Paper Towns opens with two neighbour kids, Quentin (Q) and Margo finding a dead body in the park – a moment that haunts them both for years to come but in very different ways. We then fast-forward to senior year. Q and Margaret have barely spoken in years until one night Margo climbs through Q’s window to pull him into a world he has never experienced. A night full of revenge, pranks and breaking and entering (but never both at the same time). Their adventure leads them to life lessons and realisations they wouldn’t have learned confined in their “paper town”.
Q puts Margo in a pedestal and she knows it. She hates it but I think she kind of loves it at the same time. But Q is doing what we all do. We latch on to a person, but what we are really doing is latching on to the idea of the person we have created in our head. Q didn’t truly know Margo before he loved her. He has spent a long time loving her from a distance. So when she asks for help he goes with her. After their all-nighter Margo disappears but Q finds that there are clues left behind – and they’re for him. He is urged down a disconnected path and the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew.
I like that John Green’s books tell you that the popular kids aren’t always happy and the kid with fewer friends might actually be happier. In Paper Towns Margo is really popular but completely unhappy.
Paper Towns is a light, easy read about a pretty intense road trip. Q, Ben and Radar’s humour was witty, funny, intelligent. They are good friends to Q. Is Margo a likable character? I didn’t really like her, especially towards the end. She seemed really selfish. She leaves clues behind and then says she didn’t expect to be found. She’s mad at them for finding her! And the phrase “manic pixie dream girl”!?! Really?
I loved that the book was set in Orlando. I love Orlando. I knew the places being talked about. And the ‘paper town’ fact was interesting – I didn’t know that before. It’s the kind of book that makes you want to go on a road trip.