By John Green, published by Bloomsbury.
Quentin (Q) Jacobson is the soon-to-graduate boy who has always loved his neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman from a distance. One night, she enters his room through the window and summons him to join her on a well planned night where Margo’ll take revenge on uninteresting classmates. Head over heels in love, and in shock, Q follows willingly.
After their all-night revenge-fest, Q makes his way to school and finds that Margo is not there. She’s been known to run off before, but Q knows this is different. He soon picks up on a trail of vague clues, and determined to track down the girl he loves, he follows them… but where will they lead?
**Review contains tiny spoilers about Margo in the ending of the book, in the second paragraph!**
I picked Paper Towns up this morning- just because it was a small paperback that I could read on the train today. I ended up becoming totally hooked on the story, impatient to find the outcome of the unique events. At first, it seemed strikingly similar to Looking For Alaska, another novel by John Green- popular girl and unlikely, somewhat geeky accomplice pranking students of their class, then something happening to the popular girl. However, I carried on reading. The pranks were witty and ingenious and made me laugh out loud, and the characters brimming with unique and well developed personalities. The similarities between Paper Towns and Looking For Alaska stopped there as this whole new adventure began after Q and Margo’s all-nighter, and the searches for the clues were totally captivating. I loved every second of it. Also, I found it interesting how one poem was the answer to all of the questions Q was searching for, if he looked hard enough. The references were very clever.
Q was an enjoyable protagonist, and I enjoyed his narration a lot. I really admired his courage to find out what had happened to Margo, as she had disappeared without a trace, despite his fears about a possible suicide. I mean, in the end, he traveled all of the way across America to find Margo who could or could not have been in the location he suspected. Margo, on the other hand, I thought was kind of selfish. Who just leaves for no apparent reason, after committing a few acts of vandalism as revenge? I honestly didn’t understand her at all throughout the book, although I did like her personality from the beginning part she was in. However, when Q found her at the end and she explained everything, I understood her and came to like her a lot more for the last few pages. It was interesting to see how her fourth-grade magical story drove her to running away, and how it linked to a dead body (Q and Margo discovered a dead body in a park when they were little), Q, and her home life. She was, overall, unique, just like the other protagonists I’ve read about in john Green’s other books.
In all, Paper Towns was a really great read. It had that classic essence of mystery solving to it, with some really memorable characters. I also liked the supporting characters , who were just as brilliantly developed as the protagonists. The plot was pretty captivating, and kept me guessing about the outcome throughout. It was witty and thought-provoking- recommended to YA’s!