Jess’ Reviews: Paper Towns by John Green May 16, 2016 – Posted in: Blog, Review – Tags: , , ,

Today I’m reviewing an oldie, but a goodie. John Green is a bestselling author, winner of multiple Michael L. Printz Awards and two of his novels are now major motion pictures.

That sounds all well and good, but does he really live up to the hype? Well, my answer is most definitely “yes”. From the outside, Paper Towns seems like a superficial, cliché example of teenage first love, the kind that makes you want to roll your eyes and throw the book at the wall. But this novel is actually anything but.

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew…

Paper Towns follows the story of Q, and his quest to track down the girl he thinks that he has loved all his life. The plot is light-hearted and humorous, and filled with awesome secondary characters, like Radar, whose parents have the world’s second largest collection of black santa figurines, and Margo herself, who is a complete enigma.

I never really quite knew where this novel was going, which I really enjoyed. The characters were also incredibly human and realistic. I really loved John Green’s depiction of Margo – every character had their own idea of who she was and what made her tick, but no one actually took the time to learn. They were more interested in Margo, the myth and the legend, the perfect popular girl, rather than an average teenage girl with insecurities who has been betrayed by her boyfriend and her friends. Even Q falls into this trap of building Margo up to be what she is not, and I loved this idea of exploring who we think people are and how we imagine them to be, projecting all of our expectations on to them, versus who they truly are – completely independent of us and everything we want from them.

I think this is an important novel for all teenagers to read, to help them explore these ideas of individuality and expectations, and it is packaged so nicely in a funny, exciting novel.