Goodreads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
While going through the notes I took while reading Paper Towns, I realized that only about 5-6 of the notes were positive. I guess I disliked this novel more than I thought. Paper Towns is John Green’s third book. The Fault in Our Stars is his fifth. I haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars but from what I’ve heard, I’m assuming it is much better than Paper Towns.
In short, Paper Towns is about a boy who is infatuated with a mysterious girl who happens to be his neighbor. The girl, Margo Roth Spiegelman, disappears after running around town the night before with the main character, Quentin “Q” Jacobsen. For the rest of his senior year, Q is obsessed with finding Margo. Her parents and authorities don’t seem to care whatsoever. Q has a couple friends who help him with his search but they have their own lives to worry about so they are not as invested until a road trip comes up.
At first, I thought the book was kind of funny. I laughed at a couple of the comments earlier on. It was corny; but then I thought that the corny jokes did not really match the characters. Yes, it’s a trio of dorky high school boys, but some of the jokes matched kids who would be a few years younger than seniors. Adding on to that, I don’t think a regular teenage boy would be so loving and accepting of his parents as Q. That may sound harsh but if you read the book, you will know what I mean. Q’s parents are both therapists of some sort so they always analyze people and situations. Q can’t talk to them without them including a diagnosis. I got annoyed at them so surely their son should have. If he had said something to them about it even once it would have made it a little less fictional.
100 pages in, I realized that I didn’t care where Margo was anymore. Q was so invested yet he couldn’t figure out any of the clues quickly. Some were so obvious and it took chapters and chapters until he figured it out. I started to think Q was selfish for spending the entirety of his senior year looking for a girl he barely knew. His friends clearly cared more about him than he did about them. The author did address this at one point and had Q’s friends let Q know what a jerk he was being.
At the end, I had questions because emotions changed very quickly. It was extremely overdramatic and the whole story was unrealistic. Margo and Q spend a big chunk of time talking but it seems more like they are taking turns giving speeches. Each one has a large paragraph where they seem to solve the world’s problems then pass it back to the other one. It seemed like the author wanted to write a story with a big life lesson in it and it just didn’t work.
I’ll end with the couple things I did appreciate. The story is written in the first person and it made it more enjoyable to read. The author includes extra little details throughout the book that added to the characters and scenes. My favorite thing is when the minivan is compared to a home on page 211. There’s a living room, pantry, etcetera. It’s something I had never thought of before and I thought Green did a good job with it.
As it turns out, it is easier to review a book I didn’t enjoy more than one I did. It might be a great read for someone in middle or high school if they could find any way to relate to it. Thank-you for reading all the way to the end if you did. I’ll sum up with a quote from page 72, “Nothing is as boring as other people’s dreams,” except this book.