Review: Paper Towns by John Green

About a week ago I held a poll on my Instagram asking which of the following John Green books (that I currently own) people recommend I read! The options were the following:

  1. An Abundance of Katherines
  2. Paper Towns
  3. Looking for Alaska

The first and only John Green book that I had read was The Fault in Our Stars years and years ago when the film came out! I really enjoyed reading it (at the time) and so on my mission to read all the books I currently own, I thought I would tackle the three John Green books that I own.

The synopsis:

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…

Here’s what I thought:

Let me start by saying that erm… well I just didn’t like the book. I could literally list a million reasons why but I will (try) to limit myself to the following points:

  • I don’t know if I should have a spoiler alert for this, but in the first ~5 pages the two main characters, Margo Roth Spiegelman and Quentin Jacobsen, at the age of NINE, come across a dead body in their local park. Now, this could have been a very traumatic experience for them. Here’s what actually happened. Margo ends up becoming very curious about this dead body so, at the age of NINE, I repeat for clarity NINE!! she roams around town to find the home of this dead person ALONE and proceeds to ask questions to the police about the circumstances of his death. FIRST OF ALL I don’t know about your parents but mine did not let me out the front door alone at NINE years old, so the fact that this child is walking around and entering a strangers house, for me, is unfathomable. But it gets better because, she ends up visiting the neighbour of the dead person and proceeds to ask questions about his death, AND the neighbour answers her???!??!?! If a CHILD was roaming around essentially a crime scene ALONE my first thought would be a. Where are you parents? b. Probably alerting the police next door that there’s a child ALONE knocking on random strangers’ door and we should probably find her parents????!??!?!? From this first scene alone I had a general feeling that I probably wouldn’t enjoy it.
  • SPOILER ALERT:
  • Throughout the whole story our main quest is to find Margo after she gone missing. Except we know little to nothing about her apart from her ridiculous shenanigans at the very beginning of the story and the ridiculous 11/12 task journey she randomly roped Quentin into that one night. If I don’t know much about her character and neither does the main character Quentin, who is the POV throughout this book why would I care for this quest at all? You could argue that you discover who Margo is the same time that Quentin does and that’s the point of the story skdjiuwbref nonsense. But I also didn’t care for Quentin. Aside from being obsessed with his mysterious neighbour Margo he literally has no personality traits, hobbies etc. that the reader discovers throughout the book. He is essentially a cardboard character set up to be infatuated with Margo and to reveal the clues to the reader.
  • SPOILER ALERT: So I finally get to the end of this excruciating journey to find that after we’ve spent roughly 260 pages trying to find MARGO ROTH SPIEGELMAN, guess what… It turns out she never wanted to be found… She just wanted to run away and ALL those clues that she left were not left for Quentin but Quentin had just come across them by chance. I’m sorry? Huh?

Had I read this book when I was younger would I have enjoyed it more, maybe? Actually I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed it more but maybe hated it less? Reading this book in this current climate also made is sooo redundant but at the same time I knew that if I stopped reading it I would NEVER go back to it. Would I recommend it to anyone? Probably not. I hope that this review wasn’t too much of a rant and that I at least had some coherent points! I am currently reading the The Deep Blue Between by Ayesha Harruna Attah and shall have my review posted up next week!

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