When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q. (Summary via Amazon.com)
I’ve been a fan of John Green and his brother, Hank, for a while now. I wasn’t one of the original Nerdfighters (although some of my friends were, so I was at least aware of it), but I love watching their YouTube videos and I’ve lately been really interested in their podcast, Dear Hank and John. Still, this is the first book I’ve ever read by John Green, and I was a little apprehensive. I’ve heard both good and bad things about The Fault in Our Stars from my bookish friends, and I’m rarely in the mood for something so depressing (thus knocking Looking for Alaska out of the running, too). So Paper Towns it was. (Also in this book’s favor was the fact that the movie had just been released when I read it, and I always like to read the book first.)
Fortunately, my fears were needless. This book kind of reminded me of combination of the classics Catcher in the Rye and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. That is to say, it’s a modernized, less depressing version of the classic themes of coming of age and finding your place in the world.
Q is just a typical teenage guy, hanging out with his friends and trying to graduate high school, until Margo walks back into his life. She has been Q’s neighbor since they were kids, and although they used to be close friends, Q and Margo haven’t spoken in years. That hasn’t stopped Q from having a crush on Margo, now one of the most popular–and most unusual–girls at school. So when Margo asks Q to assist her on a crazy night of adventures, he agrees. Just as Q thinks there might be hope for their relationship, Margo vanishes, and Q takes it upon himself to find her.
Along the way, as Q does crazier and crazier (and more Margo-like) things to find Margo, he learns more about himself, his friends, and even Margo. One of the major themes is that the way we see others and the way they view themselves often don’t match up, and that maybe our identities are larger and more complex than others, and even we ourselves, may think.
It’s a great coming of age story for a new generation of teens. I greatly enjoyed it, and I look forward to reading more from John Green soon.
Rating: Pretty Darn Good