Book Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Book Review: Paper Towns by John GreenPaper Towns by John Green
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery & Detective, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 305
Published by Speak on September 22, 2009
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Who is the real Margo?

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew...
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Who is the real Margo?

Unfortunately, by the end of this book (by the middle, actually) I didn’t care who Margo Roth Spiegelman was. Now don’t take that to mean I hated this book. I didn’t. I love the premise. I think John Green is an interesting author. I love The Fault in Our Stars. Admittedly, I couldn’t get through more than about a third of Looking for Alaska. An Abundance of Katherines is high on my to-read list for contemporaries.

But can we all just agree that Margo Roth Spiegelman is a selfish b*tch?

Sorry, I usually don’t use language, but I thought the situation called for it. I hated Margo. Sure, the whole revenge escapade during the first fifty pages or so was a great ride, but once she disappeared, I started to realize that she was annoying. She’s not even in the book for the most part after the beginning, and I continued to develop a deep hatred for her as poor Q trekked along, trying desperately to find her.

If you haven’t read Paper Towns or know nothing it about, the premise is very interesting: Margo shows up at Q’s window one night, convincing him to join her on this grand revenge plan she has against her friends (she just found out her boyfriend had been cheating on her with one of her friends). They have a thrilling night of adventures, but the next day, Margo is just gone. No one knows where she is. This isn’t terribly unusual for Margo, who has a history of going off on her own and having exciting escapades. But when she doesn’t come home, Q starts looking for clues to where she might have gone. He discovers a trail that Margo left for him, and he follows it, hoping to find her at the end.

Sounds great right? Well, I was surprised to find I was super bored in the middle. For about seventy five pages, it felt like NOTHING was happening. Q sat around whining about how no one really knew Margo, and how he was worried she was dead, and really, nothing else happened.

Before I rant about the ending, I’ll talk about what I did like:

1. Margo and Q’s revenge night. That was fun and weird and zany and cute and sweet at times. At this point, I thought I was going to LOVE this book.

2. The Road Trip to find Margo with Q, Ben, Radar, and Lacey. This was fun, funny, and the promise of the mystery being solved was tantalizingly palpable.

3. Lacey. I thought she was great for some reason. I really liked her.

4. John Green has a humorous writing style. He writes funny characters, and Q was generally likable when he wasn’t whining about Margo.

Spoilers for the Ending

I hated the way John Green resolved everything. I was so angry at Margo for being rude to her friends WHO HAD SKIPPED THEIR HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION TO COME FIND HER. And I hated that it hadn’t been a big elaborate plot to get them to come find her. And I hated that Q and Margo just amicably parted ways and were like, maybe I’ll see you again someday. Bye. Like, what was the point of the entire book if that’s the ending?

End of Spoilers

I went in to this book wanting to love it. I expected to love it. Lots of people do. But it just made me mad.

I’m definitely going to still see the movie, partly because I really like Nat Wolff and I’ll probably like this story in movie form better.

4 comments

    • Jessica says:

      I’d heard so many great things about it! And I can see how people would like it…for the most part it was definitely an interesting premise. I just really disliked the resolution, or lack thereof. I hope you still enjoy it though! And yes, I really need to read An Abundance of Katherines!!
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