Paper Towns by John Green – Book Review

This review comes with a bit of a backstory, so let me fill you in.

Roughly three weeks ago, I was going through what I thought was the most horrible time of my life. I had worked so hard to achieve something and I hadn’t made it through. In my eyes, that was a resounding failure that invalidated any success I might have previously had.

In everybody else’s eyes, I had gotten a silver medal, an award mention and had made huge progress since the previous year.

What actually happened was that I couldn’t see the forest because of the trees.

It’s something that happens to me a lot. However, I did manage to find a way to conquer the situation. If I find a distraction for a little while- one that feels constructive, my mind will take the time off it needed to heal.

This, however, was when a certain problem would pop up. Whenever I’m feeling like everything I sacrificed failed to come to fruition, it’s hard to get in the right mindset to get things done.

With time, I found a solution for that, too. I’ll get to that in a moment, but first…

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Let me ask you a question.

How do you feel when you’re reading? Because I completely immerse myself into the process. I enter the world through the first page and don’t give up until I either finished or I desperately need to go do something else.

No matter how I’m feeling, I’ll put those thoughts aside and just live through the book and let the book live through me. Subconsciously, my brain is still trying to work through my issues while I’m in the middle of a crisis, incredibly concerned about the safety of a certain character.

That’s how I ended up killing two birds with one stone (metaphorical birds- I could never hurt the poor things). I picked up and finished an amazing book in one sitting and skipped the sitting in bed, staring at the feeling and thinking all the bad thoughts phase that usually follows after a disappointment.

This is the story of my latest I’m-so-frustrated-so-please-send-help read. However, the post was intended as a book review. Let’s move on!

Summary

I’m going to quote the genius who wrote the book himself, as I doubt I could ever do the book justice with my own summary.

“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.”

Captivated, yet? You should be.

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Writing

This is the first John Green book I read in English- I was shook. Let me tell you about the time I first read one of his books. I was in my final year of middle school and I was quite a little punk. I told myself I couldn’t possibly ever read the lovey-dovey stuff I heard he wrote, so I picked up a translation of The Fault In Our Stars and I told myself that I was going to hate it.

I was a sad little child, wasn’t I? Long story short, I didn’t hate it at all– as a matter of fact, it completely opened my eyes to all the books I was missing out on.

His writing, even in a translation, made me feel things. His unaltered writing definitely got me hooked up to the story and the characters. It was like the thing that connected the other components of the book, helping them come to life in the most optimal way.

It was amazing.

Characters

If there is one word to describe John Green’s characters, then for me, that word would be relatable. I’m not trying to say that I’m as kickass as Margo or as smart as Radar, but that there are definitely bits and pieces in every character that I can relate to.

When it comes to Margo, it’s the taste in music or inclination toward mystery and surprise. With Q, it’s the awkwardness and loyalty. I could go on forever, but that could possibly include spoilers I don’t mean to put here.

His characters felt like friends, like people I’d interact with and see on a daily basis. They had dimension, depth. It honestly felt like I was right by their side as they’re advancing through every chapter of the book. And here, I’ll address the next point.

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Plot

I think I mentioned earlier that when I was in my 8th grade, I had this misconception that the books John Green wrote were simply romance, the story lacking anything else. Boy, was I wrong! It’s an action-packed Realistic Fiction (I seem to be reading a lot of those lately), complete with sarcastic quips, typical teenage awkwardness (with just a lil’ bit of angst thrown in the mix) and funny encounters.

There were plot twists- some of them expected, others not quite. Some parts were vey insightful (this is where I hint to one of the first appearances of the title in Margo’s speech) and definitely got me thinking- relating to the example in the parentheses, it fit my situation pretty nicely. I was definitely able to warp it into some relatable at the time.

It was one of those books that I read at just the right time.

Of course, it also addressed a lot of important, topical issues that many teenagers all over the world face- only they were painted as an undertone into this picture of incredible, reckless adventures.

Quotes

“What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.”

“That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfeast cereals based on color instead of taste.”

“It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.”

“The town was paper, but the memories were not.”

“If you don’t imagine, nothing ever happens at all.”

General & Ratings

It seems like all the books I’m reviewing lately are just brilliant for me. Truth is I’m not going to feel like reviewing a book I hated unless I hated it so much I want the world to know. However, I do try to spread as much positivity and as less hate as I can!

That being said, Paper Towns gets a solid 5 stars / “Oustanding” and a note to self that says I need to reread it soon, when I’m not as emotionally-not-alright as I was when I first read it.

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As a final thought, don’t let your paper problems blind you to opportunities or to life in general. Ask yourself, will it matter ten years from now? In the rare situations in which the answer is yes, work out ways to solve the problem. However, if the answer is no, get over it and rethink your position. If you want to keep going, do it. But remember that you need to be in the right mindset to do so. Most importantly, stay true to yourself!


Hope you enjoyed this review! Let me know in the comments below if you read the book or if I managed to convince you to do so! If you read it, what did you think? Did you read the questions in the discussion chapter? What are your thoughts? Try to notify your spoilers, please!

[for the people who are planning on reading the book: beware; no matter how hard I try, the comments section might be filled with spoilers- navigate with your eyes closed!]

Until the next one!

Keep hustling x

Andrea.

P.S.: If you want to stay up to date on my bookish journeys, make sure to follow my Goodreads account!

Also, you can find John Green on his Twitter, Tumblr, GoodreadsFacebook, Instagram, YouTube (solo and the one he shares with his brother, vlogbrothers) or official website (and probably on a lot more social medias I don’t know about) and buy the book here. Make sure to follow him!

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4 thoughts on “Paper Towns by John Green – Book Review

  1. Rainbow imagine says:

    It must be a wonderful feeling to lose yourself in a book like that.
    It’s been a while since I read fiction. I am now reading some informational books about working with toddlers. A different cookie haha 😉
    But when a story is good and it draws me in, and it has beautiful settings, writing style and character development I am just one with the story. You really do wanna make me read more gal ! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andrea says:

      It’s an amazing feeling! And reading anything is great, regardless of the genre!
      However, your words make me so happy! One of the things I’m trying to achieve with this blog is making people realize they could always do with a lil extra reading! I have some book reviews you could take a look at, if you’re interested!
      Thanks a million for reading!
      Andrea x

      Like

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