Sunday, August 26, 2012

Book #47: Paper Towns

Book #47: Paper Towns by John Green
5/5 stars

This is the second book by John Green that I've read so far and I'm hooked! I previously read and reviewed Looking for Alaska, also by John Green, and can't decide which of these I like better. I can't wait to read more of his novels. Though cataloged as YA, Green's books have more depth than most of what I read in middle and high school.

Paper Towns is about a high school senior, Quentin, who is nicknamed "Q" and lives in Orlando, Florida. For most of his life, Q has been infatuated with his next-door neighbor and childhood friend, Margo Roth Spiegelman. The once inseparable duo have not spoken much since they grew up, and Margo became the school's "It Girl", even though they still live mere feet away from one another.

However, one night, a few weeks before prom and graduation, Margo comes to Q's window in the middle of the night, as she did when they were kids, dressed in all black like a ninja. She has an eleven-step plan for revenge against the peers who have wronged her recently, and she needs Q's assistance. Confused but intrigued, Q goes along with Margo for a strange, crazy night that includes everything from taking blackmail pictures, to leaving dead fish in people's cars, to breaking into Sea World. All of the steps are completed leaving a half hour to sleep before school that day.

Q is left wondering how he and Margo will interact in the daylight after the incidents of the previous night, but Margo doesn't show up to school that day, or the next or even the next. Q begins to worry about her, though this is not the first time she's run away, this is certainly the longest. Q searches for and finds clues that Margo has left, to lead him to her he presumes. He enlists the help of his two eclectic best friends: Ben, an inappropriate band geek whose favorite pastimes include playing video games and fantasizing about the hot girls who don't even notice him, and "Radar" (whose real name is Marcus), a computer nerd whose parents own the largest collection of black Santas in the world.

This quirky, intelligent novel kept me laughing out loud (especially about the black Santas, which by the way, are displayed all year round at Radar's house), and guessing at the mysteries surround Margo. I found her to be similar to Alaska, from Looking For Alaska, in that she was an enigma, and while intelligent and popular, she seemed somewhat lost in the world.

Paper Towns is written in the signature John Green style that reads so easily, yet makes the reader think deeply about life. It's so different from some of the YA novels I read as a young adult myself, where all of the main characters get drunk and do stupid things all the time. The characters in this book do party occasionally, but there is more to them than that. Paper Towns served to further my obsession with Green's writing, and offered a new, interesting perspective on young adults.

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