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Paper Towns
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on January 17, 2018
Paper Towns by John Green tells the story of Quentin, otherwise known as Q. Q and his next door neighbor Margo used to be best friends and, as they’ve grown up and become high school seniors, they have turned into acquaintances. One night, Margo talks Q into helping her seek revenge on her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, who happen to be sneaking around behind her back to have sex together. After their fun and rowdy late night, Q is anxious to see if Margo acts differently towards him at school. When she’s not at school or even at home for a couple of days, everyone assumes Margo is on just another one of her adventures. As Q tries to figure out and follow the clues, he begins to worry that he might find Margo dead. The ongoing suspense along with the wonderfully executed humor have made this one of my favorite books from beginning to end. Dynamic, complex, real characters bring depth, realism and humor into this adventure of a story-5 Stars!
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VINE VOICEon May 24, 2015
I find this book very perplexing. If memory serves me, I felt many of the same emotions when I finished The Fault in Our Stars, and so it leads me to wonder if maybe I just don't fully get John Green. On the one hand, this book was fantastic and so engrossing I had trouble putting it down. On the other, it was banal and far-fetched, and kind of cliched. Green's storytelling powers are quite strong, but ultimately, as with TFIOS, this book deflated like a disappointing souffle. Some spoilers to follow.

In one respect I did think this book was superior to TFIOS: the dialog between the characters sounded a lot more feasible to me. There's something about the way Green does the dialog in this book that just sounds right. The teens in TFIOS sometimes sounded weirdly pretentious and overly adult, but in this book, I bought their interactions. Their conversations sounded like conversations, complete with run-ons and genuinely hilarious moments, in which characters concoct elaborate sentences just for the sake of amusing one another. Quentin is something of a pedant, but Margo points this out to him, and it goes a long way toward humanizing him.

The characters in general were well done--except for Margo. Because Q is so level-headed and focused on his future, I found it very difficult to imagine he would go to the lengths he goes to in order to try to unravel the mystery of what has become of Margo. The two have so little interaction for a stretch of nine whole years that I really couldn't buy into his sudden overwhelming obsession with her. Yes, he has always nursed a crush on her, but it didn't seem all that powerful to me. After all, he still managed to do really well in school and maintain a good relationship with his friends. Had Margo not left Orlando, I could have bought him falling under her spell after spending some more time with him, but it seemed to me that someone who seems as put together as him would have enjoyed his wild night with her and regretted her loss, but who would have accepted her flitting out of his life in the end.

And in saying I thought the characters were strong, this doesn't mean that I always found all of them likeable, but for me that was part of the book's attraction. Q was really obnoxious for a good stretch, getting angry with his friends for not being as obsessed with Margo as he was, and holding grudges because they dared to have other things going on in their lives. Yet I could also understand what it's like to be in that tunnel vision sort of state, and it made his character feel authentic to me. I was especially happy when Radar called him on his behavior as that made it even more clear that Q had failed to spot his own hypocrisy up to that point.

However, Margo was the exception to this rule for me. I found her entirely stock. There was nothing about her that made her all that interesting to me. I thought maybe she was experiencing some growth, as her behavior on prank night makes it seem like she's gaining some insight, but it didn't turn out that way in the end. She struck me as highly selfish, dramatic, and thoughtless. It's hard for me to imagine why anyone might find a person like this appealing, let alone why Q does. Many of Margo's problems seemed to me to be of her own making, that if she'd decided to eschew her phoniness she could have found more fulfillment. Instead, she effectively quits her problems by disappearing. It seems like the book tries to justify her disappearance by making her parents jerks, but that felt off to me. And were they really jerks? I would have liked the dynamic between Margo and her parents to have been more than one dimensional.

Plot-wise, I really enjoyed the psychological mystery feel to this book. I like books like this, where characters try to unravel the mysterious inner workings of the minds of other characters. It's the sort of thing that appeals to me, trying to imagine what spurs someone to behave the way they do. Though I did enjoy the road trip, my ardor for the book cooled a bit by that point, as the mystery of Margo's disappearance was inherently more interesting to me. To be honest, I think I'd have preferred the book to take a darker turn, as it seemed to be heading in that direction. I found the resolution kind of a letdown.

