by Karoline Kingley
Paper Towns by John Green, published in 2005 won the Edgar Award for the best Young Adult Mystery. This is the second book by Green I have read, and this book heightened my respect
for his intellect, and admiration for his beautiful penchant. When it comes to a John Green
book, you always end up learning a deeper lesson than you bargained for. In this regard I was
not disappointed when reading Paper Towns for he exemplified a theme rarely addressed: all
humans are corrupted beings, and no amount of idolizing can change that.
18 year-old Q Jacobsen has loved his neighbor, (latch onto your seats for this name), Margo Roth
Spieglman since his childhood. But of course, everything about Margo is out of his reach. She’s
witty, adventurous and not to mention gorgeous. They’ve barely spoken to one another for the
past few years until one night, Margo arrives at Q’s window, dressed like a ninja, beckoning
him to join her. This is when Q makes his first of many mistakes. Blinded by affection, he joins
Margo without thinking, and even as their ludicrous stunt ensues, he continues to cater to her
whims. Margo has brought along Q in order to play a series of sometimes cruel pranks on all
those who have wronged her; it all makes sense however, when Margo is reported ‘missing’ the
But nobody is surprised. Attention-seeking Margo Roth Spiegleman has runaway before, always
to return…except this time. With every passing day Q is haunted by her beautiful memory, and
he eventually seeks to recover her. As he further investigates the matter with his friends Ben and
Radar, they discover she has left a trail of clues, largely pertaining to the Walt Whitman poem,
Song of Myself.
Q ends up going to rash measures in attempt to recover her, such as missing his own high school
graduation. This sort of foolish desperation leads us to realize that Q really doesn’t know Margo.
But the more he can discard his glorified opinion of her, the more Q realizes she is not the person
he thought she was.
Green thoroughly explains the truth that when we idolize something or somebody too much,
their true identity becomes blurred and we set ourselves up for disappointment. The book was
well-written, fast-paced and thought provoking, only I was slightly disappointed by the ending.
It was almost as though the author had taunted me with a tantalizing trail of treats, leaving me
to discover a bland moral lesson at the end. However, I enjoyed it more than The Fault in Our
Stars, his ever popular and most recent novel.
I would give Paper Towns a 4/5.
About Karoline Kingley:
I'm a 16 year old who enjoys writing, reading and blogging if course! I blog at "As a Teen Writer."