paper towns

A somewhat geeky, slightly neurotic boy becomes ambiguously involved with an unusual, far more neurotic, out-of-his-league girl and learns a lot about himself, said girl, and life in the process, aided by his quirky friend(s).

The truth is, this could be a fairly accurate description of any of the three John Green novels I’ve read so far.  But while there are certainly parallels among his characters, Green’s talent lies in his creation of the journeys they take and in his ability to sweep his readers along on the ride.

I fell in love with John Green’s writing last summer, and so his Paper Towns found its way on my Christmas list this year.  From the start, the characters do feel a little familiar, but more in a comfortable way.  And it doesn’t take long for our narrator, Quentin, to develop his own voice as he tells us about the literal girl-next-door, Margo Roth Spiegelman (who in no way should be confused with a figurative girl-next-door).  Margo has essentially ignored Quentin since they played together as kids, but one night, a few weeks before graduation, she knocks at his window, requesting (or more accurately, demanding) his assistance in a series of covert missions.  Suddenly, Margo becomes the center of Quentin’s world, and it’s up to him to solve the riddle she’s put before him.

As with his other books, it’s a journey of self-discovery, of growing up, of friendship, and of love.  But it’s also laugh-out-loud hilarious at times, surprisingly suspenseful at others, and generally an all-around good story.  I don’t care how many times John Green starts off with the same basic ingredients, as long as each outcome is as satisfyingly authentic in the end.

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~ by Molly on January 14, 2011.

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