Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns is the third novel by the increasingly popular young adult novelist, John Green.  The book is about a graduating senior in high school, Quentin Jacobson, and his strange and compelling relationship with his neighbor, Margot Roth Spiegelman.  As young children, the two came across a divorced man who had committed suicide.  While they never spent much time together after that, the event created an unspoken bond.

One night their senior year, Margot gets “Q” to drive her around while she seeks revenge against those who had wronged her.  They have a wild and crazy night together and then the next day she disappears.  Margot leaves small clues for Q to find her.  For the remainder of the book, he searches for her by following her cryptic clues and doing some soul searching in the meantime.

This is my third John Green novel and, while I can’t say that it is my favorite, I can say that I am interested in reading the other two novels that I haven’t read yet.  Published in 2008, according to Wikipedia, there was talking of making the novel into a movie in 2010 but talks broke down due to creative differences.  In March of 2014, John Green announced that Paper Towns will, in fact, be made into a movie with one of the actors from The Fault In Our Stars playing Q and with himself serving as executive producer.

One criticism that I read about the book was that it panders too much to young adults, but I argue that the fact that it is written with young adults in mind is what makes it so good.  I feel like until the last decade that there was a hole in the young adult genre and many teenagers only read what they were required to read in school.  Now, because of authors like J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth and John Green, young adults are actually reading for pleasure again and the stuff that they are reading is becoming increasingly more elevated so that not just young adults are enjoying the literature of their genre.

As perhaps a personal preference, I enjoy the realism of John Green’s novels to the fantastical ones set in the future on in worlds with vampires or witches.  While I appreciate that Q and his friends did have a side that was typical of a teenager, I was left wondering if the philosophical sides of Q and Margot were realistic or beyond what teenagers are if not capable of then apt to be immersed in.

Having been removed more than a decade from my years of teen angst, I can’t recall easily if I spent the majority of my days pondering my existence.  Regardless, I would argue that because John Green does, in fact, elevate the teenager and what he is capable of that this is the reason that so many teens are devouring his books. It is as if they see through Green’s books the kind of person that they can be: strong, individualistic, brave, thoughtful, etc.

I definitely recommend the book to others who have enjoyed The Fault In Our Stars or any of the other John Green novels.  If I were a mother of a teen, I would pick up this novel for them to encourage reading for pleasure.  Actually I would recommend the book to anyone who enjoys reading for pleasure and especially enjoys the young adult genre.

As I listened to the book, I did enjoy the narrator and felt that he was a worthy pick for the novel giving Q the appropriate characterization.  Not sure which John Green novel I will read next but I definitely look forward to seeing what else he comes out with in the future.

Paper Towns by John Green Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition, Audible.com Audiobook (Note: as of posting, the kindle edition is $4.99 and the Audiobook is discounted to $3.99 with purchase of Kindle Book.  If you want the audiobook, it is cheaper to buy the kindle book first.)

Other Bookwi.se Reviews of John Green Books

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