In reading Paper Towns, I’ve completed my tour of John Green’s young adult novels. In this story, Green presents readers with the story of Q, a high school senior from Orlando, FL who’s life has been tied loosely with the girl-next-door popular girl, Margo Roth Spiegelman. When they were children, Q and Margo were very good friends but began to drift apart after an incident when they discovered the corpse of a suicide victim in a neighborhood park. They are reunited during their last year of high school when Margo, ever the unpredictable, independent, and mysterious woman, knocks on Q’s window late one night and reels him into an all night adventure playing pranks on classmates that had done Margo wrong. Q is not sure why Margo chose him to be her accomplice in her night of mischief but he has to start to piece the puzzle together when Margo goes missing the next day. She has left behind various clues for Q, which he becomes obsessed with figuring out. Finding Margo becomes the number one thing on his to-do list and he tries even harder when he begins to fear that Margo might have killed herself and sent him searching for a corpse instead of a devious classmate.
I am biased in my review of this book because I quite enjoy reading John Green’s novels. As always, I found the characters very relatable. There was something particularly interesting about the balance between Q and Margo in this novel: Margo is this person who seems like she has it all together but really is suffering from so much inner turmoil and then Q has this public turmoil about his love for Margo which he has to internalize in order to completely understand his relationship with her. I think that both characters, as well as the supporting characters, are accurate and dynamic depictions of real life teenagers. Green definitely has a talent for capturing youthful emotion in a very truthful way and pinpointing certain feelings in order to draw them out and bring them close to home for readers.
My one complaint about this book is that it was very front loaded; there was a lot of rising action that lead to a fairly quick conclusion. In fact, when I think back to the reading of this book I can hardly remember exactly how it ended. However, that doesn’t make the story any less entertaining. After all, it is truthful in that the “getting-there” is often more important than the destination itself.
I think for sure this book should make it onto your to-read list. I quite enjoyed it; quick and leisurely!