Paper Towns by John Green, published January 2014 by Bloomsbury.
Read: March 2014
Genre: Young Adult/Romance/Adventure/Mystery
Goodreads Synopsis: 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, 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 the girl he thought he knew…
Oh dear, a lot of John Green fans are not going to be too happy with me in around 6 minutes… So, Paper Towns is a coming of age story about an unpopular geek (who’s still pretty funky) called Quentin and his “girl-next-door” popular neighbour Margo Roth Spiegelman, who Quentin has always had a soft spot for. Margo likes to go off on adventures and one day she decides to involve Quentin in her revenge escapades. The next day Margo doesn’t come to school and a week later she is still missing. Quentin soon discovers clues she has left about her disappearance, which results in a road trip across America to find her…
I really liked the idea behind this story, and the first few chapters were very promising. The characters were easy to fall for; Radar with his quirky semi-genius ways, Ben with his incessant attempts at being hip and Quentin with his deep and sometimes profound thoughts on relationships and the human condition. The characters were all easy to fall for, except for Margo. Towards the end of the book I definitely started feeling like she was “making mountains out of molehills” and more than that, I felt there were a number of possibilities for the various plot twists and endings that would have worked much better, maintaining the suspense and making me as a reader relate much more to Margo.
Unfortunately, I just didn’t enjoy this book as much as I was expecting to. There were some humorous moments throughout the novel, and some fantastic writing by John Green (not quite as impressive as The Fault in Our Stars though) but when I got to the end of the book I kind of just thought, “Wow, really, that’s it?!” I traveled with these guys on their road trip, I got anxious with Quentin over Margo’s disappearance and I really wanted the two protagonists to end up together, or at least for something more substantial to happen in the story. By the end I kind of just questioned the overall point…
“She loved mysteries so much that she became one.”
While I enjoyed the book and appreciated John Green’s wonderful way with words, I just couldn’t get into it as much as I would have liked. I was expecting something more, or maybe just something else, from this book. I guess The Fault in Our Stars was just a difficult act to follow (I’m reading John Green’s books out of sync). I’m going to persevere with more of Green’s work, including An Abundance of Katherine’s and Will Grayson, Will Grayson to see if I can find another one of his books that becomes a firm favourite.