Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
What I Think So Far: Though I actually found Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars to be somewhat endearing if not a tad cringe-worthy at times, Paper Towns is, at the moment, just plain irritating. The book is narrated by a geeky boy pining over a mysterious and “gorgeous” girl who later disappears from his life (as with many of Green’s novels) and is filled with overly pretentious characters and dialogue (as with all of his novels). This could all be bearable if not for Quentin (the geeky boy in question) being such an unbearable protagonist. I’m holding out hope that his obsession with the literal girl-next-door Margo (the “gorgeous” girl in question) isn’t actually meant to be seen as romantic or sweet but instead creepy and unhealthy, however the cynic in me thinks otherwise. Then again, I’m only at the halfway point.
Despite all this, it’s a fairly easy story to get into and does a solid job of keeping the reader intrigued as to why Margo left her “paper town” and where exactly she disappeared to. The inclusion of various clues along the way makes the reader feel as just a part of the mystery as Quentin and his friends, who aren’t much more admirable than Quentin – one of them literally refers to women as “honeybunnies.”
Would I recommend? To anyone already a fan of the writing style of John Green, or to the young adult romance genre in general, absolutely. However, anyone yet to be converted probably won’t be swayed by this one – especially those who get easily grated by protagonists with Nice Guy Syndrome.
Words by Samantha King