Friday, 12 June 2015

'Paper Towns' by John Green (2008)

Synopsis: Quentin Jacobsen is 18 years old and lives in Orlando, Florida. Quentin has had a crush on his beautiful next door neighbour Margo Roth Spiegelman ever since they were both children. The two of them were good friends back then but have gradually drifted apart over the years. Margo is now one of the most popular girls at their high school while Quentin hangs out with band geeks, so Quentin is utterly bewildered when Margo climbs through his bedroom window in the middle of the night. She then manages to persuade Quentin to accompany her on a wild night of revenge pranking. Quentin then begins to hope that Margo will start to socialise with him more but when he goes into school the next day he discovers that she hasn't turned up and has ran away from home. This isn't the first time that Margo has run away from home though so no-one is feeling particularly concerned. However, Quentin begins to suspect that Margo wants to be found and that she has left him clues to her location. When Quentin eventually manages to work out where she is, he and his friends go on a road-trip to find her.

John Green's The Fault in Our Stars was one of my favourite books of 2014 so as you can probably imagine I was really looking forward to reading Paper Towns. But this one was such a huge let down. :( I found the early chapters amusing and engaging but after that the book deteriorated for me. Overall I found most of Paper Towns extremely slow-paced and boring and I really disliked its characters. I'm not usually the kind of reader who necessarily needs to like the characters in a book in order to enjoy it but the characters in this book were so annoying! Margo is an immature, self-obsessed, conceited brat who thinks that people who care about the future and actually want to have normal lives are shallow and fake. And the book is told from the POV of Quentin who has a massively unhealthy obsession with Margo and keeps going on about how "wonderful" she is which was extremely frustrating! And yes I do realise that the book is trying to make a point about how we can idealise others and see people for who we want them to be instead of seeing them as they actually are but that still didn't make Quentin's constant thinking and talking about Margo for pages and pages any easier to take. I can think of other books which have made similar points in a far more entertaining fashion.

I still love The Fault in Our Stars and I still really like John Green as a person - he comes across as a really nice guy in his YouTube videos - but I found this book a huge disappointment and I can't see myself reading any of Green's other books any time soon.

Rating: 2/5


Hamlette said...

Huh! I rather liked this book, though not enough to want to own a copy or anything.

Sarah said...

I actually liked Paper Towns even more than TFIOS. I think the writing was less polished but I identified with Q so much, and the themes really hit a note with me. I guess it's the sort of thing that works or doesn't depending on the person. :) Sorry it disappointed you Hannah. :/

Hannah said...

Hamlette - Yes, I remember you liking this book. Are you planning on seeing the movie adaptation when it comes out?

Sarah - Oh well, I've had far worse disappointments! And you have helped me to understand why you liked this book and why I didn't so thanks for that! :)

Hamlette said...

Not planning to, no. I should watch the trailer and see how it is.