Paper Towns

Paper Towns

Who is the real Margo?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, alw...

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Title:Paper Towns
Author:John Green
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Paper Towns Reviews

  • Jamie Felton

    I need to start off with my criticism of John Green:

    1) Margo and Quentin are exactly the same people as Colin and Katherine and Miles and Alaska. Quentin/Colin/Miles is this very thoughtful, somewhat nerdy young man who is on the cusp of fucking reaching out and grabbing life by the balls however he can. He is also enamored with Margo/Alaska/Katherine, a girl who is unattainable. She is unpredictable and full of a shimmering charm; she fades oasis-style the closer and closer you try to get. In a

    I need to start off with my criticism of John Green:

    1) Margo and Quentin are exactly the same people as Colin and Katherine and Miles and Alaska. Quentin/Colin/Miles is this very thoughtful, somewhat nerdy young man who is on the cusp of fucking reaching out and grabbing life by the balls however he can. He is also enamored with Margo/Alaska/Katherine, a girl who is unattainable. She is unpredictable and full of a shimmering charm; she fades oasis-style the closer and closer you try to get. In addition, she feels too much and is never really seen for who she is (but rather, for who everyone wants her to be). Having said this, I am in love with Quentin/Colin/Miles, and Margo/Alaska/Katherine is the girl I want to meet/aspire to someday be so I can't be too critical. Green knows these people and has lit them from inside with realism and dimension.

    2) There were moments (albeit far fewer than in his previous books) where I felt like...okay, this is maybe a teensy bit contrived. A little bit too perfectly quirky. I cannot totally relate or believe in a guy who has invented a mathematical formula calculating the probability that the next Katherine he dates will dump him. I think it's a creative premise that makes me want to read the book and is extremely well-executed, but if I don't believe in someone, I'm not going to fully feel for them or understand them. This prevents me from enjoying the book as much as I do Margaret Atwood, etc. Maybe this doesn't bother anyone else, but it bothers me, and I just can't put the guy up on a pedestal.

    However, however, I fucking loved this book. And I'm not going to summarize it. It was practically perfect and ridiculously engrossing and extremely fascinating (so much so that my adverb use has increased exponentially). If I even tried to give a synopsis, it would trivialize it too much. Green uses Leaves of Grass in a way that made me want to re-read it (after having suffered through it in high school) and potentially graffiti it all over the United States because: we. have. it. so. wrong. here. (I love Green's use of periods). Part of why I loved it is for selfish reasons. Margo's struggles are my own, and her hates are my hates. In Quentin deciphering Margo, it helped me realize a lot of things about myself; this is something that would be valuable to anyone who needs to become the wounded man.

  • karen

    beatlemania is nothing compared to what i feel for john green right now.

    this book was the perfect palate-cleanser between all the dark apocalyptic stuff i have been shoving in my face. i have been reading so much dystopian YA that i forgot there were other options. i bought this ages ago, because i read

    , and everyone was giving this one high marks, but i kept passing it up in favor of "kids whose school is trying to eat them" and "kids vs. bears" and "kids in a world without

    beatlemania is nothing compared to what i feel for john green right now.

    this book was the perfect palate-cleanser between all the dark apocalyptic stuff i have been shoving in my face. i have been reading so much dystopian YA that i forgot there were other options. i bought this ages ago, because i read

    , and everyone was giving this one high marks, but i kept passing it up in favor of "kids whose school is trying to eat them" and "kids vs. bears" and "kids in a world without cheese" which is the scariest dystopia i can imagine right now, but i forgot just how scary real life can be. and john green reminded me. and obviously, this isn't a horror novel, but i was reading this with so much apprehension, heading towards an uncertain ending, genuinely concerned for the characters.

