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Friday, August 28, 2015

REVIEW: Paper Towns by John Green

“If you don't imagine, nothing ever happens at all.” 

Paper Towns marks the third novel by John Green I've read.  For me, it is probably my least favorite thus far.  Not by much, but enough.

The story goes...

Quentin and Margo are next door neighbors in Orlando, Florida.  As children, they have an eerie bonding experience when they discover a dead body.  Over time, they grow apart. Skip to the end of senior year, Q is still infatuated with Margo from afar. One night she shows up at his bedroom window and convinces him to help her enact revenge against her enemies.  It is a magical adventure, at least for Q; however, his dreams of how things will change don't quite pan out when Margo goes missing.  Q discovers clues about her location and ends up embarking on an epic adventure to find her and himself in the process.

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

The writing style has the same vibe I love to associate with Green's work. It's gritty and heartfelt and realistic.  He manages to capture an authentic teen voice. There are so many great themes and discussion points.  In fact, that's my I picked this title for the inaugural session of my new Young @Heart book club for teens and adults who read YA fiction.

 I also liked the majority of the characters.  I adored Q.  There's great character development for him as he makes it through this mystery of sorts.  I also really liked the group of supporting characters.  Q's overly psychoanalytic parents were hilarious. Ben is a hoot as well as Radar and his eccentric parents.  

What I didn't like...

Margo.  I just found her irritating.  Unlike other characters, I had no emotional connection to her whatsoever.  I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt during her night of revenge.  I saw her disappearance coming a mile away. However, her reaction toward being "found" made me angry.  So angry in fact that I wanted to pull an Allie Brosh- Hyperbole and a Half style- and hit her with a brick.  Margo just comes across and selfish and insincere and so emotionally disconnected that she's a potential danger not only to herself but those who try to care for her. I was glad that Q realized it wouldn't work. 

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

The other thing I didn't love was how much Paper Towns reminded me of Looking for Alaska.  It just felt too similar. That's just me. Overall, it is a sound novel that stands up against others in the genre which are not as well composed.

Final rating 3.75 out of 5 stars

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