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Friday, January 30, 2009

Paper Towns

Paper Towns by John Green
Reason for Reading: YA Reading Challenge
Rating: 4.5/5

Paper Towns is the story of Quentin Jacobsen and an obsession. He's been in love with Margo Roth Spiegelman, his next door neighbor for pretty much his entire life, although they seem to move in different spheres at school. Until the night she climbs through his window dressed as a ninja, demanding he accompany her on a night of revenge.

It's hard to get into what happens next without giving too much away, but when things don't go as Quentin had hoped the next morning, he finds himself obsessed with discovering the real Margo Roth Spiegelman. If she's something that can be known.

Although Margo is absent for much of the action of the book, she casts a shadow over everything, the way she casts a shadow over Quentin's life. We start out seeing her through the lens of Quentin's (longing) eyes, but as he digs deeper into her life, we begin to put together a more complete picture of who she is. What motivates her. Quentin's two best friends are well-drawn, interesting characters, which makes up for his parents being a little flatly drawn. And Margo, of course. She's elusive. She's mysterious. She's at times amazingly mundane.

There are moments you want to tap Quentin on the head and remind him that this is puppy love and to stop being so obsessed, but who doesn't remember the obsessiveness of teen love? Don't worry, though, this never stoops to the tackiness level of say (hack hack Twilight hack hack).

The book keeps you guessing as to the ultimate outcome of the relationship between Quentin and Margo right up to the end, and it ends on just the right note.

Should I read it? Only if you like great fiction with interesting character studies.


Anonymous said...

Hmm! You thought the parents were flat? Interestingly enough, I thought they were drawn pretty well, especially Margo's parents (especially considering how little we see them!). They informed Quentin's life very little, but they were still a part of it. Since he was moving on from needing his parents to actively parent, they end up being good reflections—Quentin sees and hears what informs his life and everything else falls to the side. I think a lot of teens treat their parents like this.

Have you found the easter eggs John left in the book? When a friend and I found it we laughed at ourselves for missing it for so long.

Nymeth said...

I loved the ending too. I finished it two days ago and I'm still trying to gather my thoughts so I can say more than I LOVED IT *EXPLODES*

Rhinoa said...

Cool sounds like a lot of fun and I love Nymeth's comment :) Will definitely keep a look out for this. Thanks I never heardof it before (damn you bloggers making me spend my money...!).

Alyce said...

I haven't read it yet, but I plan on reading John Green's books as soon as I have time. Looking For Alaska is up first because I own it. Thanks for the review.

jessi said...

John Green is an amazing author, and I've loved every book I've read by him. I'm curious to see what happens with the Paper Towns movie...

samantha.1020 said...

I think that this book sounds interesting. It fits in perfectly with the YA Challenge I'm in so I'll have to give this one a try. Great review!

Stephanie said...

This is the book that Debi sent to me. Hopefully soon I will be able to start it! Glad to see you enjoyed it.

mariel said...

I absolutely loved Looking For Alaska, so I'm really excited about reading more John Green. This sounds fabulous. Great review, thanks!

Andrea said...

Looks good! I have never heard of this, and now suddenly 2 people on my blog list reviewed it at the same time! I think this will go on my TBR list. I'm always looking for good YA books...ones that adults and young adults alike can enjoy.

Oh said...

thanks you made me laugh with your line about "hack hack TWILIGHT ..." Good stuff. Teh book sounds good, too.

Andi said...

Everyone is reading this book! And all of Green's stuff, as a matter of fact. Need to jump on the bandwagon. Sounds awesome!