    i liked this even better than

    . in that book, i really liked the characters, but they did feel like characters. this feels like i am just observing real people, following actual kids around (which i would never do, officer) but they sound authentic. i thought

    was great, but those kids were a little too smarty-pants for me, while this book just sounds like actual smart kids talking. and it is funny and sad and intelligent and oh just so good. that scene with r. and the c.f. t-s?? i laughed so loudly, i startled myself. i just could not stop giggling. (fortunately not on the subway for that one)

    a lot of the YA stuff i read is like "what if kids were hyper-articulate and possessed of amazing insight and inner resources and also super fighting skills?" but this one reminded me of what it was actually like to be youthful (ahhh....) even grown folks who refuse to dip into YA would enjoy this, i suspect. he is my perfect storyteller. he does his job, he takes you on a journey, and the characters actually grow as people and every character has a distinct voice, and there is dramatic tension. he is a

    . not an "author," but a true writer. some YA, even in books i like, falls into traps: they talk down to the audience, they gloss over certain things, clearly hoping the audience won't notice, they fail to provide appropriate details so the world becomes raggedy... and while it is easier, i'm sure, to operate in a real-world setting, rather than a world of your own making, john green does not take any shortcuts. there is a density to his writing that is truly impressive in a book that is not a slow-paced slog.

    will i return to the YA dystopia? duh, obviously - i have like 30 of them here i have been dying to get into. but i know that when i need a break, i can return to john green and be guaranteed a well-wrought and thoughtful story that manages to actually have useful life lessons without coming across as teachy-preachy. and lord knows i still have a lot to learn.

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  • Emily May

    I already said this in a status update but I am so glad I reread

    . I first read it years ago; back before I'd heard of vlogbrothers, back when John Green was only known by a handful of readers, way way back before

    .

    Then TFi

    I already said this in a status update but I am so glad I reread

    . I first read it years ago; back before I'd heard of vlogbrothers, back when John Green was only known by a handful of readers, way way back before

    .

    Then TFiOS happened and I began to question my feelings for John Green's writing. I know millions loved his tragicomedy about teens with cancer, yet I found it cheesy and contrived, with unrealistic characters who wallowed in their own pretentious philosophy (sorry fans, but that's how I felt). And I began to wonder if perhaps his books had always been like that and I'd somehow missed it. If perhaps

    wouldn't be the way I remembered it.

    You see, here's some truths about John Green: He's an intelligent writer. He loves philosophy and he embraces nerddom. And, under it all, he's a romantic. In TFiOS, I believe he took these things too far. It felt like a book that set out with a mission to be deep, clever, to deliver a multitude of messages, to prove that teenagers are quirky and intelligent. Augustus, especially, seemed built around "intelligence" and "quirkiness" to the point that he didn't feel real; he felt like a caricature of a "philosophical teen".

    But coming back to

    made me realise that

    hadn't changed. JG's style had.

    . I felt like I was observing real teens living real lives, even though the plot does contain some fantastical elements. But it's because Quentin and his friends feel like teenagers. Many of them are still smart (it wouldn't be a JG book if they weren't) but they're realistic, silly, horny, and as ridiculous as we all ultimately are.

    I laughed out loud so many times. I highlighted so many quotes and then couldn't decide which ones to include in my review. I enjoyed the "depth" of the novel that emerges gradually behind the silliness. The lessons about teen love and growing up and wanting to escape. In TFiOS, I felt like JG created caricatures. In this book, he takes caricatures and stereotypes and peels back the layers of them to reveal the people underneath. Which is, ultimately, the underlying theme of this book:

    Years have passed. People have changed. And this book is still as good as it always was.

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  • Nicole

    The following is quite a lot of dribble that I felt the need to get off my chest...

    Hmmm...what to say? I'm kind of perplexed by this book. I know I never want to read the name Margo Roth Spielgelman ever again, that's for sure. The characters (apart from the previously named) were fantastic and very believable. The dialogue between the friends was great and funny as I have come to expect from John Green. The first quarter of the book was highly enjoyable and then it deteriorated for me. I think

    The following is quite a lot of dribble that I felt the need to get off my chest...

