Customer Review

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun read but a little trite, October 18, 2009
This review is from: Paper Towns (Paperback)
I'm 21 and an avid reader. Recently, I have been reading the more interesting sounding YA novels that have come out recently, looking for some fun, smart, quick reads. I've read quite a few, and from those I have really enjoyed The Hunger Games and its sequel Catching Fire, Graceling and it's prequel Fire, The Host, Poison Study, A Certain Slant of Light and I'm currently reading and enjoying Maximum Ride. I felt like all of these YA books stood out from the rest because the stories were cleverly developed, the dialog was fun, and they kept me interested. Nor did the writing and dialog feel 'young' or a little silly as some YA novels often feel.

Now on to Paper Towns...

I really enjoyed reading this book, it was fun to read, and I loved the main character and his group of friends. I thought that the story developed well overall. That being said, while the first half of the book was ok (not incredibly entertaining nor boring), what kept me reading was how much I enjoyed getting to know the main character and his two friends Ben and Radar. At first I found their teen boy dialog a little annoying, but after getting to know them a little better it made sense. Quentin's obsession with interpreting Margo got old after awhile and I started to get bored which thankfully didn't last for too long. I was pleasantly surprised when I got to maybe the last 150 pages of the book and it felt like the pages were flying by because I had just completely fallen into the last part of the story! There were parts in this last section of the book that made me laugh out loud and I found the group of friends so endearing in the last part of their journey that I couldn't put it down, not because I really wanted to know what happened at the end, but because it was so enjoyable to read.

After reading Paper Towns, there is no doubt in my mind that John Green is a good writer, and I really admire his ability to tap into the teenage way of thinking and many of the emotions that we are prone to feel during high school. The fact that he is able to make the characters in the book sound like actual teenagers without sounding overly formulated adds to the novel. My only issue with this book is that I felt like the author was trying to make Margo into Holden Caulfield in far too obvious of a way and it made her character and her character's angst seem silly. Her calling Orlando a "paper town" and then having Quentin rehash the sentiment when he observes 'all the paper people, in the paper houses at their paper party' (or whatever the actual quote said), was just too obviously similar to Holden and his 'phonies'. The difference between Holden and Margo though is that Holden was far more believable in his need to escape from societal norms.

The character of Margo was so off putting to me because her angst seemed so calculated by the author that she didn't feel unique at all and it made the book seem a little trite. The effect she had on Quentin made sense though (and essentially this is what the book is about), and thankfully because he was such a great main character and his friends were fun too, this book is well worth the read.

While this book might lack the entertainment factor of The Hunger Games, I definitely recommend it to readers who like a slightly introspective and fun YA novel where you can connect with the main character. In many of the popular YA books coming out the main characters seem predominately female, so I found Quentin to be a breath of fresh air.

Some of the reviews down here address the language but I definitely feel that it's far from offensive in this book because it's realistic to how high school students speak. For concerned parents, I think there might have been a few sex references, but nothing strong.
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