With the movie opening in theaters this week, I decided to check out Paper Towns by John Green. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an 88%, and I would give the book version a pretty similar rating. This is the third of Green’s young adult novels I have read, the other two being The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska. I would say Paper Towns falls in between these two as far as quality. I’m still not emotionally over The Fault in our Stars and never got emotionally invested whatsoever in Looking for Alaska, so Paper Towns was a nice happy medium. It kept me interested and entertained, but also didn’t completely shatter my heart.
Paper Towns follows main character Quinten, “Q,” as he embarks on an unexpected journey during the last week of his senior year. Q grew up being best friends with his neighbor Margot, who since high school has blossomed into the most beautiful and popular girl at school. Considering Q spends most of his time hanging out at the band room and cruising in his parent’s mini van, it’s safe to say the two have grown apart in recent years.
Until one night when Margot randomly shows up outside Q’s window and takes him on a night-long adventure he would have never expected. But as quickly as Margot shows up, she then disappears, leading Q and his best friends on a wild goose hunt to discover her end destination, both literally and emotionally.
Green does a great job in painting a reality of high school friendships in a crowd that just doesn’t quite fit in. Q and his friends are extremely likable, which may be why I had such a hard time with the amount of effort they put into searching for seemingly self-absorbed Margot. Although, her character, as egocentric as she may be, is extremely believable, in a teenage angst and emo sort of way.
“Paper Towns” is a quick and fun read that may not have all of its puzzle pieces perfectly aligned, but will make you yearn for your days of teenage freedom, friendship, and adventure.