going to college is not the route for everyone and it wasn't for her. I even understood her fights with her mother. She just... never seemed to really figure herself out like the rest of them had. She never quite changed despite the fact that everyone around her had. Maybe that makes the book more real, because not everyone does, but she just bothered me even though she wasn't in 90% of the book.
I also liked the spontaneous road trip to find Margo at the end of the book. It was easily my favorite part. This book, that started off so much like a romance, became a book about friends. It became about this group of people that jumped into a car to drive to NY instead of graduating because it was important to their friend, because that's what you do for friends that you love.
At the end of the day, I really felt like Green had observed me and my friends for all our lives and then turned us into guys and put us in a book. I've never seen my life, my personality along with all the quirks and wonderful things about my friends, put into a book like this.
I really feel like this was a book written for all the band geeks of the world. I've never actually seen someone grasp the mentality like Green does. That being said, I think it limits the audience. I laughed over and over again because I could see my friends and I in every situation, playing things out just like they played out in Green's book. If you don't relate to the book like I did, then it's probably not going to be that good.
You can read this review and all others on my Goodreads account.
Books so far this year: 51/50
Currently reading: Dangerous Liaisons by Pierre LaClos