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Paper Towns
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on October 19, 2009
I know this is a YA book, but as a reader who is twice as old as Quentin (okay I lie- I'm about six years older even than that!), I thought it was one of my best reads in a long while. Having been a band nerd and heavily involved in speech and drama, I most definitely had close friends who were Quentins, Bens, or Radars, and I can think of more than one Margo in my high school (and each of them was about ten tiers higher in the caste system than I, so I cannot say we were close friends).

This past week I went to a conference in Phoenix and got stuck in the Albuquerque airport for a couple of hours on my way there. I saw Paper Towns most unattainably sitting on the top shelf out of arms reach in the airport bookstore. Thankfully a kind, tall stranger retrieved it for me, and I am so glad he did, because getting to know Quentin a little better at the end of each conference day was more fun than the alternative activity- which would have been getting buzzed in the fancy hotel bar paying $10 per drink.

On my return flight I was sitting next to a guy who made this repulsive sound every two to three minutes that made me think he was trying to suck his sinuses down his throat (I can only assure you that reading about this sound is much less nauseating than listening to it). When I had about twenty pages left, I decided the finale was too special to read in an environment of a full flight on a Sunday evening sitting next to Phlegm-Man, so I saved it until I got home. No spoilers, but I like how John Green wrapped it up; although I was swimming in metaphors (mainly about grass and cracks-- not what you're thinking).

I hope that when they make this into a movie that they don't add extra scenes about Margo that aren't in the book to make the movie more about her than the book is (and this book really needs to be made into a movie). In my life the Quentins, Bens, Radars, and Laceys are more important to me than the Margos; although I understand why Quentin cared about her. I still care about the Margos, but despite what Whitman says, I can't feel like I am a part of the same root system with them. That window/mirror statement says more about me than them (just read the book, and this won't sound so schizo). Yet at the same time, even though I believe in a life rightly lived and even though I believe the future deserves our faith, there are glimpses through cracks into Margo that make me identify with her.

This book was good enough that I am still "thinking in John Green". A little John Green narrator is sitting on my shoulder saying thinks like "asshat". The book was good enough that even though I have a big presentation at work on Friday, and even though my annual credentialing packet that was due last week sits unfinished on my desk, and even though I should be reviewing all the stuff I learned at my conference, I am writing a book review on Amazon (and I haven't done a review in five years). I am the mom to three elementary school boys, and I am doing what I can to prevent them from becoming a Chuck Parson- which would be highly unlikely. The nerd gene that they got from their mom is quite dominant (and as much as I have tried in my life to reverse that part of my genetics- there is no gene therapy for nerdfightosis). I'm pretty sure they're nerds (albeit of the "cool" variety)... and that makes me smile.
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VINE VOICEon November 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a hard review to write because I am such a fan of John Green. I loved Looking for Alaska and Abundance of Katherines is one of my favorite all time books--so of course I was excited to be able to review this book.

I'm sorry to say, I just never got hooked into this story. Most of all because I never could get into the main character--I just didn't feel a strong voice from him, he had no unique personality, and I never felt a reason to care about him. The other problem was his mission--he suddenly turns his whole life upside down to chase after a girl he has barely spoken to in almost 10 years. I just didn't get it. I also didn't get what was so great about her that he would need to chase her--I never felt the bond that he supposedly had for her.

As for the other characters in the book, the only one I really liked--the only one that felt real--was Radar. He was interesting and well drawn. The rest were just stereotypes or unreal. Ben, his other best friend, was completely ridiculous with his honeybunnies and ginormous balls. Give me a break. Why mega-popular Lacey would even fall for him was completely unbelievable. Q's parents were also one-dimensional. Every scene with the parents was just something like 'we love you' or 'we think you're great'. I never saw him do anything great--do they never not get along?

I hate to be so negative because Green is such a wonderful writer. There were many great lines in this book like when they blast their car stereo and open the windows so everyone will know what great taste in music they have--that is so perfectly teen. I also loved learning about "paper towns" a term I've never heard of.

