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Paper Towns by John Green

February 11, 2016

Paper Towns“Maybe all the strings inside him broke,” she said.

Ever since the day she moved next door, Quentin Jacobsen has had a crush on Margo Roth Spiegelman. To Q, she is everything he isn’t: free-spirited, wild, and brave. One day when they’re kids, Margo and Q ride their bikes to the park, and come across a dead man under a tree. That night, Margo slips into Q’s room dressed like a ninja. She tells him she’s done some detective work.

Seven years later, Q still likes her, even though they don’t hang out in high school anymore. Margo has become something of a legend. Often she’ll run away, like the time she joined the circus for a week. But any time she goes, she leaves little clues for her sister, Ruthie, or her parents to find. So when she disappears right before prom, no one is shocked, and Q thinks that she has left clues for him.

The night before Margo leaves, she sneaks into Q’s room— like she did seven years before— and has him drive her all over the city to do random-seeming pranks on people, break into SeaWorld, and finally, end up in the tallest building to look out over the city. Here, Margo explains to Q that Orlando is a paper town: a fake, paper place where paper people live their paper lives. She dreams of getting out, and when she disappears from the school hallways, Q thinks she has done just that.

But when Margo doesn’t return for weeks, Q and his two best friends, Radar and Ben, start looking for clues that lead them on an adventure: both in their hometown of Orlando, Florida, and across the country.

I both loved and disliked that Green’s focus was on the two main characters, Margo Roth Spiegelman and Quentin Jacobsen. It focuses on the central problem and lets readers feel involved. While I was reading this book, I felt like I was going on the adventures with Q, laughing until I cried with him, and being terrified of certain “Troll Holes” with him. But I disliked it because I wanted to know the secondary characters, too. I knew very little about Radar (his parents own the world’s largest collection of black Santas; he has a girlfriend named Angela), and almost nothing about Ben (he has a crush on Lacey Pemberton). I liked those characters and wanted to see them developed further.

There is a movie based on this book, and I would say it’s fairly accurate, but there are a lot of important details you wouldn’t get without reading the book first.

I would recommend this novel for anyone, whether you like realistic fiction, mysteries, humor, or action-adventure, because this book has all of those. Brace yourself for the breakneck speed of John Green’s Paper Towns.


Penguin Group, 305 pages

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