    Hmmm...what to say? I'm kind of perplexed by this book. I know I never want to read the name Margo Roth Spielgelman ever again, that's for sure. The characters (apart from the previously named) were fantastic and very believable. The dialogue between the friends was great and funny as I have come to expect from John Green. The first quarter of the book was highly enjoyable and then it deteriorated for me. I think this book suffers from it's own storyline. *spoilers* It veers from an amusing and interesting start to the baffling obsession of Quentin in his quest to find the will-not-be-named-again girl after they had one night of vengeful fun. I found myself wondering if this was seriously what this book was about after Quentin starts a desperate search for said girl who left home, is 18 (yes a legal adult) and has studiously ignored the crap out of him for 9 years apart from that one night! Not to mention she has her own head firmly stuck up her own arse. What is with all the convoluted clues left for Quentin? Talk about self important! Anyway, I read through it all hoping it all had good reason, but it turns out it was just a giant exercise in navel-gazing. That's all good and well, but, in future please do something more interesting with your great characters John Green, thank you.

  • K.D. Absolutely

    “Mirroring” is a concept in psychology where a person can know himself better by soliciting feedbacks from other people who he interacts with either at home or at work. Last weekend, I attended a company-sponsored teambuilding session and the facilitator used this. I got some good feedbacks that confirmed what I already knew but also some revelations. Those included in the so-called “blindspots” quadrant.

    In this novel

    , John Green indirectly used

    for

    “Mirroring” is a concept in psychology where a person can know himself better by soliciting feedbacks from other people who he interacts with either at home or at work. Last weekend, I attended a company-sponsored teambuilding session and the facilitator used this. I got some good feedbacks that confirmed what I already knew but also some revelations. Those included in the so-called “blindspots” quadrant.

    In this novel

    , John Green indirectly used

    for

    or simply

    to understand love and life and to know himself better as a person, as a man. Not by giving him direct feedbacks but by making him experience the things that he would not have dared doing. Who would have dared driving your parents’ car in the middle of the night, pushing it with your friend few meters away from the house so as not to awake them with the sound of the engine? Then going to the houses of the people who wronged your friend just to avenge? Then your friend disappeared, with no intention of returning and not wanting to be found, the following day? Leaving a note after a hug and a kiss: “I. Will. Miss. Hanging. Out. With. You.” That was after leaving catfishes in the underwear drawer of a friend ha ha. Who would have thought of having this plot in the first place?

    What makes this novel engaging is the prose: it is downright sincere and true to its voice: youngish, quirky, innocent yet full of life lessons. Green does not push down his philosophy on growing up down your throat. He lets you enjoy his story and life realizations just naturally follow. I am sure that Green’s idiosyncrasies must have been reflected somehow by his many male characters: Q, Radar and Ben but Margo permeates in each page of this novel:

    I applaud Green for creating a character like Margo that can rally boys to transform themselves into men without disregard to the pains of growing up. After all, we all went through those pains – not having a prom date, losing your first love, unrequited love, unknowingly pissing off some of our friends, etc – and we all learned from them. As we grow old, we tend to ridicule young people experiencing the same pains and call them trivial and proudly say something like

    But for them, those are parts of

    lives. That’s where we were. That’s where they are now.

    Like Margo’s paper towns, we need to take care not to blow down the delicate houses and make them fall apart. And yes, even one of my blind spots has just been cleared by this novel.

    I never thought that a middle-age man like me would still enjoy a YA book. Where were these books when I was growing up?

  • Sasha Alsberg

    I enjoyed Paper Towns but did not love it as much as Johns other work. The ending was not as fulfilling as I hoped.

    3.5/5 stars

    Xx

  • Anne

    I was pretty disappointed in Paper Towns. I am a big fan of John Green but found this book plodding and boring. I hated the Margo character and thought that Q was a big whiner. His obsession with Margo, who he didn't really even know, was really annoying. I realize that this was one of the messages of the book, that we all assign traits and "personalities" to people we hardly know, but it was still hard to take, page after page.

