Paper Towns by John Green
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction
Maturity Level: 4
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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…
Of all John Green’s books, Paper Towns has been my favorite. This is probably because the main character, Quentin, reminds me strongly of myself, and his other main characters have always irked me. But the concept of the book was also distinctly more interesting to me. It is written almost as a mystery novel, and I found myself fascinated by the unraveling of Margo’s clues. The themes were also themes I think are important for young adults to understand. The idea that everyone is a human being just like you seems on the surface so obvious, but when you really stop to think about it, is so profound. We are all interconnected, each individual as complex and unfathomable as the next. As Quentin finally learns, you can’t be mad at anyone for being who they are. But I especially intrigued by the idea of Margo as a paper girl. She puts on an act of what she wants everyone to see, the whole time hiding the complex person she really is, and hating the life she is leading. How many young girls can relate to Margo! I hope she gives them hope, and helps them understand that they just need to be themselves.
The only thing I didn’t particularly care for about this book was the large amount of swearing and underage drinking. Now, I understand that John writes about real people, and that real teenage boys swear and have an unhealthy fascination with their sexual organs. But I feel that when writing for young adults you become a role model. Especially when it comes to teen drinking, an extremely unhealthy activity (no matter how much we want to ignore that fact), YA authors should be presenting a better example. And as much as I love John Green as a human being, I feel that all of his books fail to provide this positive role model that our youth so badly needs.