Monday, February 7, 2011

Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns by John Green
Published by Dutton Juvenile
Date Published: October 16, 2008
Rating: 5/5 stars
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back 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 of the girl he thought he knew.
Printz medalist John Green returns with the brilliant wit and searing emotional honesty that have inspired a new generation of listeners.

Paper Towns is my third John Green book and I wasn’t disappointed in it’s fantasticness. After reading Looking for Alaska and Will Grayson, Will Grayson and his short story in Let in Snow, I had certain parameters I thought this book would meet; certain expectations of the characters and of the story. I will say, as a whole, I got a lot of Looking for Alaska vibes, but in some ways I think I liked it better than Looking for Alaska.
Which is saying a lot. I LOVED Looking for Alaska.

After a fun, adventure-filled night, Margo vanishes and the story turns into a kind of mystery. Such a convoluted and confusing mystery that it’s almost more fitting for CSI or Law and Order. Only less murder and gruesome detail. The conundrum becomes so detailed and branched out that you watch Q become completely obsessed with trying to piece together a slightly-psychotic puzzle. A Moby Dick reference is made at one point, and while it doesn’t necessarily register with Q, it should seem familiar to the reader (even if you’ve never read it).

It comes down to a final road trip-race across the country in last hopes of finding Margo, and without spoiling anything, I will claim that as the funniest part of the entire book. So hilarious that you can see how John Green rocked the humor so well in Will Grayson, Will Grayson. And if that’s not enough, Green also throws in a number of music and literature references to keep you entertained. Leaves of Grass might not be the most thrilling thing to read about, but it is no doubt perfect for the tone of the book. If nothing else, black Santas are scattered about for a good laugh.

Of course I won’t spoil the end, but I will say this much, it is poetically perfect. Maybe even a touch better than Looking for Alaska. If you’ve read any John Green (and liked it) I suggest this for you. Or if you want to read something with a boy POV. Or if you just want something that’s funny and serious and has a light “literature” feel to it.


  1. Loved this book. The writing style was fantasic & Green does a great job when writing wit. :) Great review.

  2. What a wonderful review!!!!! I just bought the book and it will be my first John Green story. Based in your review, I can now hardly wait to jump into it. :D

  3. Oh! I still haven't gotten around to reading this one yet, but I better make sure I get it done within this year, if not sooner! Thanks for the review.