Paper Towns by John Green
Author: John Green. Website, Twitter
Published: 3 May 2010 (Bloomsbury)
Buy: Amazon (paperback|Kindle), Waterstone's (paperback|e-book), Book Depository (paperback)
Source: Borrowed from library.
Plot Summary: (from Waterstone's)
Who is the real Margo? 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. She has disappeared. Q soon learns that there are clues in her disappearance . . . and they are for him. Trailing Margo's disconnected path across the USA, the closer Q gets, the less sure he is of who he is looking for. A boy, a girl, revenge and a long drive across America.
This is the third book of John Green's that I've read. I put in a request for this book at the library so I was really excited when it became available. The story is about Quentin "Q" Jacobsen who has a fascination with his next door neighbour Margo. When she disappears he takes it upon himself to unravel the clues to where she might be.
I've said this before but I'll say it again: I love John Green's characters. They're most definitely the best part of his books for me and Paper Towns was no different. The main ensemble of characters in this book were Q and his friends, who are just some of the most realistic teenage boys I've ever read about. They're not glamorous and perfect and popular. They're a bit nerdy and play in the school band, spend hours gaming and are slightly awkward when it comes to girls. But they're brilliant and quite often hilarious. I mean characters that makes jokes about incorrect grammar?! Yes please!
I love Green's writing style, too. He has this amazing way with words and manages to make references to other literary works fun. There are so many lines I stumbled across that slightly took my breath away just because they were such a perfect way of describing something or someone.
I wasn't totally sure about the plot. I had the same problem with An Abundance of Katherines where I wasn't entirely sure why the characters were doing what they were doing and it all seemed a bit over the top and pointless. Maybe pointless isn't the right word, but I struggled to see just why the characters went to the lengths they did. I had a few problems with Margo, too. I just didn't really like the things she did which made it hard for me to sympathise with Q's fascination with her.
There were a few pacing issues for me. I spent the first two thirds of the book wondering when something was going to start happening and maybe getting a little bored. But it did pick up nearer the end and the characters started to come into their own. The road trip part of this book was definitely the highlight.
I was torn over what rating to give this book. I think it needed to grab my attention more for a higher rating so I'll give it 3*, but a very high 3*. More a 3 1/2 really. Brilliant characters and beautiful writing make it a book I would recommend.
What to read next: The Fault in our Stars by John Green.
Books like this: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, Holes by Louis Sachar.