Saturday, 21 April 2012

Book Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 305
Release Date: 16th October 2008
Read in: April 2012

Goodreads -

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.
“Margo Roth Spiegelman, whose six-syllable name was often spoken in it’s entirely with a kind of quiet reverence. Margo Roth Spiegelman, whose stories of epic adventures would blow through school like a summer storm.”

I have always loved John Green’s writing style. It is my favourite part of both, and now the three, of his books that I have read. The first person style is written as if the character was actually saying it. Things like listing numerically instead of just a plain old list with commas, makes me happy. Mixed with the humour, you can’t get much better.

The other theme running through John Green’s books is a particular character that thinks outside of the box; that is unique. Alaska in Looking For Alaska, Augustus in The Fault in Our Stars and now Margo. And Margo was the best thing about this book.

The things that Margo says and the way she believes that her life should be lived, made her by far the most interesting character. Quotes such as “Yeah, I’m a big believer in random capitalization. The rules of capitalization are so unfair to words in the middle,” and “MS’s love For you: it Sleeps With the Fishes,” (example of random capitalization) just put a smile on my face. Also her interpretation of breaking and entering; “We’re not breaking in, think of it as visiting in the middle of the night for free,” was great.

I liked the character of Quentin. He kept his mind focused on things that I felt were important rather than drifting to what I may call trivial things, like clothes shopping for prom. However I didn’t think I fully connected with him. Even with the great first person writing, I still didn’t feel like I was fully in his head some of the times. Maybe that was just me.

As for the character of Ben, well, he started to irritate me after a while. It is even mentioned by Quentin a couple of times. He spends most of the time talking about prom and only involves himself, with Quentin, when it benefits him. He doesn’t seem to care. The fact that Margo was missing seemed to be a distraction that Quentin didn’t need in his opinion.

The beginning was fun and entertaining, the John Green I know; mostly due to Margo. However, as evidenced by the summary, Margo goes missing; which is when the book starts to slow down. The fact that the best character wasn’t in most of the book was bit unfortunate. But if she wasn’t likable then I wouldn’t care if she was found or not.

Margo leaves all these little clues for Quentin to follow. I felt like a kid again, going on a treasure hunt. However the mystery didn’t keep me hooked all the way through. It wasn’t until I finished the book did I realise what it was missing; Tension. Ever since reading Across the Universe by Beth Revis, I have been looking for the next best YA mystery. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be in this one. I know it is not a mystery novel, but that was the drive it was missing.

I recommend for the good characters (especially Margo), writing and the way Paper Towns makes you feel about life. It just needed something added to the mystery of Margo’s disappearance to push it in to highly recommended range (4 ½ stars or higher) for me. 



  1. This was the first book I read after graduating college and moving from the East Coast to the West and the first John Green book I've ever read. It holds this special place in my heart because of it. I seriously love this book and your review made me want to go reread it. It's about time.

  2. I love your review! Here's mine: , Have a nice day!


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