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Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Paper Towns"

by John Green, YA, 2008, 305p, rating=4

"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." (book's blurb)
I almost dropped reading this book.  Not because it wasn't interesting enough but more due to timing.  Often times I start a book and other books pique my interest and before I know it, I've got 4-5 books I'd love to read at once ... and at least one of those ends up being due to return to the library.  Well, I'm glad I decided to renew this and finally got to it. 

This book reminded me of the 1985 movie, The Breakfast Club.  Though the settings are different, the premise is the same.  They both involved the high school getting to know yourself/others stage.  Both sets of characters found out about each other's true disposition through close interactions.  In the movie, the characters got together by way of Saturday detention, while the characters of Paper Towns bonded due to the search of the eccentric Margo Roth Spiegelman. 

This was a mod podge of a read ... funny, sad, exciting, reckless, momentous, poetic, and so forth.  What one might see of a stereotypical portrayal of high school occurrences.  Although I can't say I can relate to the midnight antics since I was a goody-two-shoes back in high school, I can certainly understand the appeal of being wild.  More importantly the desire to get out of one's skin and be free to be your true essence.  That's what I believe Margo set out to do by running away.  And through the process that her friends took to search for her came the understanding that like the paper towns (fake towns on a map), people had their version of being paper people ...facade.  Margo didn't want to be a paper girl anymore but wanted to be real.  So she had to leave her current life to find it.

I like the trio male friendship of Q, Ben, and Radar.  They were lovely to get to know.  A nice change of pace in characters.  Moreover, I think this would highly appeal to young men readers ... given that the voice was from a young male's point of view. 

A seemingly plain read but the powerful ending geared it to a depth that invites the readers to discover and appreciate ...whatever that may be for you.

1 comment:

  1. I read this while I was on my I-have-to-read-all-John Green euphoria, so I think I was expecting too much? I should have read it first, as this was one of his earlier books. I love two of his later books: Looking for Alaska and Will Grayson Will Grayson.


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