    I still love John Green and his blog, still consider myself a "nerd

    I was pretty disappointed in Paper Towns. I am a big fan of John Green but found this book plodding and boring. I hated the Margo character and thought that Q was a big whiner. His obsession with Margo, who he didn't really even know, was really annoying. I realize that this was one of the messages of the book, that we all assign traits and "personalities" to people we hardly know, but it was still hard to take, page after page.

    I still love John Green and his blog, still consider myself a "nerd fighter" and would give just about anything to see him in public, but can't give Paper Towns more than 2 stars.

  • Maria

    /5 Stars ⭐ ⭐

    Oh boi. This motherfucking book. Let me talk to you about this book. I HATED THE GUTS OUT OF IT. I have never given this kind of low rating to a book, I guess it's time. And I would have given it less stars but I gifted it half a start because of something I will talk about below. Here's what I wrote when I started this book two days ago:

    /5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️

    Oh boi. This motherfucking book. Let me talk to you about this book. I HATED THE GUTS OUT OF IT. I have never given this kind of low rating to a book, I guess it's time. And I would have given it less stars but I gifted it half a start because of something I will talk about below. Here's what I wrote when I started this book two days ago:

    So you can see I went into this book a (tiny) bit prejudiced. But I wasn't wrong to be and I don't think had I not being prejudiced once I started it I would have liked it. I'm entirely certain that if I hadn't read this book now, it would have collected dust in my bookshelves for the rest of my days. And I'm glad I got rid of this now because when I look at books in my bookshelves I haven't read it gives me anxiety. Anyway, now let's start with the tea.

    My past with John Green is not as big as other people's. I had read

    a gazillion years ago so I don't remember jack shit and

    a few months ago which I truly enjoyed. John Green has the reputation of writing pretentious books so yeah, he didn't disappoint with this one. This is an old book and it showed. Mostly on the part that it entailed little to no diversity. Also some good old misogyny. But it is to be expected with a book published in fucking 2008.

    - ???? ??

    - The road trip. I gave this book half a star more because of it. It was fun and entertaining but also unrealistic but this is John Green for ya.

    - ?????????

    - ???????!!!!

    - Lacey and Radar. They were cool.

    - ???

    - The quotes??? Some inspirational shit.

    - ??? ?????

    - Yeah.

    - This line

    It was the only part in the book that showed Margo to be just a regular girl, not some mythical creature out of this world. I'm very glad it was also included in the movie but let's talk about all these things more later on.

    - Let's start from the first 30 pages. What the fuck was that about? A little 9-8-year-old-whatever-tf girl is doing an investigation on a crime and she goes to the crime scene and the detective or whatever asks the fucking 9-8-year-old-whatever-tf girl if she's with the school newspaper and if she's not, he will answer her questions and then the 9-8-year-old-whatever-tf girl goes to the house next door and a GROWN UP woman tells the 9-8-year-old-whatever-tf girl that the man killed himself because of his divorce and because he was troubled. ????? Who tells a 9-8-year-old-whatever-tf girl these things? Which adult in their right mind does that?? I don't know why I'm stuck at this for so long, but those details weren't included in the movie and I'm very glad of it.

    -

    . Oh man. From now on when people ask me

    , I will say her name. Margo Roth Spiegelman. Margo Roth Spiegelman. Fucking MARGO ROTH SPIEGELMAN. I didn't even need to look up her name to write it right. It's stuck in my head for the rest of my life. The perfect girl. The myth. The legend. Margo Roth Spiegelman. The Mary Sue to end all Mary Sues. The most entitled bitch to have ever walked the Earth. Margo Roth Spiegelman. I didn't care if she would be found. I knew she would be doing something stupid and "inspirational" or whatever. She didn't deserve the attention she got.

    -

    . I didn't like any of them. Not even Q. Basically from the beginning till the end I didn't care about any of the characters' fates. I just wanted the book to end because I was extremely bored and unsatisfied.

