Friday, August 1, 2014

Review: "Paper Towns"

Paper Towns by John Green
4 out of 5 stars

This is my 4th John Green book and it may be my favorite. Yes, even over TFIOS. I mean, who really says that a book about kids with cancer is their favorite? (If that's you, I apologize. ;)) I kind of have a love/hate relationship with Green though. Yes, every single one of his books are the same (TFIOS is slightly different, but still close enough) but they're still good reading. Paper Towns has the nerdy outsider boy in love with the manic pixie dream girl from afar, something happens to bring them together, then they're apart, and then they're back together in the end, but only for a short time usually, and then they're all okay with that. There's the nerdy boy's quirky BFF, usually non-white, who pretends he's a ladies man but totally isn't and he eventually gets with the hottest girl in the school. There are the nearly non-existent parents who allow their children to go on road-trips at the drop of a hat.

"I'm a big believer in random capitalization. the rules of capitalization are so unfair to words in the middle."

It's the same formula over and over again. So why does it work? I don't really know. I do know that I fiercely want young Margo's t-shirt from the beginning: a pink T-shirt that featured a green dragon breathing a fire of orange glitter. I know that I love the idea of having a revenge night, getting back at all the people who hurt you (especially if you are still in high school when everything is dire and important then.) The idea of just taking off when you can't take it anymore (whatever "it" is.) Margo's little clues for Quentin to find, encouraging him to think about his life and how he's lived it so far.

When Margo left after their night of revenge, I got worried about what was going to happen and actually skimmed the ending a bit to see if she lived or not. (Not saying here yes or no!) The ending redeems the similarity to his other books, in my opinion. You feel for these characters and yet you also feel like maybe you've grown too. Does that make sense? Just like Q, everything has been flat and one-dimensional and you've been okay with that, but all of a sudden your eyes open up and you can see how things really are and how they can be different.

A paper town for a paper girl.

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