Saturday, April 13, 2013

Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns
Book: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Publication Date: October 16, 2008
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Rating: 3 Stars

I never really understood what people meant by the John Green formula until I read this book. The mysterious, cool, distant girl, the slightly geeky boy, and the journey. It's very reminiscent of Looking for Alaska, which I think is part of the reason I didn't like it as much. Looking for Alaska is my least favorite John Green book, and I think that if I hadn't read that, Paper Towns would've gotten a higher rating from me. As it is, I think it's just a better done regurgitation of LFA.

There are some things about John Green's writing that I really enjoy, despite the repetitive formula. I like how he uses symbolism and how his books usually revolve around one clear concept (in this case, paper towns and facades). Some people might see it as needlessly rehashing something, but his ideas are usually pretty unique and about stuff I've never heard of. Also, his dialogue and characters never fail to make me laugh. The road trip in this book was my favorite part. It was so isolated from everything else and it really brought the friendships among all the characters into perspective. The way they all come together for a 23 hour car ride and the strangeness of the situation highlights John Green's capacity for imagination. Out of all the characters, my favorite character was Radar because he didn't suffer from the melodrama and selfishness that the others had. I didn't have much patience for Q and Margo's dramatics. In fact, I didn't understand how they went from not really talking to each other at all to suddenly in love. For Q, it's understandable. But why would Margo give him the time of day after years of not really interacting with him? Doesn't make sense.

The book is exciting, I'll give it that. I wanted to keep reading. But I got tired of Q's obsession with the projection that Margo was giving off, and I guess that was kind of the point. However, it was too reminiscent of Pudge's angst after Alaska's disappearance. I probably need a break from John Green before I pick up another one of his books.

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