Quentin, a self-proclaimed “well-adjusted” high school senior of middling popularity, is suddenly commandeered one night by his fascinatingly eccentric classmate and neighbor, Margot—asked to act as her accomplice in a series of delinquent acts of vengeance. Having been “in love” with Margot (or, let’s face it, simply infatuated with the idea of her and not knowing the difference) since grade school, Quentin reluctantly joins in her pranks and is eventually rewarded by quality time with the mysterious diva-of-deviousness. The next day, Margot disappears. Quentin quickly gleans the impression that she’s left a trail of convoluted proverbial breadcrumbs for him to follow. He does so, almost obsessively—with the help of a few semi-cooperative friends. But whether or not Margot wants to be found (literally or otherwise) is a recurring question.
For a book that’s often touted as road-trip centric, I was a little disappointed to find that the actual road tripping occurred in only the last few chapters. And the road-trip part wasn’t so much a planned adventure as it was a frantic act of impulse. Up until then, the plot could be described as a night of madcap pranks, followed by a long and angsty adolescent scavenger hunt. There’s lots of middle lag to push through. For a while you’re on edge, strung along by the fear that Margo has killed herself and she means for Q to find her body. But once that bit of morbidity is belayed and the mystery resumed, the pacing drops to sometimes dangerously put-downable levels.
At first I thought Margo was the fun kind of crazy. But after the first dozen chapters, I began to think she might be the Borderline Personality Disorder kind of crazy. I’m a little surprised, given both his parent’s backgrounds, that Quentin never considered if the erratic girl he was enchanted with might have a serious mental illness. Anyone who’s known someone like Margo is likely to find it even more difficult to sympathize with such a character. (I do and have, so I can’t say I wasn’t a bit soured toward the concept of her ahead of time.) High charisma blended with grandiose narcissism makes for an entertaining, yet ultimately malignant combination.
There was a good deal of this book that was relational—in which not a lot was going on outside of social ladder shuffling. Although, there was a moment where rampant teenage selfishness is not only acknowledged, but laid bare to the reader from multiple angles, courtesy of the ever level-headed Radar. (Radar actually stands out as the most interesting and balanced side-character—the anchor of reality and a perpetual source of intellect.)
Those who’ve read The Fault In Our Stars first will likely find it difficult to work up as much care and connectivity to this story—which, by comparison, comes off a bit shallow and philosophically indulgent.
One of the more meaningful themes of this book was the idea that people tend to make assumptions and jump to inaccurate conclusions about others—including those we should know best. A valuable thing for the target audience to chew on, no doubt. But I’m afraid the pacing combined with the bland, unsatisfying resolution makes this story stoop head and shoulder below some of Green’s other works.
"Nothing ever happens like you imagine it will… But then again, if you don't imagine, nothing ever happens at all."
I love books that feature mysterious and captivating characters (see: the parents in If I Stay) and Margo Roth Spiegelman is the epitome of those traits. As the novel progresses and the protagonist, Quentin, tries to learn more about his missing and beguiling friend, the reader becomes increasingly invested in the story. Author John Green is gifted at crafting relatable and realistic characters and the novel was hard to put down.
While I loved Paper Towns, I won't be ordering it for our school library. It skews too mature for my students; they won't be able to relate to Quentin's pre-graduation angst and there is enough cursing to raise an eyebrow from our conservative parents. Still, I recommend it to high school students and adults who love YA books.
John Green is the master of teen dialogue.
Quentin Jacobsen has been in love with Margo Roth Spiegelman since they were young. Theyre next door neighbors and were constant companions. However, through the course of middle school and high school, theyve gone their separate ways, she to the cool side and he to the geek side.
But when Margo Roth Spiegelman disappears, it is after a night of adventure with Quentin as her co-conspirator. She gets retribution on her boyfriend who cheated with her best friend. She sneaks into SeaWorld after closing. She leaves her mark, a painted M, wherever she goes. But her disappearance causes concern and the longer she stays away, the more Quentin fears she might have committed suicide, replaying a suicide they both witnessed when they were ten.
Margo Roth Spiegelmans parents are oppressive. Upon learning of their daughters latest escape, they change the locks on their doors. She is no longer wanted. According to them, Margo Roth Spiegelman always left clues, however obscure they may be. This got Quentin thinking and, rallying the support of his friends Ben and Radar, and Margos friend, Lacey, they search for clues, trying to put themselves into Margos head.
There is so much good stuff in this book. The characters are great, every one of them, from those making rare appearances to the main characters. The mystery of what happened to Margo is engrossing. The things you learn about her as the book develops make her more and more real. The relevance of Walt Whitmans poetry adds a touch of class. The action is fast paced. The writing is great. And, who knew anything at all about paper towns, which apparently do exist. John Green is a great writer and his Looking for Alaska is another riveting book. Paper Towns might make it into my top 10 list for 2008. Get this book and disappear behind closed doors while you read it. You wont want to come up for air until youre done.
The novel flashes forward, Quentin is now a senior in high school and like many childhood friends he and Margo have drifted apart. It is a month before his graduation, when in the middle of the night, Margo shows up at his bedroom window with a plan to seek revenge on those she feels have wronged her.
After their night of revenge on classmates who have wronged them the duo break into theme park SeaWorld.
