Thursday, August 6, 2009

Paper Towns

So I read this year’s Edgar winner, Paper Towns, by John Green. In short, the book is about Quentin, who has a thing for the girl next door, Margo. One night, Margo takes him on a tour of revenge, where she gets back at all the people who’ve wronged her. And they break into SeaWorld too, which turns out to be fun. Then the next day, Margo disappears. Her parents are so tired of her antics, they just kind of give up (Margo is 18). But Quentin decides to find her, following clues Margo left behind.

I wish I could say how I felt about this book, but I’m honestly not sure. It’s well-written (for the most part; more on this later), the story is interesting, but… Okay, so here’s what bothered me:

1. Margo is such a fun, chaotic, on-the-edge character that Quentin is kind of a bummer. Once she leaves (after the revengeful night), I was sorry she wasn’t there anymore. Quentin’s friends Ben and Radar are cool, but just not as exciting to follow as Margo.

2. It’s a little too convenient how Margo’s parents just throw up their hands.

3. My biggest objection: there is a longwinded scene at the end of the book where the characters (I won’t give the ending away) explain everything to the reader—meaning, the author doesn’t trust all the beautiful literary work he just did, and feels his reader is to dumb to get it. Big no-no. My critique folk would eat this for breakfast.

So here’s where I’m confused. All my objections are really proof that this book was very well-written: Margo is compelling, all plot angeles are resolved, and there’s literary depth.

If you get a chance to read this book (and you should—I sailed through it), let me know what you think.


  1. Argh! More books for the reading list. But I'm always looking for the good ones.

    I know what you mean about a good book highlighting when the author does something . . . off. You kind of shrug it off in an already bad book.

  2. It's confusing. I have to conclude that it's disappointing when an author feels the need to explain everything at the end of the book. But still... Decent book.

    And my to-read pile is resembling the tower of Pisa :-)