Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificent Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. When their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Margo has disappeared. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Embarking on an exhilarating adventure to find her, the closer Q gets, the less he sees the girl he thought he knew.
Hey everyone! Welcome to my first book talk! I’m starting with the first book on my “Books I couldn’t read over the semester because all my time belonged to college readings” list: “Paper Towns” by John Green!
I had actually been meaning to read “Paper Towns” since I read “The Fault in Our Stars”, sobbed my eyes out, and then decided it was one of my favorite books of all time, and now, with the movie coming out soon, I figured now was as good a time as ever. And now that I’ve finally read it I can say that I definitely recommend it. I don’t read a lot of contemporary lit, and I definitely loved this book!
SPOILERS FOR “PAPER TOWNS” BELOW THIS POINT
This book was really fun to read. It was very well paced, it was beautifully sarcastic, the characters were all really unique, it had this really good balance between the deep, thought-provoking parts and the humor, it didn’t rip my heart out like “The Fault in Our Stars”, but it still gave me this crazy rush of emotions. John Green’s writing does this really great thing where even in the serious scenes there’s this amazing sense of humor. The serious material is handled well, and you have these intense feelings, and then you’re back to laughing a second later.
I was really invested in the mystery part of the story too. I have no idea how I managed to avoid being spoiled with the book being out for so long, but I had no idea what was going to happen. In a way it kind of reminded me of those Dateline type shows where you watch for five minutes and then you’re just like, “well crap. Now I have to know where the missing person is.” because it had a really similar effect. I read this book really fast because I desperately needed to know what was going on. Sometimes I would have to stop reading to go somewhere and I would just mentally be like “No. I have to find out where Margo went. I need to know immediately.” I actually started worrying around the middle of the book that she was dead and that they were going to find her body in the abandoned strip mall or something and that it was going to get really depressing, but thankfully that didn’t happen so I didn’t end up having that emotional breakdown.
My favorite parts had to be towards the beginning, when Margo and Quentin are driving around all night doing the things on her list and the last part where they all go on the road trip from Florida to New York within a day and each chapter is an hour and it’s just written so wonderfully and you can perfectly visualize every minute. It’s just that in both parts are so spontaneous, but at the same time everything is meticulously planned and it’s all so fast paced and hilarious. I don’t know if it’s just me, but this is one of those books that makes me want to do things that I could never see myself doing in real life. Like I know that I would never spend all night enacting an elaborate revenge plot or break into SeaWorld or go on an impromptu crazy road trip but god, now I really want to. It makes you wonder if people actually have these insane stories or life changing experiences, and if so then when is it going to happen to you…It’s just like I know I’m a super introverted book nerd who doesn’t even go out much but now I really want to go on some crazy life changing road trip adventure, and I get that feeling every time I read a book like this.
This is kind of random but something that really pleasantly surprised me was the way Lacey’s character was written. At first I thought she was just one of the people Margo wanted revenge against, but then I was so happy that she was involved in figuring out where she went. It’s like, she could have just been written as a really flat minor character or a mean girl or something, but instead she was written as this really good friend and cool person. It was great to see that one of Margo’s friends was actually worried her and it wasn’t just Quentin and his friends looking for her and I’m just so glad that her character was developed. All the characters were really well written actually, they all had these really original quirks and unique personalities, and they were all just really enjoyable to read about.
I actually didn’t really find myself shipping Quentin and Margo though. I’m not really sure why, they had a really interesting relationship and all, but I don’t know if I can really see it as romantic. I just feel like Quentin was more in love with the idea of Margo from when they were kids or from the night when they drove around Orlando, and I don’t know if I can really see Margo staying in an extended relationship. The book really didn’t seem focused on romance as much as the mystery and the coming of age stuff, and those were the best aspect of the story. There were a few things left open at the end but this is the kind of book where that works really well.
One of the absolutely best parts was just all of the small details that added to the story. I remember completely losing it over the world’s largest collection of black Santas, and the part where they buy supplies for the revenge plot, and the metaphysical I-Spy, and just the whole logistics of the road trip in the end where they have to leave right away, and two of them are wearing nothing but graduation robes, and the efficiency of the gas station shops and oh my god everything about the last part of the book was amazingly beautiful and just so much fun to read.
I have high hopes for the movie, the trailer looked really accurate to the book, there were some exact lines, and they did a really good job with “The Fault in Our Stars”, so I don’t want to curse it or anything but I think it’s going to be a good adaptation. I’ll probably come back and talk about it after it comes out.
So, that’s about it, overall I really loved this book, it was fun to read, it was thought-provoking, I read it in a couple of days, it was an all-around great book, and I’m recommending it to everyone!
See you next time!