Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Book review: 'Paper Towns'

Happy Tuesday! Sorry I've been a little MIA this weekend. I intended to take Friday off for the Fourth, but the weekend was so packed I kind of forgot to prepare a post for yesterday and, honestly, it's just nice to take an extra day off sometimes.

OK. Let me preface this review by saying I did NOT choose to read Paper Towns because it was written by John Green. Of course, I did read TheFault in Our Stars before that movie came out and loved it (both the book and the movie), but it didn’t give me some intense desire to read all of Green’s novels. I actually wanted to read this one only after seeing previews for the movie (and because I have a mini girl crush on Cara Delevingne, but I digress).
So, I had some expectations from the beginning based solely on the glimpses I’d gotten from the movie previews. But I have to say, the book threw me for some loops. There were a lot of things I really liked about it — and a few I really didn’t. But for the majority of it I was angry about the 3 minutes of movie clips that had me expecting things to be different from how they were in the book. And that is the reason you should ALWAYS READ THE BOOK BEFORE YOU SEE THE MOVIE.

Anyway, to the actual reviewing portion of this post.

The writing was obviously great, because John Green is a very talented author. He’s so good at getting into the minds of teenagers: understanding their angst and desire to grow up without really knowing what growing up means, revealing their weaknesses but also their strengths, and (my favorite part) showing just how raw and emotional they can be when no one is looking. The last part is something I think happens with most young people, but rarely anyone gets to see it from the outside because we're all so good at hiding at that age.

The same can be said for Quentin, aka Q, who narrates the story. As a senior in high school, he’s wiser than most of the other kids in his grade, but his flaws are revealed in his relationships with his friends and with Margo, his childhood friend, neighbor and love interest. Their relationship is a fairly normal one to start: They grow up next door to each other and become friends. But as they get older and join different cliques, they lose touch and become only faces seen from across the hall at school. Until the night Margo shows up at Q’s window and enlists him to help her in an all-night plan of revenge.

After that, everything changes. Margo disappears without so much as a note to her parents, who have decided not to care that she’s left this time. Q becomes obsessed with finding her, believing she left clues just for him. And his friends aren’t quite as supportive of this mission as Q would like, considering they’re more interested in prom, girls and living up the last few weeks of high school.

I’m not going to go into detail on the plot, because you can find that on Amazon and I don’t think it’s as important as the reactions it causes in the characters. Margo turns out to be more of a mystery than anyone had thought before she left, including her closest friends. Q is so insightful in his quest to find Margo, realizing along the way that he's not only trying to find out where Margo went, also trying to figure out who Margo was. I thought it was really fun to follow him as he transforms from the always-good-kid to the more adventurous person he becomes throughout his adventure.

Paper Towns is a really great book, with beautiful writing and fantastic thoughts. The only negative, for me, was that it lacked motivation. The transformations of characters was uniquely real, but the cause seemed a little undeveloped and underachieving at the end. But even though it's not the ending I would have written, it was one of the more beautiful and thought-provoking conclusions I've read in a long time. And for that reason, I think it's well worth adding to your reading list. 

Have you read Paper Towns yet? What did you think of the end? I'd love to hear...

P.S. The Vacationers, The Girl on the Train and Crazy Rich Asians 


  1. i love your blog, and this post was so well written! x

    i personally was disappointed on this book, but i have my own review coming soon hehhe xx

    i much prefer TFIOs and LFA xx


  2. Aww thank you, Anna! Yeah, I was bummed that I didn't like this one more as much as Fault in Our Stars, but I still want to read Looking for Alaska! Glad to hear you liked both of those :)


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