Ultimately, I feel ambivalent about this book. I enjoyed a lot of it while reading it, but in the end it didn't feel like a really good book to me. I think this may be because the events in this book didn't feel organic, and once I feel like things are happening in a book because the plot demands it, that book automatically loses something fundamental.
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VINE VOICEon July 2, 2015
Of the John Green books I have read, this is my favorite. We have a familiar cast of characters -- the nerdy teenage boy and his brainiac friends and the damaged teenage girl who is may be popular and confident on the outside but is deeply troubled on the inside. We also have a lot of smart dialogue, a mystery, a quest and the anguish and sweetness of young love. But in this book, it somehow comes together, aided by the musings of Walt Whitman, is a way that is not treacly or weepy - but real and grounded.

The book is dominated by Margo, a high school queen bee whose brash exterior hides an intellectual and angst-filled interior. The male lead is Quentin, brainy but balanced. The two live next door but are in different social sects in the high school caste system. However Quentin carries a torch for his childhood friend. After an extraordinary night of adventure together a month before graduation, Margo disappears leaving some cryptic clues as to her whereabouts. It is for Quentin to follow the trail -- but to find Margo he first has to understand Margo, not as an ideal or love object or symbol -- but the real person.

The climactic scenes of this quest are extraordinarily well done and the final resolution is moving without being shattering. Really enjoyed this one.
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on February 15, 2015
(Review copied from https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1155229225)

Chose to read this because John Green was posting updates to Twitter from the set of the film adaptation being released later this year. I loved The Fault in Our Stars when I read it over a year ago and enjoyed that film, so I figured I'd get ready for this film too. I didn't want to wait and read the book too close to the film's release, however, because then I'd no doubt be complaining about the changes that are always inevitable in film adaptations.

Paper Towns tells the story of two neighbors who are very different, and yet somewhat similar. Quentin Jacobsen and Margo Roth Spiegelman grew up in an Orlando subdivision and shared the traumatic experience of finding a dead body on their playground. The two grow up living just feet apart but separated by the vast divide of high school cliques. Margo Roth Spiegelman (never just "Margo") pretty much runs the school while Q (rarely "Quentin") usually just hangs outside of the band room with his friends Ben and Radar, pining after his neighbor from afar.

Everything changes when Margo comes to Q's window late one night and takes him on an adventure of revenge and disappears the next day. Margo up and left for a few days at a time before, but this time feels different. Prom and graduation are only weeks away, and Q worries why Margo would leave just after they started to connect after years of not. Soon, he finds a series of clues she left for him and he goes on another adventure trying to find her. Sadly, the clues let him find a lot more about Margo than he ever imagined.

Most of the book is a mystery about not only where Margo went or what happened to her, but also who Margo is. For a girl who seemed to have it all, Q finds a lot about her that she kept hidden from everyone.

John Green is very intelligent (seriously, check out his YouTube channel, vlogbrothers, to learn all sorts of little bits of trivia in 4 minutes or less) and he seems to write high school characters really well. Some of the writing seems a little too intelligent for the characters (do high school students really every randomly quote poetry?) but the story is very intriguing. The characters are all well-written, especially Margo Roth Spiegelman who we get to know slowly throughout the book when she's missing. I love the final section in its hour by hour/page by page countdown to its final 25 pages of wrapping everything up. It was a little bittersweet, but that's how I remember high school and any attempt to shoehorn a perfect ending would have felt like a cheat since high school is never perfect. Can't wait to see the movie--a lot of fun scenes that I hope make the cut.
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on July 31, 2015
So I downloaded this book because the advertisement for it popped up on my Kindle; which then reminded me that I had recently seen a movie trailer for it. I realized once I started reading the Editorial Reviews that it was written by the same author of the The Fault in Our Stars. I honestly would never have put it together it was the same author until I read that... So that being said I decided to download it. Ok... fast forward to about 15 minutes into the book and I realized what my problem was going to be with the book (same problem I had with The Fault in Our Stars), I do not know of any teenagers who talk the way that John Green writes his teenagers. I understand that they are all of above average intellect but their vocabulary and speech patterns just do not flow right. If the character of Ben said the phrase, "honey bunnies" one more time I thought I was going to pull my hair out. But thankfully once he got a girlfriend that phrase miraculously dropped out of his vernacular. The lists that Q. keeps making and reiterating in his mind that he never discusses with anyone became really annoying too. They stopped for a while and then came back, they served almost no point. I get that Quentin was a very methodical person and that was part of his thought process but his lists were fairly repetitive and did not aid in the understanding of the scenario. I know it sounds like I did not like this book at all however, I did really enjoy it. I made it through some of the longer winded parts, and some of the annoying parts and came out at the end. The ending was not what I expected and I was glad. There was definitly a conclusion (although some may say this is not the case), and I thank John Green for that. I do not think it was the kind of ending that ties up every loose end but these kids were all graduating from HS so the ending was really a starting point for all of them. And that is what made it a good ending.
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on October 26, 2015
Quentin Jacobsen joins his adventurous neighbor Margo Roth Spiegelman on a fantastic middle of the night mission to right some wrongs in her life. Quentin has obvious feeling for the elusive Margo, and their incredible night of break-ins and payback push Quentin far beyond his comfortable existence, and then the next day Margo disappears. The reminder of the book follows Quentin and his loyal friends as they try to find Margo. I really enjoyed the style of writing, and the characters were fun and likable. PaperTowns does a great job of exploring teenage angst, without feeling like it is dwelling in misery. The story was interesting, and I really wanted to know what happened to Margo, but the ending was disappointing, it felt very flat. Despite the weak ending, I would recommend Paper Towns.
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on August 12, 2015
Breakdown of Rating

