Review: Paper Towns

Paper Towns Paper Towns by John Green

Summary: Q has always liked his next door neighbor Margo Roth Spiegelman, although after that one time they found a dead body when they were 9, Margo has become popular while Q remains a band geek who doesn’t even play an instrument. One night near the end of senior year, Margo comes to Q’s window and invites him along on a journey full of pranks and breaking and entering, and after this wonderful night, Margo does not return to school.

Q and his friends Ben and Radar and Margo’s friend Lacey track down the clues that Margo has left behind. All of them seem to point to the idea of paper towns, subdivisions that were never built. Q is worried that Margo might be dead as he comes to realize that the Margo he knew is very different from the real Margo Roth Spiegelman.


Some things about this novel were very similar to An Abundance of Katherines: the road trip, searching for an elusive girl, quirky sidekicks.  The first road trip is a one-nighter series of pranks, but it was the second road trip, a one-day flight from Florida to New York State, that reminded me of the 3-week road trip I went on right after college.  Four people crammed into a four-passenger vehicle, stops for gas every four hours, someone always bitching about needing to pee…

Walt Whitman

Margo is an elusive character who Q sometimes idolizes and sometimes hates. The poem “Song of Myself” (and Leaves of Grass in general) by Walt Whitman plays a big part in Margo’s mystery, but also in the tone, where the journey is more exciting than the destination and there’s a lot of tramping a perpetual journey and loafing. I read Leaves of Grass back in high school and I still remembered these phrases and that feeling of peace and freedom, of accepting life and death, that those poems gave me. The book itself is a great journey.

End of the Road…

I almost wanted them not to find Margo… possibly because I have now read all of John Green’s books and there are none left until he publishes another one…

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