Paper Towns by John Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars ("Really liked it")
I was set to give this book a 3.5, but rounded up to four from the last part of the novel.
After a crazy night of pranking with Margo Spiegelman, Q wakes up the next morning to find her gone. This is something Margo has done previously, but her time spent with Q the night before both scares and stimulates him -- he needs to find her. Together with his best buds, they look for Margo, study a little Walt Whitman, and discover something about relationships and their own faults and strengths.
Green seems to have a thing for precocious, uninhibited thoughtful girls, as Margo reminded me a bit about the tragic Alaska in his award-winning novel, Looking for Alaska. Similarly, the guys in this novel are precocious nerds (not unlike the hero & supporting cast of Looking for Alaska), who seem to be too smart for their own good. Still, on the whole, the guys are fairly relate-able, finding enjoyment in typical male humor (balls!) and late-night video gaming.
I won't spoil anything, but I'll just say that Green does well to stay away from the formulaic - there were a few points in the novel I thought I knew what would happen next, and I was going to be very irritated if so. Thankfully, that wasn't the case. The last few pages of the book contain an extremely cathartic scene, which definitely makes the journey worthwhile.
Recommend: Yes, with a strong conviction to keep with it - the ending is worthwhile.
Topics Discussed: Finding Identity, Community of Human Nature
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