Rating: 4 stars
Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Published: September 2009
Favorite Quote: You see how fake it all is. It’s not even hard enough to be made out of plastic. It’s a paper town…Everyone demented with the mania of owning things. All the things paper-thin and paper-frail. And all the people, too. I’ve lived here for eighteen years and I have never once in my life come across anyone who cares about anything that matters.”
18 years old and read to graduate, Quentin Jacobsen, also known as Q, gets the chance of a life time. He gets to meet the real Margo Roth Spiegelman, the girl he has admired from afar for a majority of his life. After spending a night of adventure with Margo, Q believes this will be the chance for him to finally get to be with her. The next day, Margo vanishes. Q enrolls his friends Ben and Radar to help him track down the Margo. During his search he comes to realize that no one seems to know who the real Margo is.
I have always heard a mix of opinions about John Green. Overall, people seem to really like him, I know I do. But there are those who say a lot of his teenagers are “fake deep”. I previously held this opinion about A Fault in Our Stars. I just kept thinking “What teenager’s speak and think this way?”. After really thinking about it, I realized that people often see teenagers as these wild, unruly self absorbed beings. While, yes, there are plenty like that, but overall, not every teenager behaves this way. If you really think about it, the teenagers in books like these are always outsiders. They are outsiders for a reason. If they were the “typical” teenager the book wouldn’t have been written. Q, Ben, and Radar are perfect examples of what it means to be an outsider.
They stick together, but being that they are not caught up in being what society expects of being a teenager they see the world differently. They are good students who are pretty well read. At the same time, you see their immaturity in the jokes that they tell and their desire to fit in. They may not be your “typical” teen, but they are certainly still teenagers. I liked all of their characters, I found Ben to be a bit annoying at times, but he still brought a fun element to the story.
I really liked Margo’s character, even though most of the story she is written from other’s perspective. Margo knew that she was putting on a show. Her inability to be like everyone else seemed to drive her parents crazy. The superficiality of it all seemed to drive her further and further away. Which, by the way, you often hear people complain of the world’s superficial ways, yet why is it so wrong for the teens to see and understand this?
All in all I think this was a really good book. The ending is not what I was expecting. I thought that it would have ended differently, but it still helped to drive home the point that you should not always put people up on pedestals. At the end of the day a person is simply a person, nothing more. I would highly recommend this book.