Monday, March 9, 2015

Paper Towns - John Green

Summary: 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...

Summary and cover art from

Review: I’d spent a lot of time reading political fantasy and was reading for some heart-wrenching teenage angst-y YA. Who is the master of that? John Green. Duh.

Since Paper Towns is being made into a movie and I’ll surely be exposed to it that way, I figured I’d choose this one. I’ve read two John Green books previously with great experiences (Looking for Alaska, which was a powerful experience that reshaped my book-loving soul and The Fault in Our Stars, which was definitely good and worth reading), so I knew I was in for a treat.

If you consider rice cakes a treat.

Sure, Paper Towns might be caramel-flavored rice cakes, but it’s still nothing compared to death-by-chocolate Looking for Alaska or banana-split-with-extra-fudge-sauce The Fault in Our Stars.

For a short book, it took me five days to read. It was interesting, but not gripping. The characters were believable, but not lovable. The ending was believable, but not satisfying (not even in that painfully unsatisfying way like in Looking for Alaska). I mean…rice cakes…you’re still hungry after you eat ten.

I didn’t like Quentin. I really didn’t like Margo. The sidekick friends were unrealistic caricatures. The humor was trite. Green's usual thought-provoking approach was a string of existential questions that I had no desire to really think about. The combination of meh characters and a meh plot just gave me a meh experience. Green's anchoring device in this book was Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, so that was a +1 (I, too, was a nerdy teenager that studied and highlighted Leaves of Grass.)

To give Green a break, Paper Towns was the follow up to his award-winning Looking for Alaska. And that’s a tough act to follow. I hope there’s a way the movie will improve on the book. The concept is interesting, but the delivery petered out.

My rating: 3 stars

For the sensitive reader: Teenage swearing and crude humor. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

The hype for the film adaptation of this novel was intense as teens all across the globe awaited another movie adaptation from the bestselling author, John Green.


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