Paper Towns by John Green Review

Author: John Green
Title: Paper Towns
Audience: Teens/Young Adults
Genres: Romance, Humor, Mystery, Coming of Age
Published: October 2008

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew…

If I’m honest, I read this book purely because of the film that was released last month. I knew that Cara Delevingne and Nat Wolff would be staring in it so I had to go and watch it, but I also had to read the book first because I am one of those people that must read the book before watching the film (there are some exceptions though). I preferred the film to the book – I’m not overly sure why, maybe it was the cast or the slight changes in the storyline, but most likely it was the fact that Quentin’s almost obsessive thoughts of Margo weren’t voiced much, unlike the book where you read (heard?) his thoughts 24/7.

This might just be me, but once I know that there is a cast for a film based on a book, I can’t help but picture that cast when reading about the characters. Even if their description doesn’t match at all, its always there in my mind whether I want it to be or not. As a result, I didn’t really get to picture my own characters which is kind of annoying because now I don’t know whether I would’ve pictured them completely differently or almost exactly the same.

The book is split into 3 main parts – The Strings, The Grass and The Vessel. I loved the first and last part, as there was a huge sense of adventure and a lot of excitement surrounding the mystery, so it was really fast-paced and had me rapidly turning the page for the next sentence.

However, I really wasn’t keen on the second part, as there wasn’t much action – it felt like it was slower-paced than the other sections, so there was the lack of excitement. This, for me, unfortunately made me lose the urgent page-turning and it slowed to the speed of I’ll read to the end of this chapter and then stop for a bit (the a bit turned into quite a few days…). But once I got back into it and onto the last part, it was an hour or two and I was finished!

There is a special place in my heart for mystery novels, especially ones that get me hooked within a few chapters, or pages even, so I really enjoyed the clues and trying to put all the pieces together with Quentin. And obviously, there is the romance element which is 100% me, so I really enjoyed the realistic and not-annoying parts!

Special mention to the road trip crew – Ben, Radar and Lacey. I loved how they all interacted with each other on the journey and even almost made me laugh at parts (laughing at books is just really something that I don’t do). Their friendship develops over the road trip, and I feel like they all become a lot more accepting of each other’s quirks so they bond and seem to get even closer than they were before setting off.

The ending for me wasn’t great – without giving too much away, it just wasn’t what I was hoping for and I was honestly fairly under-whelmed. But I could quite possibly be the only person to ever think this, so please don’t let me put you off!

Have you read the book and seen the film? Which did you prefer?

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆


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