103 of 114 people found the following review helpful
Best YA Novel I've Read This Year
, November 19, 2008
This review is from: Paper Towns (Hardcover)
"Paper Towns" was written by a smart, smart man. I've heard about John Green before, but this is the first time I've read one of his novels, and I can hardly articulate how impressed I am. He writes flawed, nuanced characters that spout off highly quotable dialogue. In short, this is a book you quite simply need to buy. To elaborate a bit...
The book is divided into three sections. In the first, Margo Roth Spiegelman takes Quentin, our protagonist (who, sidebar, is in love with her) on a crazy, 'spontaneous' journey that changes his life forever. In the second part, Quentin tries to make sense of the events that follow that glorious night. In the third and final part, he goes on a road trip with his friends in order to meet up with Margo. All of this seems rather simple, but it's packed so tight with bittersweet poignancy, insight, and intelligence that you can hardly believe the book is only three-hundred pages long. And really, when a book can incorporate Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" as well as this one did, and offer more insight into Whitman's words than any literary criticism possibly could... what more could you ask for?
The book is just overflowing with ideas, literary references, deep understanding of the way senior year in high school feels, and--most importantly--insight into the way people perceive things. What I love most about Green's writing is that he never has the characters settle on these big, life-changing revelations. When Quentin discovers something vital about understanding life, his finds are often refuted by a new realization, that is later refuted itself. It's a very "in the moment" novel, written about a boy in love with a very "in the moment" girl. I love how there are so many ideas at work here that you never feel talked down to, because Green isn't really giving his readers a message. He's just encouraging them to ponder things in order to, hopefully, connect with one of these ideas. Because, in the end, this intricate and insanely well-written book is just about someone connecting with something else.
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