Discover what wonders a “Paper Town” can hold when you look closely


Paper Towns, written by John Green

Quentin (Q) Jacobsen has enough on his plate during his last month of senior year as it is. He has to worry about graduation, being the only senior at school without his or her own car, and getting his best friend Ben a prom date, which he claims to have no interest in. The last thing he feels he needs to worry about is searching for his next door neighbor and crush, Margo Roth Spiegelman; until now.

It’s no secret that John Green has a knack for writing novels that have readers grappling for their box of Kleenex. Look at “The Fault in Our Stars” and “Looking for Alaska.” However, in “Paper Towns,” the plot is laced with more humor and meaning than ever before, with a dash romance, witty comebacks and even a little mystery.

I’m going to be totally honest, this book wasn’t what I was expecting. Usually, I’m very hesitant when picking out a book with no background information on it whatsoever. All I knew when I plucked it off the bookshelf was that Green had wrote it, and since he is a favorite of mine, I decided to give the book a shot.

Now I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit afraid to start this book. All I could think was, “Oh gosh, another tragedy. Why do I do this to myself?” Luckily, the book was riddled with humor right from the beginning. Q’s sarcastic nature serves as a pleasant reminder that despite his talent for tragedy, John Green is one of the wittiest authors living among us today.

Green begins the book with a sort of prequel, telling about a time when Q was friends with his oh-so-beautiful neighbor Margo Roth Spiegelman, and about how they conducted a harrowing investigation of a man’s death at the ripe age of seven.

Now ten years later, at the tail end of their senior year of high school, Q is at the bottom of the food chain, Margo on top, and neither one friends anymore. Q continues to admire her from afar, but most definitely does not expect her to show up at his bedroom window for one night and beg him to go on an adventure with her.

Q and Margo travel all around Orlando throughout the night, making it back just before it is time to leave for school the next morning. Their adventure included several wacky and albeit clever pranks at each of their pit stops, ranging from sabotaging the romantic night of Margo’s now ex best friend and boyfriend, shaving off the left eyebrow of Q’s nemesis, and even breaking into Sea World for a few minutes.

After that amazing night, the mysterious Margo Roth Spiegelman has run away from home, only leaving the vaguest of clues to aid Q in his search for her.

That’s the wonderful thing about Green’s writing, really. No matter what the plot of the book consists of, he always manages to keep you guessing. Throughout “Paper Towns,” he leads you down a path to Margo’s whereabouts and her reasons for going where she did, only to have your knowledge swept out from under you.

He doesn’t write a romance in the often-cheesy format that is presented by authors like Nicholas Sparks. The story of Q and Margo is told with taste and an air of realism. They don’t fall in love just like that. It took rekindling their friendship even for a few hours the night before Margo disappeared, combined with a building understanding of Margo’s real life as opposed to the part she plays in the school’s social hierarchy on Q’s part throughout the book.

Green doesn’t lead you to think that everything will always be perfect, he leads you to believe that love can survive anything if it’s real, even a few bumps in the road.