Green, John. Paper Towns. New York: Speak, 2008. Print.
image from: www.amazon.com
Plot Summary (from back cover)
"Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Ruth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life--dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge--he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues--and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew."
This is the last John Green book for me to read. I almost didn't want to read it, so I would still have it to read "one day." Alas, I did start it, and I was not disappointed. This was a cute, humorous read, typical of Green's style--awkward teen seeks to find himself and discovers a greater truth.
When Margo and Q are having the night of Q's life, Margo explains what a paper town is. "From here, you can't see the rust of the cracked paint or whatever, but you can tell what the place really is. You see how fake it all is. It's not even hard enough to be made out of plastic. It's a paper town. I mean look at it, Q: look at all those cul-de-sacs, those streets that turn in on themselves, all the houses that were build to fall apart. All those paper people living in their paper houses" (Green 57). Later in the book, the reader learns a different description of paper town. It was a "fictitious village created...and inserted into tourist maps as a copyright trap, or paper town (Green 235). Hmmm....interesting. I didn't know that. Apparently this practice was common in mapmaking.
You see how fake it all is
You see how fake it all is
I loved the description of Q's friend's car. "RHAPAW was a fifteen-year-old Buick that had been driven with impunity by all three of Ben's older siblings and was, by the time it reached Ben, composed primarily out of duct tape and spackle...RHAPAW ran not on gasoline, but on the inexhaustible fuel of human hope" (Green 90). Oh, how I laughed here. When I was in high school, a neighbor took several of us to school in his Ford Fairmont. This car was in decent shape on the exterior, but it, too, ran on human hope. We would sit in the parking lot after school waiting for kids to leave before even trying to start the engine.
Another funny car scene is when Q's parents surprise him with a vehicle on his birthday. His reaction is SO FUNNY! (I don't want to spoil it here, but you'll understand when you get to that part in the book).
Almost the entire road trip the kids take had me laughing. The way Green logs the travels (and subsequent misadventures here) was funny. I could see it happening--all of it!
Good advice that Green shows through his characters "You know your problem, Quentin? You keep expecting people not to be themselves" (Green 194). Wow! That is so true. How often I have been disappointed in someone, only to realize I shouldn't have been. They are being true to their character.
One thing I did not like about the book, though, was the ending. I feel like I'd been on an adventure/mystery/scavenger hunt with Q, and then the ending is rushed. I've thought about how Green could have made the story end differently. I'm not sure I would like the alternative, either. Maybe this could have been a "Choose your own adventure" type ending. If you think X happens, turn to page ___. If you think Y happens, turn to page ____."