The next day at school Quentin wonders if he and Margo will reconnect. Margo does not come to school that day or the next. After three days her parents file a police report. As Quentin was the last person to see Margo he is questioned by police.
Quentin learns that Margo has run away multiple times before and that her parents now seem to be beyond caring – her mother plans to change the locks. The police point out she is not a minor and that she left on her on accord.
When looking at Margo’s window Quentin notices a poster of musician Woody Guthrie taped to back of her window shade. Quentin enlists the help of his best friends Ben and Radar and they bribe Margo’s younger sister to let them search her room. This search leads them to Guthrie’s song ‘Walt Wiltman’s Niece’, which leads them to a collection of Wiltman’s poetry with lines highlighted.
He believes that Margo has left these cryptic clues for him to find her. With the help of Radar, Ben and his girlfriend Lacey, the four set off on a road trip in search of Margo Roth Spiegelman.
Before reading the novel I was unaware of the term ‘Paper Towns’ and found it interesting to learn about Paper Towns along with the characters and have done more research on the subject since finishing the book.
There are incidents of excessive underage drinking, sex and nudity. These incidents are not glorified but rather a portrayal of teenage life. I would recommend Paper Towns for junior high school age students and older.
I believe this was a great book that kept readers intrigued for most of the book. Paper Towns has a great plot and was interesting through the entire book but I don't like the characters in this book as I believe it was over the top. The obsession Quentin has with Margo was annoying as I read the book and so many important things he put off. Also, Margo sounds like a very selfish character which I just didn't appreciate. I did not enjoy the end of this book but the creativity of John Green to not go with the obvious ending most people would have expected. I would recommend this book to anyone because it is enjoyable and has a very interesting plot.
But then we get to the road trip. I can’t even count how many times I laughed out loud during that long car ride. It was just so freaking fantastic. The side characters are what really added to it. I mean, I lonely road trip is all fine and dandy, but Quentin had some seriously awesome friends who were pretty much made to go on a road trip. I already know I’ll reread the chapters containing the road trip multiple times for years to come.
For those of you who’ve read Paper Towns I just wanted to talk about the whole idea of paper towns for a minute. Now, I know it mentions them about a gajillion times in the book but I’m referring to Margo’s version: that the whole world is made of paper and made of people who live in the future and how that’s a terrible thing. I feel like I’ve gotten weirdly offended by this. I have no idea why I feel so strongly about it, but maybe it’s partly that I can identify with Quentin’s enjoyment of boredom. I like sameness and planning and knowing what’s going to happen. In fact, I not only like it, but I kind of rely on it. So in a way, it felt like Margo was telling me that my idea of life was the wrong one. And yes, I realize I just referred to a fictional character talking to me.
And now I think I’m done being “deep” :P
The Nutshell: So, I wasn’t a fan of Margo, but I did, in fact, like the rest of the characters. Paper Towns is one of those books you read because it’s fun, it makes you think, and the side characters are all freaking fantastic. And there’s a road. And it’s an awesome one.
The blurb on the cover says that Paper Towns is "profoundly moving," but I wouldn't go that far. The characters are developed very well in this story, and I applaud John Green for that. Green also took the time to carefully arrange each piece of the story arc, like it was a spider web; if you took one little strand, you'd find yourself led to the next one until you found Margo in the center. Although the book did receive a four star from me, it went downhill after the first half of the book. I became a bit confused with where Quentin was searching and why he was there, so you definitely have to pay close attention to all of Margo's clues.
Quentin Jacobson has always admired
Margo Roth Spiegelman so when she invites him on an adventurous night of
revenge he goes. After their revenge adventure Margo disappears. She has left
clues for Quentin to find her and he cant ignore them. As he follows these
clues he starts to see Margo as a whole new girl.
Our group rated this book a 4 on a
scale of 1 to 5. We really enjoyed the book but the ending could have been
stronger. This book was very entertaining, funny, and interesting. Our group
would recommend it to and teen looking for and adventurous yet realistic book.
This book helped us realize that just because you see a person one way doesnt
mean that they are not a completely different person behind closed doors.
Roth Spiegelman is more unique then many people think. After being back stabbed
by multiple friends, Margo plans a long nights worth of revenge and Q is just
the person to be her partner in crime.
scale from one to five Id say this book is a four. From the beginning it was
interesting and kept me wanting more. I would recommend it to young adults,
Quentin Jacobsen has an ordinary boring life and that is just the way he likes it. That is until his neighbor/girl of his dreams, Margo Roth Spiegelman shows up at his window, just 24 days before graduation. After a night of adventures, full of righting wrongs, punishing the wicked, and breakings very separate from enterings, Margo disappears. This begins the greatest adventure of Quentin, the boy next door. Aided by his best friends, Radar and Ben, they embark on a search for Margo and learn that perhaps they never really knew her at all.
I read a lot of books and many of them are very disappointing. That being said Paper Towns was a pleasure to read. John Green masterfully tells the story of Quentin and his adventures. Full of humor, intrigue, and a wistful sort of love, Paper Towns is the real deal. You will find yourself tearing through the pages of this book, enamored of the journey. In truth, this review cannot possibly do this book justice, so if you are looking for a supremely wonderful reading experience, pick up a copy of Paper Towns, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.