●Plot: 5/5
●Characters: 5/5 From serious to funny, eccentric to sensible, these characters are multi-faceted and well crafted.
●Theme: 4.8/5
●Flow: 5/5
●Originality: 5/5
●Book Cover: 4.5/5
●The Feels: 5/5 Had me laughing out loud throughout.
●Sex Factor: talk of it
●Ending: 4.8/5. Cliffhanger: No

Will I read more from this Author: Quite possibly. I read this book because I seen the trailer for it at the theater, and thought it looked good.

My Thoughts :

Margo Roth Spiegelman is an enigma, especially for Quentin. He is determined to figure out what happened to her and why. This is quite the adventure, from Quentin and Margo's night of craziness; all the way to that crazy non-stop roller coaster of a road-trip they take to find her. It's about that last year of high school and what it means to a person when they realize it's all about to come to an end. It is a coming of age story and a mystery rolled into one. It is heartfelt and hilariously funny.

It is all these things and more...and it made me smile.
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on February 1, 2018
Okay, First I saw the movie. A lot of it made no sense. So I got the book and read it. As usual the fault lies with the movie director taking liberties with the book. Why can't they leave the book as is?
Spoilers ahead so you might be warned.
The book ending was good, the movie ending wasn't an ending it was senseless! However the whole premise, that he could figure out where she went by following obscure clues was crazy. I dare anyone to do it with the idiotic clues left. So, all in all, the book - okay. the movie rates a big fat zero.
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on July 25, 2015
If you enjoyed reading 'Fault in Our Stars' by the same author, John Green, you will almost surely like 'Paper Towns'. Quirky, humorous and sometimes deep, it seems like the author has a keen understanding of teen angst and insecurities. Yet with the maturity to write compelling, fast-paced prose to keep us interested, and amused.

Parts are silly; like the voice of Ben, a friend of the protagonist, whose desperately seeking a prom date, yet boasts about his 'imagined' charms. And another friend, whose parents keep a collection of Santa's in the house.

The magic is in the chemistry between Q and Margot who grew up together as neighbors. Margot, the adventurous one, who climbs through bedroom windows in the middle of the night, teases Q into a misadventure soon before graduation day in an attempt to wake him out of his bland, attend-school-everyday existence.

Soon into the story, Margot leaves - disappears. And Q is beside himself, worrying about her well-being and spending most of the novel sifting through clues trying to find her. His friends helping him out along the way.

The story sometimes goes deep with references to Walt Whitman and other dead poets and authors. Offering us tips on the meaning of life and as clues that most adolescents have to stumble upon in search of adulthood; going beyond those innocent years before graduating and going to college.

You'll find out what 'paper towns' really means. It's not just a metaphor. It's real.

Well-paced, with strong character development and with easy prose and splashes of humor, 'Paper Towns' was a pleasure to read. Although classified as 'Young Adult' fiction. It's a good read for 'Old Adults' too.
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on September 21, 2015
While not the best book I've read by him this far (I loved The Fault in Our Stars); this book got three stars for having a plot and story line that kept me guessing through the whole book. I only kept reading to find out what happens to him and Margo!

Not super thrilling, romantic, or anything of the like, but has a decent story line and some fun characters with interesting traits! I really like Radar! (:

If you like an easy read with a story that might just surprise you a little as well as make you fall in love with the MC, then this is a good book.

I've heard of paper towns before, but this story made me see them in a completely different way. I love how the characters grew with each other throughout the book as well.
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