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Paper Towns by John Green

John Green knows how to end a book. You always hear about killer first lines and great beginnings, but it has got to be harder to end a story well. To know what to do with and to the characters and story you've crafted. I thought Looking for Alaska had the most beautiful closing lines. The wrap up in An Abundance of Katherines was just right. And my favorite thing about Paper Townsis undoubtedly the ending. Kind of nice to hear going in, isn't it?

So the story follows Q (short for Quentin) in his life-long quest to love girl-next-door Margo Roth Spiegelman. The thing is, she's sort of too cool for school, let alone Q. But one night she climbs through his bedroom window and absconds with him on a night full of adventure, breaking, entering, and general tomfoolery. Next morning she's gone. Q, with the occasional help of his two band geek friends, Ben and Radar, embarks on a journey to find Margo. Little does he comprehend just what "finding" her will mean. If it sounds like a combination of his two previous books, it sort of is but sort of not. Q engages in quite a bit of philosophical questioning and yet he is, in all respects, pleasantly without distinction as high school seniors go. This made him rather innocuous and a bit hard to like as much as I'd like to have. He exists on the fringes of every kind of stereotypical teen and seems to be perpetually surprised and amused by them all. It is a very calm, almost low-key book and it was over before I was ready. I wouldn't mind hearing more about Margo and Q (and Radar!) because I felt as though I was only beginning to get a handle on them when the whole thing came to a close. But, as I said, it was a perfect kind of ending. 

It's hard including quotes because the humor is so much of the experience of reading a John Green book and you don't want to ruin anything. At the same time, you can't not include at least one or two because they are, well, made of awesome. So here's one:
Now, I'm not sure what you're supposed to say to the checkout woman at twelve-thirty in the morning when you put thirteen pounds of catfish, Veet, the fat-daddy-size tub of Vaseline, a six-pack of Mountain Dew, a can of blue spray paint, and a dozen tulips on the conveyor belt. But here's what I said: "This isn't as weird as it looks."
The woman cleared her throat but didn't look up. "Still weird," she muttered.
See? You know you wanna find out just what all those items are for. 

And here's two:
Radar was leaning against Ben's locker, typing into a handheld device.
"So you're going to prom," I said to him. He looked up, and then looked back down.
"I'm de-vandalizing the Omnictionary article about a former prime minister of France. Last night someone deleted the entire entry and then replaced it with the sentence 'Jacques Chirac is a gay,' which as it happens is incorrect both factually and grammatically." Radar is a big-time editor of this online user-created reference source called Omnictionary. His whole life is devoted to the maintenance and well-being of Omnictionary. This was but one of several reasons why his having a prom date was somewhat surprising.
"So you're going to prom," I repeated.
"Sorry," he said without looking up.

There. You love Radar already, don't you? As well you should. Go read the book.

Comments

  1. I just read my first John Green book (Looking for Alaska) a week or two ago and I'm sold. I can't wait to read his other two!

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  2. Oh, man. I laughed so hard while reading An Abundance of Katherines. You have a real treat ahead of you. ;)

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  3. John Green rocks. :) I just read Paper Towns last week and loved it.

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  4. great review. i have Katherines, but need to read it...Looking for Alaska was amazing and I can't wait to read this one!

    -Lauren

    Contests and More. Come and Chat!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks, Lauren. I actually read Katherines first and then immediately ran out and got Alaska. Love John Green.

    ReplyDelete

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