nicole's Reviews > Paper Towns

Paper Towns by John Green
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's review
May 09, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: ya
Recommended for: Navah
Read in May, 2008

It's hard to say much about the plot without giving away the ending, but I will say that I think that just about any story with this much build-up (and there was a lot) is sort of doomed to... not necessarily disappoint (I wasn't), but... fall a little short of the expectations set by the constant guessing and analyzing the story forces you to participate it. What ending would have been good enough? I can't think of one. But I think Quentin feels the same when he gets to the end. Which is a big part of the novel, that Margo Roth Spiegelman isn't an icon, she isn't precious, she can't live up to everyone's expectations.

What kept me most interested in this book was the relationship between Quentin and his best friends, Radar and Ben. Green writes these guy relationships so well (that was also what I loved best about An Abundance of Katherines, the friendship... especially the best friend who was way more likable and fun to read than the main character himself). I also really like how he juxtaposes this dire QUEST alongside all the normal high school stuff, it makes the novel very real, and makes Quentin a normal, good guy, not some unbelievable action figure

And the first part of the book is just awesome and fun. I sort of wished that the whole novel could be like that... you know, just quick and fun and, uh... sort of mindless.


Negatives: all of the Walt Whitman analysis is cool and everything (and would have really helped me out when I had to give that oral presentation in 11th grade), but definitely wears after a while. By the time Margo and Q are talking about it at the end, discussing and arguing the Meaning of things and Who they Are and all that, I just wanted them to shut up. Too much dialogue, man. Yes, you're both having great epiphanies, we get it. Shut up and kiss. That aspect of the novel felt very high school and a bit tiring. It wasn't terribly epic, but it may have seemed more Important and mind-blowing about ten years ago. That said, this IS a teen novel, so it's probably best that it's there. Or it's not problematic that is it, anyway.

Also, yeah, Margo kind of sucks... then again, this isn't really a book about HER. It's a book about people's idea of her. So we don't ever really know her, so we can't ever really like or dislike. But I'm still glad Ben, Radar, and Lucey bitch her out and left.
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Lucy I am SO DESPERATE TO READ THIS. If I swing by the store one day next week, can you hook me up? I've been meaning to come around one of these days anyway.

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