Thursday, 8 July 2010

Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Dear Blog,
I finished Paper Towns this afternoon.  I know that the picture is the US edition as opposed to the UK one, but I couldn't find a good-quality image of the right size of the sceptr'd isle edition.  No matter.

Summary (from Goodreads): When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.

Review: I read Looking for Alaska about a  month ago and completely fell in love with it, and a couple of days after finishing it I ordered Paper Towns off Amazon.  I haven't had a chance to read it since then, but decided to read it now so that it didn't just blend into my bookshelf and not read for another two and a half years, à la Artemis Fowl and Many Waters (neither of which I've actually read yet).  Although, John Green's writing is too good to put off from reading for very long.

Paper Towns is similar to Looking for Alaska in many ways.  Margo and Alaska are kind of alike, just because they're clever and worldly and mysterious.  There's one scene on page 77/78 where Q is describing Margo which seems almost identical to the "In the dark beside me, she smelled of sweat and sunshine and vanilla, and on that thin-mooned night I could see little more than her silhouette" scene in Alaska.  But I don't really care because it's so beautiful and well-written (as was the "she was not an adventure. She was not a fine and precious thing.  She was a girl" part in Paper Towns)  And Miles and Quentin had similar characteristics, too, but all these similarities matter not because all these people are awesome-  the sort of people you wish would just jump off the page. I certainly wish that Margot would open my bedroom window one night and take me on awesome all-night escapades.  Too bad that stories are fiction, however realistic the characters may seem.  But that's how you know that characters are truly great, I guess.  Not only do you belive they could be real but you want them to be. 

Paper Towns has that brilliant mix of being funny and making you think.  It's the sort of book where you don't want to just add a couple of your favourite sentences to your Favourite Quote section on Goodreads, but the whole thing.  Indeed, as well as being deep and philosophical in a John Green sort of way, parts of it are hysterically funny.  Parts of it are certainly rude.  Generally it's both at the same time *sigh*. Boy humour...what more can I say?  Anyway, at some parts I was laughing so hard my little sister was giving me weird looks and asking if I was okay.  Which I was.
I don't tend to read mystery novels, but this is more than anything else a mystery and, like any good one, keeps you guessing.  Although I did get a bit annoyed about two thirds of the way into the book when we knew that Margo was in a paper town but not exactly where.  So that sort of got on my nerves because Q didn't actually get on the road until part 3 (to my mind the best part of the book).

I'm not really sure what to make of the ending, which I won't reveal because it will wreck the whole book.  Was it right?  Was it dissapointed?  I can't really tell, and will probably have to think it over for a few days before I come to any conclusions.  

Summary: excellent no matter what you make of the ending. Funny, thoughtful, exciting, rude, and absolutely awesome.  Rating: 4/5.

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