Quentin Jacobson has always loved Margo from afar. So when she climbs through his window to summon him on an all-night road trip of revenge he cannot help but follow. But the next morning, Q turns up at school and Margo doesn’t. She’s left clues to her disappearance, like a trail of breadcrumbs for Q to follow.
And everything leads to one unavoidable question:
Who is the real Margo?
I am in a complete John Green bubble at the moment after the release of The Fault in Our Stars trailer all I want to do is watch his vlogs and read his books and cry over them. I was a bit apprehensive about Paper Towns at first because The Fault in Our Stars was so incredibly emotional I didn’t want to be let down by his other books not moving me as much as that one did. But then I figured there’s no point comparing his books to each other because they’re all different and although Paper Towns isn’t sad, it still demonstrates John Green’s outstanding abilities to capture and connect with the thoughts of his young readers. He is a literary genius and can open up the minds of young adults (and older adults alike) into the most bizarre and beautiful of worlds and gets you thinking and contemplating things you’d never even thought of before. Paper Towns is about a boy called Quentin, Q for short, who is in love with his classmate and neighbour, Margo. She turns up at his window one night and takes him on a all-night road trip where she gets revenge on her classmates. The next day she doesn’t turn up for school but with a history of running away out of the blue this seems fairly normal. Until Q starts finding clues she’s left for him and sets out to try and find her. After being led into abandoned buildings and down dead ends, he finally gets one solid lead on where she might be so along with 3 friends they embark on a 2 day road-trip where they find out a lot about themselves and each other but the main question is, will they find Margo?
I loved the storyline and the normality of it all at first. Just a boy who’s in love with a girl, a couple of goofy best friends and the general banter boys that age have but then John leads us down a completely different path of both normal and abnormal. The book was structured in 3 parts; Part 1: The Strings. Which occurred before Margo went missing. This is the chapter where she takes Q on the all-night road trip and where you learn a lot about Margo. Part 2: The Grass. This is where she’s gone missing and when Q and his friends have found the clues she left. The final part is called The Vessel and this section is set out in hours e.g. hour 1, hour 2 and this is the final part of their journey. It was an unusual set-up but I loved it and each section focuses on a different theme and you see Q change throughout. Q was a great main character. He was dorky and sweet and the kind of boy you’d want to be friends with. I found myself picturing Logan Lerman in my head as Q because I felt he had some of the same traits as Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower but he was a lot more sociable and confident. Margo was such a dominant character but she wasn’t even physically present in about 75% of the book. I loved that even though she wasn’t there, the whole story and everything in it revolved around her.
John Green really gets it down to a T, the way in which some young people think and talk, their dreams and desires and the way they see the world. John’s work has been criticised for the way in which the young characters in his books think isn’t realistic and they don’t actually think these things but they do, because I do and although not all young people may feel the same and may not think the same I completely understand Q’s thought process, John’s narrative and Margo’s need and desire to run away. I absolutely loved the whole, ‘paper towns’ idea but when you really think about it, it’s absolutely right. It definitely varies throughout the book but the literal meaning of a paper town is when mapmakers will insert fake places (called paper towns) onto their maps to make sure no one is copying their maps but it’s the thought of creating something that other people want to make real, which resembles Margo and Qs perception of Margo in the book. This book very much relies on hidden meanings but when you get to the bottom of those meanings, it’s beautiful. I always find it so difficult to review John Green’s books and worry that I’m not doing them the justice they deserve but this book was outstanding. I truly could not put it down and the whole idea, the characters, the story was perfect in every way possible. It was full of memorable and relatable quotes and John really makes you look at things completely differently. He is slowly becoming one of my upmost favourite authors and I could read and live in the stories he creates forever.
You can find John Green and Paper Towns on the following links: