by John Green
The Short Story
Growing up, Quentin spent a lot of time with his eccentric, go-getting next door neighbor Margo. But as they got older they grew apart. Now Margo is the uber-cool, mythic, living legend of their high school, and Quentin is just a regular guy. One night Margo shows up at his room and asks him to help with a night of pranks. And then she disappears. Quentin has to decide if he should go looking for the girl he knew and loved, and if she's actually there to be found. Good book that would have been amazing with cleaner content.
Come for the...
truly authentic teenage boy. I started the 10 (book) boy summer hoping to read something different from what I normally read. (Which would be contemporary or dystopian books written by women with female main characters.) The boys in those books are certainly interesting and swoony, but not wholly realistic. Not surprisingly, men write teenage boys more like the teenage boys I knew in high school. And Quentin is no exception. He and his friends make crude comments. They aren't the coolest kids. They're interested in college and video games and not being completely embarrassed by their parents. They pee in bottles and throw them out of windows on a road trip. Basically, they're boys.
But the thing that set Paper Towns apart for me was the portrayal of girls in the book. If Sarah Dessen and others write about the boys we wish we knew, men write about the girls they hope exist. Girls who are as smart as they are hot as they are affectionate. This was one of my big problems with Green's Looking for Alaska. I never knew any girls like Alaska, and I don't think Miles ever really knew her, either. She was always more of a thing or idea, never really a person. I was afraid Margo would be Alaska 2.0, but, without giving anything away, I will say I was very pleasantly surprised. Paper Towns has a great message about the way we look at people, and what it means to know someone.
Stay for the
road trip, the world's largest collection of black Santas, the paper towns, and the mystery.
Don't think about this too hard
- Remember how I said this book had authentic teenage boys? That also means it has authentic teenage boy crudeness and swearing. One of the reasons I disliked Looking for Alaska so much was the content. This book wasn't as objectionable content-wise, but it's still crude and profane.
The Big Three
Language: heavy profanity, including several f-words
Sex and Stuff: crude jokes and conversations
Violence: two kids find a man who killed himself