Monday, 4 May 2015

Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Speak
Release Date:  October 1, 2008
Date Read:  February 2014
Buy This Book: Amazon | Book Depository
My Rating:  ★★✩✩✩
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.
~ Juwairiya's Review ~

Two reasons why this book didn't work for me:
  1. Quentin 
  2. Margo 
And that's about it. But these are big-ass problems, people, because Quentin is the narrator of the story and he is most unhealthily obsessed over Margo, the main plot-mover of the story. It sucks because I don't even like her. I feel like she thinks that everyone but her is vapid, fake and frivolous. People just want to live a normal life and go to a college and get a job and get married. It's all too ordinary for our Margo. She has evolved beyond any other human being and hence, can't possibly live in their presence. Much deep, many meaningful.

Her reasons for disappearing are never properly revealed but that's probably because there are no reasons at all. Not relatable, understandable ones at least. She poured out some spiritual mumbo jumbo as explanation near the end but I was too bored to care by then. I just thought she was unnecessarily whiny, privileged and wanted the whole world to revolve around her even if it was at the cost of her parents' mental state and her friends' well-being.

And when Quentin worships the dirt stuck to the soles of her feet, it's really hard for me to like him. I mean, every thought he ever has is Margo, Margo, Margo, mArGo, MARGOOO! and I was sick and tired of him halfway through the book, especially when he started adapting Margo's holier-than-thou persona. Apart from that and his oh-so-Hazel-Grace-esque dry humor, he was excruciatingly bland.

Another thing about the characters: Quentin sure doesn't know how lucky he is to have friends like Radar and Ben. I think they proved themselves to be beyond easily broken high school relationships with that road trip part and yet they're given no satiable conclusion because of Margo's dramatic tantrums.

But whether or not you manage to get along with these 2 main characters, you'd still finish the book in no time. I really could not put the book down despite being bored to death by it, which is very contradictory, I know. I ended up finishing it in just 4 or so hours.

All in all, I'm sure more patient readers will be intrigued by the deconstruction of the manic pixie dream girl stereotype that John Green seems to be shooting for but to me, the concept was developed obscurely and wasn't properly addressed until the last few chapters. Even then, you're left thinking "So...that's it?". It was too underwhelming to be the revolving point of the entire story.

2 clouds for the quirky side cast but the main characters were unbearable.


  1. I like seeing an opposite opinion from the usual. I've been back and forth about reading this book and you make it sound so bland! I don't like it when characters are holier-than-thou... so maybe I'll officially take a pass on this!

    1. It depends a lot on how you felt about John Green's other books. If you liked Looking for Alaska then you will adore this. I once saw a reviewer on Goodreads call Paper Towns "Looking for Margo/Alaska Towns" because they're so similar. Same concept, same quirky side characters, same mysterious girl and her naive curious boy.

  2. "he is most unhealthily obsessed over Margo" This. My friend said the same exact thing, and that's why she didn't enjoy this one either. I've read The Fault in Our Stars by him (liked it) and An Abundance of Katherines (hated it) so I have no idea what I would think about this one, although the character's obsession sounds frustrating.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! Your design is really cute!

    1. I loved Green's The Fault in Our Stars too. It had its faults but it was too fun so I could easily ignore a lot of the things that irked people.

      But I didn't enjoy Green's other books so their faults were too obvious. I think his characters have a lot to do with whether or not you love the book and so far, only Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters were likable for me :/

  3. I tried to read Paper Town a while ago, and I had the same feelings as you. I didn't even finish it. Margo was just a very privilegied girl who wanted to disappear for no reason. She reminded of Alaska, except that Alaska was a tad more developed in my opinion. I got to know John Green through Looking for Alaska which I loved, and I was disappointed by Paper Town. Also, my problen with Green is that even thought he's an excellent writer, he always use the same type of characters. Nerd boy in love with a mysterious beautiful girl.

    1. Ugh yes :/ I personally thought Alaska was just a caricature of the mysterious troubled girl and hated the self-destructive popularization of smoking and drinking in Looking for Alaska :(

      Hopefully, John Green will write a unique book one day.