For a fun change in how we write reviews, Mina and I decided to write a joint review of John Green’s Paper Towns.
Ranie: But let’s start with the basics. The story follows Quentin “Q” Jacobsen and his affection and adoration of his next door neighbor (since they were kids) Margo Roth Spiegelman. They haven’t spoken in about 8 years when she shows up in his window and takes him on a revenge adventure she has planned. Q remembers that he’s in love with her, and is beyond excited to see her at school the next day to see how it has changed his life, but alas, Margo Roth Spiegelman has disappeared/ran away again. Q sets off following clues to find her, dead or alive (dun dun dun).
I started hearing about this story a few months ago, but didn’t pay much attention to it. I walked into my grocery store about a month ago and saw it for sale. I debated buying it, but then decided I didn’t know how I felt about what I read on the back cover, and should just get it from the library. For another fun change, I got it as a book on tape so I can listed to it in my car. There were [several] times that I found myself spending extra time in my car just to find out what happened next. There were several moments in the book that were a lot deeper than I had anticipated, I even found myself writing down some quotes to share, here are my two favorites (these are slightly paraphrased since I jotted them down):
“And we sat there thinking about our own versions of Margo, which were more mirrors than windows.”
“But when you fight, you should never say the true things, you can never fully take them back.
(Minas’ review contains slight spoilers – so, read on with caution)
Mina: Now readers, I read this book a year ago (August 2014) so please forgive me if I am a little hazy in my recollection of my feelings around this book. First off, I remember really enjoying this book – I was told by several people that I would enjoy it, and I very much did. This was also during my slight John Green reading extravaganza, when I started to fall for John Greens’ books. (Though, I read Looking for Alaska after and I enjoyed it more than I enjoyed Paper Towns, but I digress…) Overall, I liked the vibe of the book – I enjoyed mysterious feel of the book surrounding Margots’ disappearance. It definitely felt more urgent and pressing, and to be honest – I definitely thought that the worst had happened to Margot. My favorite book of the entire book was the road trip! I loved how this was done, and I loved how fun this portion of the book was. In particular, I loved the gas station bathroom/food stop! So much fun! Now for the ending: I understood what John Green was trying to do – break down the idolized imagery of Margot and Q’s journey to understand that she’s just a girl, and not something more. When he found her at the end, I felt torn: for one, he found her and nothing was wrong with her so it fit into John Green’s theme of de-throning the manic, pixie, dream girl that is Margot; but on the other hand, as they were leaving, it still felt as though Q was keeping Margot perched on the pedestal that he had her on throughout the whole book. As time has gone by, I can still say that I definitely enjoyed the book, but I think I see the flaws a bit more inherently now with some time away rather than when I first read it.