Thursday 6 August 2015

Review on Paper Towns

After Q spends the longest night of his life helping Margo Roth Spiegelman carry out her revenge, he is surprised to discover she has disappeared in the middle of the night. With the help of his friends, Q must follow the clues that Margo has left behind and discover where she has gone. But is Q’s idea of Margo really who she is?

As a long term nerd fighter and fan of John Green, I am surprised that it took me this long to get round to reading this book. However, as the movie adaptation is being released shortly and I was sick of avoiding certain vlogbrothers videos out of fear of spoilers, I couldn’t put it off any longer.

John Green books tend to follow a set pattern of boy meets girl, boy sees girl as an unattainable object of beauty, boy chases after girl anyway. This seemed particularly true in Looking for Alaska, and I initially thought that was also where Paper Towns was heading. However I was pleased when I discovered what the main theme of the book was. We often presume things about people and therefore create a made up image in our heads of who they are. It is difficult for us to understand that every person is an individual with their own personalities, hopes and dreams. We often see celebrities or people that we admire to be more than just another human who has similar emotions to us, and Paper Towns addresses that perfectly.

The characters were interesting even though some of the secondary characters seemed a little cliché, and I felt that they could easily be placed in the typical American high school jock/cheerleader/band geek/nerd cliques.  I thought Ben was funny at times, although he made me cringe referring to girls as honey bunnies and seeing them as an accessory.  I loved Radar and his loyalty to Q, and found it hilarious that his parents collected black Santa’s. I did however find Lacy to be a little two dimensional, and compared to Ben and Radar with their distinct personalities, I felt that I didn’t know enough about Lacy. Margo was interesting, and I couldn’t decide if I liked her or not. Although she was quite bratty, I sympathised with her for not having understanding parents and for not being able to share her true personality with her friends. I found it interesting that Q believed Margo was travelling around the U.S having adventures, but he eventually comes to realise that isn’t the case. I loved that Q’s understanding of the meaning of paper towns changed in each section of the book until he finally came to what Margo had meant by the phrase. The closer he comes to understand paper towns, the closer he comes to understanding Margo, and how she is not the girl he had fantasised about for so many years.

Although The Fault in our Stars remains my favourite John Green novel, I enjoyed Paper Towns and thought that it held an important message.  Now I just have to wait for the movie to come out in the UK!

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