Anyway, judging by the other reviews I am obviously in the minority in my opinion but there it is.
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on April 15, 2014
I know I'm in the minority here, but I have to say that this book definitely didn't do it for me. Maybe it's because my expectations were too high after reading "The Fault in Our Stars." Or perhaps the characters were just a little too "too cool for school" for me. I was willing to ignore the impossibility of teenagers having the ability to speak and think like seasoned college professors in "The Fault in Our Stars," mainly because it was such a beautiful story - a masterpiece even! But in this book, it was just too far-fetched to believe that teens could be so wise beyond their years. Yes, some of their antics tickled my funny bone, like when Ben had to pee so bad in the car that he was about to "cry tears of pee." But I got really tired being inside the head of a swoony teenage boy who was totally infatuated with a rather smug, manipulative girl. His constant ruminations about the oh-so-very enigmatic girl next door, was about as interesting as listening to my best friend talk on an on about the guy she's dating. Overall, the story seemed to go nowhere and the characters grew increasingly more annoying as the chapters progressed. Sorry, but this was a dud for me.
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on August 31, 2009
This book is the typical high school movie scenario where the pretty popular girl is hooked up with the rich athletic kid, and the nerd is secretly infatuated with her. In this nerd fantasy, during the weeks of high school the troll becomes the hero.

Ignoring his impending graduation with honors and attending the university of his choice, his transforming moment is being sucked in to numerous felonious acts by the girl next door neighbor (the hottest babe at school) that he has lusted after for the last several years, (so that she would respect him???) In one night they perform a series of felonies: Six counts of illegal entry, assault and battery, theft, several acts of vandalism (the story takes place in Florida where a $[...] dollars of damage is a felony, and they almost get shot. Oh yes, it earned him a kiss, (She saved her humping for the rich kid who drove a Porsche) Our hero later goes on to get his friends commit breaking and entering, extortion, and almost getting snuffed in order to solve the great mystery.

I had a hard time getting past the glorification of gratuitous felony vandalism as anything but stupidity, and I'm certain that the the high school kids I know that go to court on felony charges two weeks from now, for much less egregious acts, think they were stupid and not heroic. In this story the "hero" even tells a cop about his various crimes, but in this fantasy the cop does nothing. Now that is real!

Spoiler alert: In the end she is what she has said she was all along - she is the paper doll she wished she was not. He earned her respect and he in on the in with her. He gets another kiss, and then he turns her down. The latter part of the book just drags when there is an hour by hour account of driving 1500 mile. Where was the editor when we needed her?

Other than this, the story is a shill for a long dead poet. I think the point was to get English teachers tolike the book. That's not my gig. I think the language was supposed to be a shocker. Oh Wow. It used the F-words and other language which would likely get this review eliminated. Not impressed. Avoid this book if you can.
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on October 2, 2008
To everyone who surrounds Margo Roth Spiegelman, she is an adventurous, unconventional, and intelligent person and a highly admired someone that everyone puts on a pedestal. So when Margo sneaks into Quentin Jacobsen's room one glorious night and involves him in her crazy exploits, he can't help but feel as if a new page has been turned, and just maybe he can be a part of the marvelous Margo's life.

But the next morning all of Quentin's hopes are dashed with Margo's disappearance. Her parents and the police think this is just another one of her stunts, but Q's not so sure. Because Margo has left him a string of clues, one right after another, which just might lead him to her. But the thing is, he's not sure what he'll find.

John Green brings readers another surprising, witty, and fully honest book in Paper Towns. His writing is captivating from the very beginning as multitudes of details, no mater how large of small, flow seamlessly together. Green has a knack for highlighting the little distinguishing factors that make us human, making for more believable characters and completely enthralling book.

The mystery in Paper Towns is clever, and will leave readers scratching their heads as Q and his friends struggle to piece together the clues with some frustration and tons of humor. But the teens are just as quick to get serious as they contemplate what has actually happened to Margo and as Quentin especially comes to see her in a completely different light with a little help from the poetry of Walt Whitman.

Though Paper Towns did slow down a little bit in the middle of the book as Quentin hits a brick wall in his search, this novel is suspenseful, hilarious, and quirky, and especially appealing to the well read teen. The characters are as real as your own friends, and teens can't help but see pieces of their own lives in this amazingly candid book. Read at your own risk though--Green's works are completely addictive, and once you start, it's impossible to stop.
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on March 23, 2013
I'll admit, I'm sure being a 30+ Mom of three doesn't make me the target audience for this book but after reading another of his books, I picked up this one. The story itself is okay. I liked it overall (a fast not thinking too much about it read). I was very disappointed and turned off to the point of almost putting the book down. I was really upset that the author who is obviously a man with a wide vocabulary felt the need to use the word "retarded" multiple times in a derogatory way. Had I not been fairly well into the book I would have stopped.
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on July 31, 2015
My Review:
Like most book lovers, I knew I had to read Paper Towns before it came out in the theaters and I purchased it a few weeks before the movie was supposed to come out. Paper Towns ending up being a book that being two new firsts for me. 1 - It was a book that the hype did not leave up to the expectations for me and 2- It was a book where for once I enjoyed the movie more then the book. I never thought I'd ever say that, but in this case it was true.

