Estelle: Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns by John Green [ website | twitter ]
Publication Date: October 16, 2008
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Pages: 320
Target Audience: Young Adult
Format read: Paperback borrowed from the library
Why I read it: I needed to see if John Green was just as great as everyone was saying. 😉

Summary: Quentin has been in love with his next door neighbor, Margo, just about forever. Now in the last months of their high school career, Quentin and Margo aren’t exactly what you call friends but when she climbs into his window and whisks him off for an evening of avenging her enemies, he hopes that’s not the last they see of each other. When Margo disappears (as she has been known to do) the following day, Quentin embarks on his own journey to bring her back.

So why did I wait so long to read an exclusively John Green novel? Don’t answer that question. Just be glad that I read this one. Finally. You know that line “you had me at hello”? Well, John Green had me at about page 3 when I was already laughing OUT loud. Don’t get the wrong impression of me but it takes a lot a lot a lot for me to outwardly laugh. For more than a few seconds. Monumental. Really. And in Paper Towns, I was surprised to find myself laughing quite a bit.

That’s actually what I noticed most about Paper Towns. Even when things looked bleak and Quentin was no closer to finding out if Margo was absolutely alive, it didn’t stop them from laughing or talking about prom. This natural ebb and flow of emotions continued to occur even though the main plotline was a serious one. Green did a fantastic job of making these last moments of senior year so believable. It’s sad, it’s happy, it’s fun, it’s a disaster, it’s scary, and in the end, all you are left with is the unknown. It made me want to go back and relive my own last year of high school. (I never thought I would say that.) As long as mine included a road trip, of course.

And Quentin is a great narrator. Sometimes it’s hard for me to connect to male main characters but I had no problems here. He was so real and down to earth, and I so enjoyed going on this journey with him as he took himself completely out of his element. You know that saying, you can tell a lot about a person by their friends? It couldn’t be truer in Paper Towns. Quentin’s best friends, Ben and Radar, add so much to the story (and Ben is absolutely hysterical). I love the way they talk, all the little details we learn about them, and how they get along (or sometimes don’t). Their friendship is the real deal. I don’t think I’ve encountered such a great example of male friendship in any of my other YA books, and honestly, this trio tops a lot of the female bonds I’ve grown accustomed to.

I could probably swoon about this book for another 1000 words if I had the space or time or you had the patience to read it. One more thing worth mentioning is this whole idea Green presents about feeling a connection with someone, or just wanting them in general and how your mind builds up these certain ideas about them and you create some version of who they are in your head. It’s actually kind of dangerous but happens all the time. When you finally get to know this person, they will probably be entirely different than what you imagined. It’s a small thing. Maybe people don’t stop long enough to think about this. Or just how much it could mess with your notion of reality. To me, this idea felt like this major epiphany and I still can’t stop thinking about it.

So my plan after reading this is to buy my own copy and re-read it. (While taking out every other John Green book from the library.) If that doesn’t tell you something, I’m not sure what will.

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15 thoughts on “Estelle: Paper Towns by John Green

  1. Hollie says:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed Paper Towns! I don’t normally laugh out-loud at books, yet with Paper Towns I found myself sat in an airport departure lounge, bully-chuckling with laughter and gaining quite a few strange looks too!

    I really hope you enjoy John Green’s other books just as much! (If not more!)

    • Estelle says:

      Hollie, thanks for the comment! Glad I’m not the only one who was LOLing along with these characters. I just bought Looking for Alaska last week & I’m reading An Abundance of Katharines from the library at the moment. I’ll keep you posted with how it is going!

  2. VeganYANerds says:

    Estelle – you had me at laughing out loud! I always a appreciate a book that can make me laugh and now I just have to read this!

    I’m ashamed to say I still haven’t read any of John’s own books, only WG, WG but I do have TFiOS and now I will go out and buy Paper Towns!

    • Estelle says:

      Mands, you make me laugh a lot. 🙂 Glad I convinced you to read PT. It’s just THAT good. I also bought if for a friend. So that means it must be pretty good, right? haha

  3. Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl says:

    Hello, John-Green-Book-that-Does-Not-Scare-Me! Estelle, Estelle. I think I’ve been talked into this one. You know how much I hate crying. HATE it. To me, John Green = a need to buy stock in Puffs Kleenex. I think I can do this one, though! I think I will… *off to Amazon*

    • Estelle says:

      J, I think this might be the perfect read for you then. haha. I don’t think I cried at this one. Maybe a bit at the end? But I wasn’t sobbing so that’s a good sign! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts & the cry meter of course. 😉

  4. Sasha says:

    “Green did a fantastic job of making these last moments of senior year so believable. It’s sad, it’s happy, it’s fun, it’s a disaster, it’s scary, and in the end, all you are left with is the unknown.” GIRL, you got a way with words!

    I love JG. Papertowns is such a fun read! I did it as an audiobook and loved Q. 🙂

    • Estelle says:

      S, this was a lovely comment to see when I first woke up. Thank you so much. I still can’t get over how much I loved loved this book & I hope I can find another John Green that is just as wonderful!

  5. BOBBY says:

    And surprisingly even as a guy, even i got attached to the characters and love this book. Thanks for the review though.

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