Paper Towns by John Green | Book Review

Paper Towns by John Green | Book ReviewPaper Towns by John Green
Also by this author: Looking For Alaska, Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Published by Penguin on October 16th 2008
Genres: Young Adult, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Runaways, People & Places, United States, General
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

Winner of the Edgar AwardThe #1 New York Times BestsellerPublishers Weekly and USA Today Bestseller
Millions of Copies Sold
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificent Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. When their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Margo has disappeared. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Embarking on an exhilarating adventure to find her, the closer Q gets, the less he sees the girl he thought he knew.
#1 Bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars John Green crafts a brilliantly funny and moving coming-of-age journey about true friendship and true love.
From the Hardcover edition.

Do you have the habit of hanging on to a book by an author that you love because there is not a new book on the horizon and you just want one book by that author to read in a tight spot? For me – that book was Paper Towns by John Green. I have read all of Green’s books aside from Paper Towns and also, come to think of it, Let It Snow. However, Paper Towns remained the main unread John Green book on my shelf. Alas, my plans to save it for a special time or moment when I was in need was foiled by the release of the film. You see, I actually really want to see the movie and so, given this drive that I have to read the book before the movie, I sat down and had a long overdue read of Paper Towns.

Paper Towns by John Green is about this guy named Quentin who lives in Florida next to this very beautiful girl that he’s had a crush on since essentially forever. One night, the girl, Margo, taps at his window and enlists Quentin as her getaway driver. That night she has plans for revenge and so the two drive around town in Quentin’s van. They share a kiss and Quentin’s dreams essentially come true – if only for a night. The next day, he has questions about how things will be but cannot wait for school. Only, Margo isn’t there. She has run away and so, Quentin takes it upon himself, with the help of his best friends, to unravel the clues she left behind and to find her.

So, Quentin is pretty similar to John Green’s other main characters with the exception of Hazel Grace. Quentin is precocious. He’s obsessed with a manic pixie dream girl. He also has a remarkably good relationship with his parents – which I definitely appreciated while reading Paper Towns. I also really loved his relationship with his friends. They are great people who go with him on this road trip from Florida to upstate New York (which FYI is quite the lengthy trip). I love that he was open and willing to make a new friend (Lacey — one of Margo’s best friends). I also liked how unconventional Quentin was – like he’s willing to miss out on some milestone moments to find a girl that he has convinced himself he is in love with. That is some serious dedication y’all.

Margo comes across as a manic pixie dream girl at first. I mean, she has this one crazy night of revenge. AND THEN! She runs away. But, she leaves a trail of clues. First off, who has time to put that together. Second off, I get that she has a need for a lot of attention given that her parents kind of suck, but for real. It is a bit much. However, the book does address that Quentin romanticizes her and makes her more than a person, which is not a great thing to do to someone. I guess I would have liked more from Margo’s character – maybe more personality or something that makes her more than a fiction stereotype.

Paper Towns is wonderful in that it lives up to expectations and contains Green’s characteristic writing and does not deviate from that. I know there’s a lot of people who think that Green is overrated, which fine, that’s fair. Personally, I love his books. I love his writing. I love that style that he has. It’s distinctive and exuberant and bursting with knowledge, practically. So yes, I loved how Paper Towns was written — and especially the exploration of actual paper towns as unique watermarks and how one small town, Roscoe NY, made Aglow, a paper town a reality. Like, that’s such a neat, unique, real life thing to put in a book and I loved it. Count me in as a fan of this book.


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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I’ve not read all of his books, including this one, either. He is one of my favorite authors though. I’ve seen the movie and loved it so I may read this one soon.Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great review! I started this but had some other things vying for my time so I didn’t finish. I think I was a little annoyed by the banter with his friends, too, though it sounds like they really come through for him at the end. It’s also good to hear that idolizing another person like Margo gets questioned.

  3. I’m really glad you liked this book. I liked Paper Towns too. I understand what you mean about Margo, though. I mean, all those clues were a bit much. But it did make a fun book.

    I personally like the John Green books I’ve read.

  4. I’ve tried reading this book twice now and I can’t seem to go on reading after the first few pages. It’s very unnatural for me not to finish a book. It’s not that I don’t like it! I do like it. I just have zero drive to finish this specific book.
    Lovely review. 🙂

  5. This was actually my second John Green novel after reading Looking for Alaska. I liked it a lot; I like pretty much everything he has written, but there was something about this one that left me rather flat. I think you nailed it on the head with your question about who has time to plant all of those clues for someone else. It still will not prevent me from reading any of his other novels though.