Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
On the Shelves: Young Adult> Fiction/Contemporary
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 a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew (Goodreads 2014)
“What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person”
I first heard about John Green back in around 2011, via the magic of tumblr. Instantly I discovered the hilarious Vlogbrothers channel, and the various novels of John Green. I could also instantly tell that “Looking for Alaska” was by far his most popular work.
When I spotted Paper Towns in my local waterstones, I nearly fell over from shock, purely because they had none of his other books, despite the popularity of his other works, and that beautiful cover with the map and the pin called out to me, so I had to get it (before those new covers came in, not a fan of them). This is how Paper Towns became my first John Green novel. This was also really one of the first contemporary novels I ever read. I had a lot of “firsts” with this book, haha.
I enjoyed Paper Towns. I enjoyed the interaction between the characters. I can’t really say I “enjoyed the characters” because they are flawed, and I mean Margo is flawed to the point of being so annoying I can’t see why anybody would ever be infatuated by her. At all.
But, the whole point of this story, and indeed the story of “Looking for Alaska”, which follows much of the same plot (boy infatuated with girl, crap happens, discovers girl is not flawless as he once believed), the whole point is covered in my favourite quote from this book, “what a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person”.
How often do we admire and idolise people, be it friends, family, work colleagues and celebrities, only to be disappointed if they should slip up and make a mistake due to human error. A mistake that is probably not dissimilar to one we have all experienced at some point. But because we place them on some sort of higher pedestal, the fall from grace is a lot greater for those we admire- and it hurts us, because we trust them to do well.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary works of fiction, and as someone who has read “Looking for Alaska”, I personally think Paper Towns is better, in terms of character development and writing.