Summer Reading: Paper Towns Book Review

Margo Roth Spiegelman is the paper queen of her flimsy and foldable town of Orlando, Florida.  In John Green’s Paper Towns, published by Speak, Quentin Jacobsen has loved Margo for as long she has lived next door to him in the plain subdivision of Jefferson Park.  Everyone always admired Margo; and as hard as it is to understand, somehow that must really push someone off the edge.  Because why else would she take Quentin out on a Wednesday night adventure just to disappear the next day leaving “Q”, as his friends call him, to solve the mystery that is her?  Leaving is what Margo does, leaving town, leaving people who love her, and leaving clues.  That is what the entire book is focused on.  Everything that Quentin does is to try and find her.  But this time is different, she was gone for longer, it was right before her high school graduation, and she left clues, as always, but this time specifically for Quentin.  The rest of the story follows Quentin as he discovers the real message behind Margo’s confusing clues.  Narrated by Q’s point of view, the readers see how obsessed and in love with Margo he really is and how devoted he is to finding her before their graduation.  He just wants to be her hero, seeing that no one has ever found her before she came back from her mysterious trips.  The question isn’t about when Q finds Margo, but if he ever will.

John Green’s book is very stereotypical yet at the same time unrealistic.  Quentin is the geek who falls for the queen of high school.  It is a story line that teens are quite familiar with and frankly bored of.  High school as a theme is overused and tired.  Green did, however, put a spin on it, which I appreciate, except for the fact that the adventure Quentin goes on to find Margo is unrealistic and hard for readers to get into and connect with.  As in many of Green’s other books, such as The Fault in Our Stars, the teenage main characters fail to do realistic things, because being a teenager does not mean you skip school all the time and go out and travel the country with the love of your life.  This is the reason I found it hard to connect to and understand the message behind Paper Towns.

“Nothing ever happens like you imagine it will.” Margo said, which is something I do agree with in the book.  My expectations were too high for Paper Towns and I was overall disappointed in how flat it was.  I also believe that because Green is an adult it makes it harder for him to write stories that teenager would be able to connect with.

Book Grade: C-