Book Reviews

Paper Towns- John Green


Although not as incredible as The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns is worth a read. The novel focuses on Margo Roth Spiegelman and Quentin Jacobson who from the outside share two things in common: they’re both 18-year-old high school seniors and live in the same subdivision; in fact they’re next-door neighbors. They were close friends in elementary school but have since separated into distinct cliques. Margo is the “it” girl. Quentin hangs out with the band kids. Quentin has placed Margo, or more accurately the image of Margo, on a pedestal that she desperately wants to leap off. When he tells her that she’s “hotter” than Becca, her “so-called” friend who’s recently stolen her boyfriend, Margo replies, “That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people would want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfast cereals based on color instead of taste…But I’m not pretty, not close up anyway. Generally, the closer people get to me the less hot they find me” (37). It’s clear that Margo is hiding behind a persona because she’s afraid that her true self simply isn’t good enough. She doesn’t even like most of her friends but those are the ones that feed her popular image. Quentin on the other hand is nothing but himself but secretly yearns to be part of the in crowd, because how else will he ever have a chance with a girl like Margo?

On a random school night, Margo asks Quentin to accompany her on a mission which involves traveling throughout their hometown of Orlando, FL. Quentin is surprised but elated that she chose him to wreck havoc in her “faux” friends lives, including her now ex-boyfriend Jase Worthington. During that night they spend time on top of a SunTrust building and Quentin mentions that Orlando is more impressive from a distance. “You can’t see the wear on things, you know? You can’t see the rust or the weeds or the paint cracking. You see the place as someone once imagined it” (53). When Margo doesn’t show up for school the next morning, Quentin doesn’t think twice. It’s only after a few days that he starts to worry. But Margo has the tendency of taking days and sometimes weeks off on her own, and besides she’s legally an adult. A detective describes her disappearance nonchalantly: “somebody-girl usually-got a free spirit, doesn’t get on too good with her parents. These kids, they’re like tied-down helium balloons. They strain against the string and strain against it, and then something happens, and that string gets cut, and they just float away” (90). But Quentin isn’t satisfied with letting her go, or rather the image of the dream girl she represents.  After discovering a clue to her whereabouts, Quentin is adamant that he should be the one to find her. With the help of his friends, he embarks on a mission of his own.

The concept of a “paper town” is fascinating. According to Green, a paper town has various meanings: 1. A town or city that is shoddily built/ from above it looks like paper 2. Subdivisions that are started but abandoned            3. Cartographers have made up fake towns to insure that other mapmakers aren’t copying their maps.

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  1. Pingback: Book Review Links

  2. I really just need to dive into his books. Now I really want to read one of them!
    Katie Cross recently posted…Imprinting My Butt on the Ground FloorMy Profile

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