BOOK REVIEW: Paper Towns – by John Green

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Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Genre: YA, Fiction, Contemporary
First published: October 1st 2008
Finished reading: January 22nd 2015
Pages: 305
Rating 3,5

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

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Paper Towns is my third John Green read in less than a year, and I think it is about time to ‘de-Green’ and put his other titles on my TBR pile on hold for now. Don’t get me wrong; I have enjoyed both The Fault In Our Stars and Looking For Alaska previously and now Paper Towns as well. But I have no other choice than agreeing with those who say there are many similarities between his books. I’m not saying that is necessarily a bad thing, but it does kinda lead to a John Green overdose. Like when you eat so many homemade brownies you actually feel sick… And I do love brownies. No doubt the way John Green is able to write teenage dialogue is simply brilliant. I didn’t necessarily like the main characters, but their personalities and the way they interacted just worked. The literary quotes were a nice touch and I’m definitely going to check out the work of Walt Whitman in the future. In short: the prose is interesting, the dialogue brilliant and while the characters are not exactly likeable, you want to continue reading anyway.

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Quentin Jacobsen and Margo Roth Spiegelman had two things in common: they are neighbors and they discovered the body of a man who committed suicide when they were younger. They used to be friends, but that didn’t last through high school. As they are about to graduate, she suddenly appears at his bedroom window one night. Dressed like a ninja, Margo tells Quentin she has chosen him as the get-away driver in a series of well-planned revenge attacks on some of her friends and former-boyfriend. Quentin has no other option than follow her, and he ends up having the night of his life.

The next day Quentin discovers Margo is not at school. It is not the first time she disappears for a few days so they don’t think too much of it. But when she doesn’t show up for quite a few days, Quentin starts to worry. He finds out that Margo left some clues behind that can possibly lead to her hiding place, but they are not that easy to understand… And while others give up and try to move on with their life, Quentin doesn’t stop looking. Will he be able to understand the clues and Margo herself for that matter?

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The teenage dialogue is hands down the best part of Paper Towns. The way the different characters interact is simply brilliant and at times even hilarious. John Green is able to mix humor with more serious messages and poetry without it becoming boring, which is a gift. I wasn’t able to connect to all the characters, but I think in this case the rest of the book makes up for it. Paper Towns is definitely recommended, but if you have read other books by him in the near past it might be better to wait a bit before reading this one. Maybe just before the movie comes out in June?