“I nod. I understand this. I imagine it is hard to go back once you’ve felt the continents in your palm. But I still try one more time. ‘But what about after the summer? What about college? What about the rest of your life?’
She shrugged. ‘What about it?’
‘Aren’t you worried about, like, forever?’
‘Forever is composed of nows,’ she says. I have nothing to say to that; I am just chewing through it when Margo says, ‘Emily Dickinson. Like I said, I’m doing a lot of reading.’
I think the future deserves our faith. But it is hard to argue with Emily Dickinson.” (Page 296)
Quentin “Q” Jacobson is a high school senior, a little bit nerdy and certainly not the most popular boy around, who has been in love with Margo Roth Speigalman, neighbor, class beauty and the most popular girl in school, since before he can remember. So when she shows up at his window one night, asking him for help, he knows it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and he ends up having one of the wildest nights of his life. Then, when Margo goes missing and doesn’t show up at school the next few days, Q knows that there is more to the story. He begins to find clues that Margo has left for him and he, along with his friends Radar and Ben, begins to look for her.
There is no doubt that John Green is an excellent story teller. This book had me hooked from the first page and I was completely thrown into the world of Q and Margo. It is an unlikely story about growing up, combined with a road trip, and extremely well-written dialogue. I found Q’s interactions with his friends to be truly hilarious.
John Green, as a writer, does something to me that no author ever has – made me almost, almost!, wish I could have experienced high school as a boy. Is that a weird thing to think?
I gave Paper Towns to my 14-year-old sister, K the Older, immediately after I read it and told her she would love it. The biggest qualm she had with the book was cover-Margo did not equal book-Margo. And she wanted Q to stop moping and do something already around page 120, but then he got off his butt and went on a road trip and she was happy.
My favorite thing about this book, along with Green’s other book An Abundance of Katherines, was that it did not treat its readers like they were dumber, just because the intended audience is a little bit younger. In fact, for most of the book, Q is quoting Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman and trying to understand it.
My second favorite thing about this book was Q. Q was such a great main character, because while he was certainly on the “periphery” of his school’s popular crowd, he was not disdainful or unhappy with that distinction. In fact, he owned it. I wish there were more books like this. He is not trying to be popular or be better than he is; he is happy being himself.
Somewhat spoilery!: My third favorite thing about this book was Margo. The whole time we are reading this book, Q imagines her to be something she is not. And when we finally meet her at the end, she is just a girl. A girl who makes monumental mistakes and a little bit self-centered, but still someone who is confused and scared about growing up. I loved the Margo we got to meet at the end, even more than the one that Q created.
88% – For all readers, regardless of age, who like excellent dialogue, witty banter, and a moving story.
Now for the big question: which book did I like more? An Abundance of Katherines or Paper Towns?
Did I miss yours?