    -

    . What was even the plot?

    -

    .

    .

    -

    . The pace was just... slow after a certain point. So many clues and then some high school stuff and some more clues and some shit Ben kept saying and more clues and then the road trip and then it's over.

    - I was rolling my eyes so hard when Q left his fucking

    in the middle to go find the entitled bitch when she didn't even want to be found. And I hated that his friends followed him. This is where this road trip was unrealistic for me. This would never happen in real life. And that's why they changed it in the movie too.

    - I loathed the fact that Margo, after not talking to Q for 10 years or something, she was so confident in going into his room in the middle of the night and asking him for his car and 11 favors. Like... come on. The dude was head over heels in love, otherwise no one would have done that. It's once again... unrealistic.

    - I just didn't wait for this book to be over. It was slowly killing me from the inside. I would rather have eaten dog shit than read this book. It was this bad for me.

    Listen to my incredible story for a bit. When I read books which have been adapted into movies or tv shows I ALWAYS WATCH THEM. NO MATTER IF I WANT TO RIP THE BOOK IN TWO I ALWAYS WATCH THE MOVIE OR THE TV SHOW THAT IS INSPIRED BY IT. ALWAYS. So, after hearing this, you will realize I didn't watch the movie because I liked the book, but because I always do. And it's also an excuse for me lately to watch movies, because if I don't watch a movie in the cinema, I never do at home. I'm more of a books and tv shows kind of gal, what can you do?

    So, let's start! The movie made the story and the characters a little bit more interesting. It cut out the boring parts and added some very funny and nice scenes that lacked in the book. I liked that they didn't lose their graduation for the road trip to find Margo, because it was totally bollocks. I liked the changes they made with that aspect of the book. I liked the casting, I think it was spot on. Except Margo and not because Cara isn't good enough for the part but because of her weight. Margo is supposed to be "curvy" and she got "bullied" by Lacey because of her figure. And I hated that they didn't keep this part in the movie because there wasn't any real reason after all for Margo to be hating Lacey. And just... don't erase curvy people. Margo was supposed to be "the most perfect and popular girl in the entire school" and she was curvy. Just let that part in, damn it. Also, this movie's description must have been:

    Honestly, why make Q's love for Margo unrequited? When it was the opposite in the book? I didn't understand this change. It was unnecessary and it didn't add anything to the plot. But, to sum it up, the movie was a good enough adaptation for this book. But I didn't like it. Because I didn't like the book. Duh.

    In conclusion, this book was a nightmare for me, from start to finish. I didn't earn anything from this book, not lessons, not a new ship, not new favorite characters, nothing. I just wanted it to end. I know it's a popular book and I'm very sorry for this negative review, but not all books are for everyone. And till the next one... K BYE!

  • Sophia.

    Why so many good ratings for this book? It could basically be called Looking for Margo, or Paper Alaska, because it's the same formula, again and again. How many books can he write about an unbelievable teenager secretely loving another unbelievable teenager? Everything was so absurd, Quentin's parents, the road trip, Ben, the black Santas.

    All the metaphors are perharps what made me lose it completely. The book that Quentin reads, Song of Myself, all the thoughts he had about it are so painfull

    Why so many good ratings for this book? It could basically be called Looking for Margo, or Paper Alaska, because it's the same formula, again and again. How many books can he write about an unbelievable teenager secretely loving another unbelievable teenager? Everything was so absurd, Quentin's parents, the road trip, Ben, the black Santas.

    All the metaphors are perharps what made me lose it completely. The book that Quentin reads, Song of Myself, all the thoughts he had about it are so painfully forced down the reader's throat.

    I've read somewhere that John Green was in love with his own brain, and I cannot agree more. The rant of the detective about balloons was so badly executed I thought it was a joke. It's not poetic, it's ridiculous. And Quentin is so self absorbed, bashing Ben when really he should take a good look at himself. And Margo. God. I had such a hard time finishing the book. It was this bad.

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