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I Belong


Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Paper TownsTitlePaper Towns

AuthorJohn Green

Genre: YA Contemporary

Series: N/A

Publication Date: September 22, 2009

Format: Paperback, 336 Pages

ISBN-10014241493X (Speak/Penguin)

ISBN-13978-0142414934 (Speak/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin

Synopsis:

When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.

Quick & Dirty: A gripping, fun novel that impressed me, as does most of John Green’s work.

Opening Sentence: With a bag in each hand, I stopped for a moment outside the van, staring at her.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Quentin has loved Margo from afar his whole life. She is his neighbor, and she is the one famed throughout school as the creator of crazy schemes and massive adventures. She’s run away before, but she’s always been back before long. With graduation just two weeks away, she shows up at Quentin’s window and challenges him to a night of heart-pounding, exciting revenge plots that tear him from the easiness of his routine. When he wakes up, he’s excited to see what this means for their relationship, but she’s not at school, or home: Margo has run away. Yet there are clues that she seems to have left just for him that point towards her location, and Quentin intends to find her with the help of his two best friends and one of hers.

I have read John Green’s work in the past, obviously. He blew up last year as the movie adaptation of his book came out and it was a tearjerker! I enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars immensely — book and movie and Looking for Alaska was pretty good too. (Although his main characters have an unfortunate pattern of dying tragically in his books…) When I got the chance to read Paper Towns I jumped on it, because the movie is coming out soon and I am super interested in seeing it. The expectations for this movie are really high, so it can either be amazing or flop, and I’m hoping for amazing! I ended up really liking the mysterious aspect of Paper Towns as well as the deeper look into who everyone is as a person.

I liked the characters. As always in John Green books, they were realistically flawed and relatable the whole way through. Quentin is our main character. He’s kind of a nerd and has an easy pattern that he follows in life, with friends, homework, school, and that’s about it. There’s no time for crazy adventures, or so he thinks, until Margo Roth Speigelman shows up at his window in the middle of the night needing his car and himself as a getaway driver. He’s pulled out of his comfort zone and challenged, and the night is an unforgettable one. All of his old feelings for Margo resurface with a gusto, putting him into an infectious search for her when she disappears the next morning. He solves a series of crazy clues that seem to lead to Margo, whom he misses terribly, but to find her he will have to delve into who she was and not just who she was around others.

Quentin’s friends were also realistic and their witty banter was hilarious. Ben, self-proclaimed ladies man and lover of the “honeybunnies”, can’t help being a caste climber or a little bit self-invested. And then there is Radar, whose parents own the world’s biggest collection of black Santas. That was the most hilarious thing. His parents own Santa spoons, Santa wallpaper, Santa statues, and all of them black. This book was really good at making me laugh, as are all John Green novels. Anyway, his friends were a great representation of how you have to focus on the good in people and accept the bad along with them, because everyone has some sort of baggage, and no one should shoulder it alone.

Altogether I found the message of Paper Towns to be very inspiring, and the novel to be super satisfying. I loved the characters and the plotline. Quentin does a lot of deep thinking as well as say a bunch of funny, stupid things, creating an awesome mix that definitely passed as a teenage boy. The novel was gripping and the clues lots of fun. I was super impressed with how Quentin’s friends banded together to solve them, though a lot of the work was Quentin. We didn’t get to see much of Margo — her character was gone who-knows-where most of the book before Quentin and his friends found her, but the glimpses I saw I really enjoyed. I plan to see the movie and I love the casting, with Nat Wolfe and the gorgeous supermodel Cara as Margo. From the scenes shown in the trailers, it looks as if they’ll do a great job portraying these characters so many people fell in love with!

Notable Scene:

“I do not ask the wounded person how he feels . .  . I become myself the wounded person.”

I put the book down and lay on my side, staring out the window that had always been between us. It is not enough just to see her or hear her. To find Margo Roth Speigelman, you must become Margo Roth Speigelman.

And I had done many of the things she might have done ( . . . ) I had seen. I had listened. But I could not yet become the wounded person.

skull5

FTC Advisory: Speak/Penguin provided me with a copy of Paper Towns. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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