Friday, December 12, 2008

Review: Paper Towns

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back 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 an disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew.

Printz-Medalist John Green returns with the brilliant wit and searching emotional honesty that have inspired a new generation of readers. (From the book jacket)

Why do I love John Green? 1. Because he is hilarious- but not in an obvious sort of way (unless you are a nerdfighter fangirl/boy.) 2. He doesn't write about the "cool" kids, but the kids he writes about are real and cool themselves even if they aren't part of the in crowd. 3. His books make you stop and think.

Paper Towns is another wonderful book by this fantastic YA author (if you haven't read Looking For Alaska or An Abundance of Katherines GET TO READING!!!) The main(ish) character Quentin or Q is a normal well- adjusted kid (just thank his parents who are both therapists) with a legend- Margo Roth Spiegelman (yes all three names)- as his next door neighbor. Q isn't part of the in crowd- he hates prom, is a really good student, and his best friends are band geeks. But, he isn't a shunned loser either. Instead he is what most of us are-the middle of the road who isn't' extreme at all. He is infatuated with his neighbor Margo-he loves her and he always has. But no one really knows Margo. When she disappears Q knows he has to find her. On his journey to find Margo he discovers a lot about her, himself, and love. He also discovers one of the hardest truths to learn: that people aren't what you expect them to be, but the flip side is that sometimes, people are better than you realized. John Green writes a beautiful story (that I can't really review without giving away all of the major plot twists) filled with love and true friendship. The reader had no idea how the story will end but they will wish that they had friends like Q, Ben, Radar, and Lacey. By the time the end of the book comes you know that finding Margo isn't what mattered, it was the journey on the way to finding her that counted the most. Q discovers himself on that journey.

The best thing about this book is the characters (arguably they are the best part of any John Green book.) At the beginning everyone fills a particular slot, but by the last page no one fits in that slot anymore. Each person grows and changes the way real people grow and change. As you read the book you see yourself and you realize how life shapes you. One event, one day, one hour, one minute, one person, one conversation, one sentence, one word can change your life. What you decide to do with that change makes you who you are. This is the realization that I came to as I read Paper Towns, and it is the same realization that Q comes to over and over again. Paper Towns was awesome- I laughed out loud, I understood each of the characters, and I was involved with this book like it was a living, breathing thing. All I can say is read it and see if it comes to life for you too.
**Just to be safe: This book is written about high school seniors. It contains some strong language and some slightly mature jokes.**