[Book Review] Paper Towns – John Green

“At some point, you gotta stop looking up at the sky, or one of these days you’ll look back down and see that you floated away, too.”

Continuing my journey into John Green’s world, I decided to visit an old friend of mine. Paper Towns was one of the first books I have read from John that was like an introduction into his YA world of teenagers being not-so teenager-y. After reading Turtles all the way down and Will Grayson, Will Grayson, I decided to give Paper Town a second shot and re-read it, since I have forgotten most the action.

What’s the story about?

The story starts as being centered around the enigma that Margo is. Quentin loves Margo. Margo loves somebody else. One night, Margo asks Quentin to join her on a quest for revenge on her cheating (now ex)boyfriend. The next morning, Margo disappears. Quentin begins to look after her the second he finds a clue that might lead him to her.


this section contains spoilers

Friendship – Friendship seems to be a common theme in John Green’s universe. We get the idea of friendship from the first pages of the book, when we are introduced into Q and Margo’s world. A little boy and a little girl wandering through the city in search of an adventure, find a dead body. What seems to be a bonding experience at first, it fails to fuel their friendship and they drift apart, leaving Q with a feeling of something not being quite finished. Their friendship finds a way back during their revenge adventure, just to quickly die the next day, when Margo runs away from home. Quentin keeps this friendship alive, but with a fictional Margo this time that, in his mind, does everything she can to bring him closer to her.

Q’s other friendship is the one with Ben and Radar. While Ben and Radar are living their best life, trying to make the most out of their graduation, Quentin is looking for Margo’s hiding spot, trying to avoid the thought of her being dead. Even though they all have their own stuff going on in their lives, Q always has his best buddies next to him, helping him solve all the riddles. Also, when they need help getting home from the party, Q abandons his Margo search and helps them get home safe.

Illusion – Margo is an illusion. She is the character that lives and acts without her actually being there next to Q. She lives through what she has done before leaving and through what Q does in order to find her. Quentin lives through this illusion, illusion that acts like fuel for his actions. I like to think that Quentin’s life would be pretty boring without the idea he was hunting for. Throughout this illusion, he strenghtens his friendship with Ben and Radar, he begins a new friendship with Lacey, and he is basically evolving into a more mature version of himself. Hunting this illusion, he starts to see the blank space between what he is and what he is hunting for, and, in that space, he sees exactly what he needs to feel better and to become happier.

In the end…

… when I first read this book, I was pretty blown away by the characters, relating to almost all of them. After several years, I started to notice the John Green pattern and I felt a little cheated, yet not mad about it. I still liked this book the second time, even though I saw the “cracks in the ceiling”. Margo is my paradox: she is what I am and what I want to become. I am the real person and I want to become the illusion.

Buy the book: Book Depository

Photos by Paula May, John Mark-Smith, Erik Odiin

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