“Paper Towns” by John Green


Title: Paper Towns

Author: John Green

Published by: Dutton Books

Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Romance, Contemporary

In-Series/Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Rating: ★★★★☆


“Margo always loved mysteries. And in everything that came afterward, I could never stop thinking that maybe she loved mysteries so much that she became one.”

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…

My Review:

“She was not a miracle. She was not an adventure. She was not a fine and precious thing. She was a girl.”

John Green, I must confess — you did a great job not making me cry. I mean, I was a bit emotional towards the end of Paper Towns, but at least I wasn’t in post-Green depression like I am after reading most of your other books (ahem, TFIOS and Looking For Alaska, this one’s for you). Jokes aside, the main reason I love John Green novels is because they’re all so truthful. I’m always left thinking about all the important themes his books discuss, or revolve around. John writes about stuff that matters: stuff that teens, or anyone, really, can relate to.

Without giving too much away — Paper Towns starts off with an introduction to four integral characters — three best friends named Quentin Jacobsen (our main character, who’s POV the story is told in), Ben Starling, and Radar Lincoln; and of course, the mystery-girl, Margo Roth Spiegelman. Quentin has known Margo, his next door neighbor, since they were kids and has spent his entire life loving her from afar. After their exhilarating adventure driving around town one night, he finds she has disappeared the next morning. And so begins the extraordinary journey Quentin and his friends embark upon to find Margo and bring her home.

This story was honestly heartwarming. Needless to say, I instantly fell in love with (most) of the characters, especially Ben Starling (who is my hero). The dialogue and conversation between characters is ridiculously funny and engaging, but at times also intellectual and meaningful. Also, I must say — John made me terribly happy to be a girl by the end of this novel, because if everything that goes through Quentin and Ben and Radar’s minds are any indication of the thought process of an average, straight, horny teenage boy, I’d be in need of serious therapy. I laughed out loud at least 50 times throughout this novel (or maybe more, no joke), but also found myself putting the book down and absorbing what I’d just read. There are some really great quotes that leave you pondering some very important themes concerning life, the people around you, and your inner-self. The only reason I’ve given Paper Towns 4 stars instead of 5 is because it was a bit dragging at times — not too much to make you feel ridiculously bored, but just a little. Unlike many people, I found the ending okay. While it may be true that it was a bit rushed, I felt like it gave the characters the closure they deserved, and left the reader with a bittersweet feeling, which can either be a good or bad thing, depending on how you perceive it.

Favorite Quotes:

“The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightening, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a small nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the Queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.”


“What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.”


“That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfeast cereals based on color instead of taste.”


“It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.”


“Did you know that for pretty much the entire history of the human species, the average life span was less than thirty years? You could count on ten years or so of real adulthood, right? There was no planning for retirement, There was no planning for a career. There was no planning. No time for plannning. No time for a future. But then the life spans started getting longer, and people started having more and more future. And now life has become the future. Every moment of your life is lived for the future–you go to high school so you can go to college so you can get a good job so you can get a nice house so you can afford to send your kids to college so they can get a good job so they can get a nice house so they can afford to send their kids to college.”


“It is easy to forget how full the world is of people, full to bursting, and each of them imaginable and consistently mis-imagined.”


“Maybe all the strings inside him broke.”


“At some point, you gotta stop looking up at the sky, or one of these days you’ll look back down and see that you floated away, too.”


“It was nice – in the dark and the quiet… and her eyes looking back, like there was something in me worth seeing.”


“The town was paper, but the memories were not.”

I have not seen the movie adaptation yet, but when I do, I may or may not post a review comparing it to the book. We’ll see 🙂 Cara Delevingne and Nat Wolff star as Margo Roth Spiegelman and Quentin Jacobsen. If you’re interested, watch the trailer below:

*DISCLAIMER* If you have not read this book yet, I’d really recommend not going through the comments section in case there’s a spoiler. You can always come back here later to discuss after you’ve read the book! (Or contact me if you want to talk about it beforehand)

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