Paper Towns was the second John Green book for me, the first being Fault In Our Stars, which I absolutely loved. So I went into Paper Towns expecting to be just as moved and touched by the story and the characters as I was with TFIOS. But unfortunately for me it didn't happen. I struggled with the story line and in fact it left me in kind of reading slump. So much so that I went to the see the movie last weekend with only having read half of the book read. I was blown away from the movie. I laughed, I cried, I re-lived high school memories and went home eager to dive back in to the book. If I was so moved by the movie, then I was bound to be sucked back in to the story line. But that didn't happen. In fact I found myself skimming the last half of the book and even when I got to the important scene in the end of the book, it felt rushed and forced and with no closure as you found in the end of the movie.

I'm not sure why I couldn't resonate with the book like other could. But I do know that this won't be my last John Green back and that I am determined to give this other books a try and I am hoping I enjoy them as much as I did TFIOS.

As I don't see foresee myself re-reading Paper Towns, I am giving it away in the hopes that one fo you will read and love it more then I did!
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on October 16, 2015
From blog: bookishhipster.blogspot.com

What's up fellow bookworms and bookdragons alike!? I'm back with another review for you! I'm a little too excited that last sentence rhymed! Okay, anyway I recently just finished reading Paper Towns by John Green and figured it was about time I get my butt in gear and post my review. This is the second book that I've had the pleasure of reading by the superb Mr. Green, the first being The Fault In Our Stars! It was a pleasure to have my heart broken by Augustus Waters. While Paper Towns didn't leave me sobbing in a ball on the floor with tissues strewn about the room it did leave me with some feels!

Paper Towns by John Green
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million

When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.

Printz Medalist John Green returns with the trademark brilliant wit and heart-stopping emotional honesty that have inspired a new generation of readers.

My Thoughts:
****4 Stars****

After reading TFIOS by John Green I knew I had to give some of his other works a try as well, and I'm glad that I did. This wasn't as good as TFIOS, but it was still a great little story full of mystery, hilarious moments (king of peeing in the car champion), and friendship! John Green has a way of creating such witty, philosophical teenagers and I love it, I love how unique each character was in this novel. Especially Margo, and Quentin.

Margo and Quentin grew up living across the street from one another and due to that they formed a small friendship/bond between them, but as the years passed they both drifted apart, until one night Margo climbed into Quentin's bedroom window demanding that he help her complete a few hilarious tasks. Margo was a mystery, literally, for most of the novel. She was just a girl walking around disguised as what everyone thought she should be. Quentin was just a really lovable little dorky boy next door.

Once the night of the living ninja's was over Quentin was left wondering if things between him and Margo could possibly change, but the next day at school Margo wasn't there, or the next day, or the next after that. Margo Roth Spiegelman had seemingly vanished into thin air, only this wasn't the first time Margo had disappeared. Margo had been vanishing for years and returning with wild stories of all of her adventures, but she always left clues of her destination for people to find so they'd know she was alright. This time Margo left clues for Quentin...

Quentin embarks on a journey with his two best friends to search for the elusive Margo Roth Spiegelman and learns that everything he thought he knew about Margo was a lie because, "Margo was not a miracle. She was not an adventure. She was not a fine and precious thing. She was a girl." - John Green

All in all I thought this book was really good. It had a lot of funny moments in it, that I actually found myself laughing out loud at. It also made me yearn for a group of friends that I could take a road trip with. It made me want to get out and experience the world like Margo wanted to do. There were only a few minor things I thought could have been improved upon; like how much the word 'prom' was used. It was used A LOT. I mean I'm not against prom (okay, maybe I am a little. high school sucked for me okay?!) I thought we should have gotten the chance to know Margo a bit better, and her reasoning for wanting to get of her town/life.

