Friday, May 30, 2014

Book Review: Paper Towns

Release Date: October 16, 2008
Author: John Green
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Length: 305 pages

Two-time Printz Medalist John Green’s New York Times bestseller, now in paperback!

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.



Characters: So normally I begin my reviews talking about the protagonist, but I have so many things to say on the characters in this book in general so I'm going old school and am going to approach the main cast of characters first. So let's begin with the protagonist though, Quentin, raised by psychiatrists, has had feelings for his next door neighbor Margo since childhood. This would be all fine and dandy, however we only get one look at their time as children and from the looks of it, even though their parents are good friends, it doesn't seem like they spent that much time together as children. Which in the end makes his affections for Margo a bit creepy, but we'll get to that a bit more in the "Romance" section. Next we have Margo, now I know she has horrible parents, but I'm sick of characters blaming their characters for their problems when, technically, their parents aren't actually to blame. In fact her parents don't seem to have acted like assholes until Margo did some terribly stupid things such as apparently stealing her parents' car in the 5th grade and driving it to Mississippi. I mean seriously I don't blame her parents for some of the douchey stuff they did. Then we have Quentin's friends Radar and Ben. Out of the two I liked Radar the best, he was both the most likable and the most realistic. He's a moderator on a Wikipedia-esque website called Omnictionary. He's smart, kind, and at times way too accepting of people's flaws. Then there's Ben who at first comes off a bit annoying using the words "honey bunny" in practically every sentence making me want to wring his little neck, but then he gets worse later in the book acting like a complete tool while drunk hitting on girls while his date is downstairs. He sort of redeems himself by the end of the book but honestly he pissed me off too many times to be truly redeemed.

Romance: So aside form the creepy almost stalker like way Quentin "loves" Margo, there really isn't too much romance in this book. Instead it's mainly Quentin pining after Margo who seems to have left town, and while everyone's sure she'll be back Quentin's sure that she's tasked him with finding her because, for some reason, he believes that she loves him too or something like that. I don't know, while all in all I did like these characters, they way they, many Quentin, went about doing things felt more creepy than romantic which really bothered me.

Writing: So I knew going into this that it wasn't going to be as amazing as TFiOS, but I still expected a great profound, ground-breaking contemporary, but unfortunately it fell flat for me. Where TFiOS was profound because these kids who've faced death time and time again came out stronger and wiser, this book had kids who just seemed to come off more pretentious than profound which really bugged me time and time again in this book. One example is while on a road trip these kids don't play normal I Spy, no that would be too ordinary, instead they play Metaphysical I Spy. What kid just out of high school would play such a freaking pretentious game. Who does that. Not that it wouldn't be fun but it still just comes off as pretentious.

Predictability: Honestly, despite this book falling flat it did completely catch me off guard in more good ways than bad. The ending especially, which I'll go more in depth with later was especially satisfying. Next to that the mystery surrounding this book was great and always kept me on my toes as I had as hard of a time attempting to decipher these clues as the characters in this book did. Aside from that the basic story elements didn't turn out the way I had predicted and in fact at times that was for the better.

Ending: So like I said the ending was really satisfying, despite the fact that I felt that there should have been an epilogue taking place a few years after the end. However, life is open ended it'd be unrealistic for everything to end happily ever after in the best, most wrapped up ending ever. In the end I think that everyone got what they deserved whether that was good or bad and while I know it's a bit cliche to say, the ending was my favorite part for many reasons.


So even though I kind of gave this book a bit of a hard time, I really did like it. While it did come off as a bit pretentious at times and I wasn't a fan of most of the characters it was a fun and enjoyable book to read and a hell of a lot happier than TFiOS. That being said I did have higher expectations and am sad to say that it's made me a bit hesitant to continue with John Green's other books. I mean I'm sure I will read them, I'm just going to have to take some time before reading another.


1 comment:

  1. I really like Paper Towns! It's my...3rd fav John Green (behind Will Grayson Will Grayson and TFIOS)