[Book Review #25] Paper Towns by John Green


Who is the real Margo?

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth 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…

Book Specifications:

Author: John Green

Format: Hardbound

Part of a Series: No.

Release Date: October 1, 2008

Publisher: Penguin Publishing

No. of Pages: 305 pages

Price: 720.00Php

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Adventure, Contemporary, Mystery, Teens, Realistic Fiction

Book Review:

The Cover: Basically, after having to read it, I must say that the cover might as well be the book’s everything. The red push pin is such a big symbol for the book, since it was the same push pin that can be found in Margo’s clues. (You’ll understand if you read the book.) Attractive, yes, but the cover shouldn’t be the only thing that’s attractive. (3 out of 5 stars)

The Story: The story revolved on the life of Quentin Jacobsen who spent basically his whole life loving Margo Roth Spiegelman, a girl who made it her life’s mission to love mysteries, who paid him no attention until one night when she needed our protagonist’s help. The book was strategically divided into three parts. The Strings, The Grass, and The Vessel; four if we’re to include the prologue. Below are short analyses of the segregated parts.

  • The Strings was the part where Margo visited Q in his room to ask for a favor: to accompany her as she claims vengeance from her ex boyfriend and best friend. They basically spend a full night pulling pranks on said people and this is the part where Q falls harder for Margo. Being an innate adventurer, Margo made sure to give Q his best night yet. This was also the part where Margo educates Q on paper towns. On paper people. Towards the end of this part, the duo paid a visit to an amusement park, where they spent their remaining time trying to get to know each other a little better. This has got to be my favorite part among the three.
  • The Grass started with Margo’s disappearance. The search for the girl with a passion for mysteries went on and on, and for me, it got a little dragging, considering the time spent for Q to find his first clue as to where he (or they) could find Margo. The story then progressed as Q and his gang went on to find the next clues as to Margo’s whereabouts, forming theories about Margo’s real condition. They thought of her dead, completely isolated, alone and whatnot. They came so close to giving up trying to find Margo, but in the end, it was Quentin who found out where her next, and possibly last, clue as to where she really is. He was ready to miss his own graduation just to finally get to see Margo, considering that he was absolutely sure of his whereabouts. This was the most dragging part of the book and there were some chapters that I deem highly forgettable and unnecessary. It is within these chapters that I felt bored with this book.
  • The Vessel, also known as the last part, was the part where everyone was in contemplation waiting to get to see our mysterious girl. Now, unlike the past two parts of the book, the chapters in The Vessel are in hours. These hours signify the remaining hours before they get to see Margo. This third part started with the car ride with Q and the gang. What I loved about this ride to Margo was that every second was needed. Every second really did count considering the deadline they were trying to meet and the distance they were trying to cover in such a short amount of time. Their short stops were strategically planned and everyone had a role to play to keep their time sufficient to meet Margo on time. I liked that, and it entertained me enough to finish this book. 

This was a dragging story, and I honestly didn’t expect it from John Green. He’s one of my favorite male authors and he was writing in my favorite genre, and this was just really disappointing. But I did like the first part of the story, though! (3 out of 5 stars)

The Ending: *This part is filled with spoilers. I suggest you skip this part if you don’t want to cry later on.*  I didn’t really appreciate the ending with Margo not coming back with Q. I get why Margo left. To leave the paper town was her goal. But Q went to new heights just to see her again and her neglecting that prize for Q was quite unfair. The ending was so disappointing because it didn’t really meet my expectations. Q solved a whole lot of mysteries to be able to see Margo again. And her decision to not come home with Q was absolute shit. I’m sorry John Green, but that’s my opinion. But, as I’ve said above, I found the last part quite entertaining so, yeah. (1 out of 5 stars)

The Verdict: So far, the only John Green books that I have read are The Fault in Our Stars, Looking For Alaska, Will Grayson, Will Grayson (which he co-wrote with David Levithan), and this book. And I didn’t quite like it just as much as the first two books. It’s not my favorite, and I might say it’s a one-time read, if not DNF. If not for the movie coming out this year, I might not have given this book a chance at all.. Hopefully, Cara and Nat’s acting are enough to change my opinion about this book.  (2.33 out of 5 stars)

Quotable Quotes:

“The town was paper, but the memories were not.”

“I didn’t need you, you idiot. I picked you. And then you picked me back.”

“When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out.”

“Talking to a drunk person was like talking to an extremely happy, severely brain-damaged three-year-old.”

“That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfast cereals based on color instead of taste.”

“What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.”


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