Books, Teen Reviews

Read + Review — Paper Towns by John Green


One humid Florida evening, a shadow lands in the bedroom of Quentin (“Q”) Jacobsen. The shadow metamorphoses into the shape of Margo Roth, his next door neighbor. Energetic and persuasive, she manages to convince Quentin to go on a midnight adventure; having been enamored with Margo since they were young children, Q agrees and they set off an a wild, devious revenge plan that results in spray painting blue “M”s across town and putting dead fish in basements along with pun-infused insults. Towards the end of their mission, Margo takes Q to the top of a local SunTrust building, which is the tallest in the area. There she refers to Orlando as a “paper town”. After gazing off into the light-polluted city and the surrounding suburbs, the pair returns home, exhausted.

The next day, questioning if things have changed between him and his crush, Q goes to school and shares his adventure with Ben and Radar. However, Margo is absent. Disappointed. Quentin keeps waiting to see her in school until, three days later, Margo’s parents file a police report stating that their child is missing. A detective comes to speak with Quentin and his family, leading Q to the revelation that Margo has done this before; leaving behind obscure clues, the enigma that is Margo disappears only to reappear days, weeks, or months later. Disturbed by Margo’s family’s lack of concern, Quentin decides it is up to him and his friends to re-find his lost love, plunging them into a stressful, outstanding, and amazing state-wide adventure.

I feel like John Green’s books are somewhat similar; they follow an average guy who is fascinated or enraptured with an enigmatic girl, eventually plunging them into some kind of heart-wrenching climax. However, Green always manages to captivate. His writing, though simplistic, reads quickly, allowing the reader to be drawn in and absorbed in this wondrous adventure. Just like “Looking for Alaska”, the characters are real, almost tangible. It makes his writing incredibly easy to relate to, even though not many people have been on state-wide scavenger hunts for missing friends. I liked the book a lot! It made me think about what kind of clues I would leave behind and where I would go if I were in Margo’s shoes.

One memorable thing about this book was the friendship between Ben, Radar, and Q. They are incredibly different, yet very similar characters; they begin the novel as close friends, but as the story progresses, they become more and more like brothers. They endure the scavenger hunt together, and when Q asks for help, they jump right in. They’re with him almost every step of the way, and each of the three put the other two first. It reminded me of friendships that I have and the kind of friendship I want.


Reviewed by Emily, Grade 12, Twin Hickory Library

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