If you're into mysteries and humor this book is for you!
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on June 28, 2014
I had moderately high hopes for this book but unfortuately they were dashed, because a story about an18 year old boy going to all these ridiculous lengths to find an incredibly psychotic and selfish girl who probably has borderline personality disorder is the sort of thing that only selfish girls with borderline tendencies would enjoy. The parents of both Q and Margo were unrealistic and pathetically lacking in any real character traits. The book is sometimes funny, I liked the bit about the black Santa collection but that got old after the third time it was mentioned. Just the premise that this girl could go around doing whatever she wanted without facing real consequences while still being friends with people she treated like crap is ludicrous and I think I might try reading looking for Alaska but it's not at the top of my list and I do not have high hopes. Waste of my life and time.
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on December 13, 2014
Very slight spoilers for Paper Towns, so be warned.

Actual rating: 1.5 stars

Paper Towns has to be the kind of book that I was pressured into by my whole environment. The film is coming out in a year, it has been a hyped book ever since John Green started getting popular among us teenage girls, and everyone I knew had already read it. It was eventually that last reason which made me eventually want to read it. Having finally read the book, I won't say I'm disappointed. I didn't have high standards in the first place. My prejudice and the average rating on Goodreads told me: John Green's other works are nothing compared to the fabulous The Fault in Our Stars. Still, the feeling of having read one of the most overhyped books of all time doesn't exactly feel good.

In other words, I didn't think Paper Towns reached my expectations. I did not know what to expect in the first place. As soon as I progressed with the novel, something became very clear for me. Margo isn't the main character and, after all, didn't appear for the most part of the book, and yet the author would manage just fine to still make the book centered around her. How, you might ask? By using a boy named Quentin Jacobsen. One of the weakest characters I have known. He was so easy for Margo to manipulate and use, it's hardly believable. His crush for this girl was not just a simple crush, it came across to me as an obsession. He would do everything she wanted him to do and believed all her small-talk. I didn't flip a page when I was irritated by Quentin's character. He does so much for her and is during the book constantly trying to understand the messages she left him in order to find her, and in the end it all feels like so much wasted time. It felt like the book itself was wasted time to read, honestly. In my opinion, that's just sad.

When I first started reading the book, I had this feeling I was going to have a love-hate relationship with Margo. Her attitude is full of freedom and craziness, something I really liked at first. After a while the results of her actions became clear and the once love-hate relationship I had with this girl quickly turned into nothing but hate. I'm sorry for any possible cursing, but in my opinion Margo is such a self-centered cruel bitch it makes me want to crawl my eyes out. She is the stereotype of a poplar girl who wants to be unique and strange but wants everyone to like her. She is so selfish and most of all: she doesn't care about anyone but herself. She doesn't even know what effect she and her actions can have on other people. From what I've read she's indeed a mystery, but one I would rather leave alone.

The other characters were in a way very stereotypical, but much more likeable than Margo or Quentin. Ben, Lacey and Radar all were fun to read about, just because their characters felt much more real to me. For instance, Ben's situation of needing to pee all the time near the end of the book, or Radar's wisdom and strength to stand up to Quentin and confront him with his obsession with Margo. Yet even when I did like some of the side characters, it does not mean I had a real connection with any of them, which truly is disappointing.

If I ever had to choose a genre for Paper Towns, it would have to be a wannabe mystery/coming of age, because it was. The clues Margo leaves for Q were supposed to give me feeling of suspense, something which would make me fly through this book, but nothing like that happened. There was so little plot to tell, Green still wrote a book consisting of three hundred pages, and I'm actually astonished. Out of all those pages, there was only five percent or so I actually liked: the prom afterparty. Everyone was drunk, and we all know when that happened, good things were about to go down. I cracked up with Ben's attitude combined with alcohol, and Q's deep conversation in the bathroom. After that everything was such a bore. Especially the road trip itself. In a way the author described the most boring things ever, I started wondering if it was to fill up the pages. Green himself also seemed to know very well that the event near the end was very unrealistic, yet he went through with it. I keep myself asking: how was it possible they could survive something like that without any scratches? It definitely seemed like either their guardian angels, or just Ben himself, did a pretty good job.

To summarize this small rent, I wouldn't suggest you read Paper Towns. If you loved Looking for Alaska, The Fault in Our Stars or any other John Green book, that's good for you. I'm not judging. But to avoid possible stereotypical characters, serious-lacking mystery and a plot that headed in no specific direction, skip this one.
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