Review: Paper Towns

When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.–From Goodreads

Let me start off by saying that I am a huge fan of everything John Green does. From his books to his vlogs, the man is amazing. Paper Towns was certainly no exception. Green has found the perfect balance between hilariously witty and heartrendingly moving. He creates teen characters who are realistic in all of their quirks, insecurities, and heightened emotions. In Paper Towns, Green also shows that our perceptions of others are always influenced by our own preconceptions. We often see people as we want them to be, not as they actually are. Quentin, for example, falls in love with the Margo he befriends as a child, but discovers that she is no longer the same person she was when they were kids. As Quentin chases Margo around the country, following clues from Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, he learns as much about himself as he does about Margo.


Nothing I could say about this book would make it sound better than John Green’s writing itself, so I will now inundate you with some of my favorite quotes!

Quotable Quotes from Paper Towns

“The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightening, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a small nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the Queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.”

“Look at all those cul-de-sacs, the streets that turn in on themselves all the houses that were built to fall apart. All those paper people in their paper houses burning the furniture to stay warm. All the paper kids drinking the beer some bum bought for them at the paper convenience store. Everyone demented with the mania of owning things. All the things paper-thin and paper-frail.”

“Yeah, I’m a big believer in random capitalization. The rules of capitalization are so unfair to the words in the middle”

“Maybe it’s more like you said before, all of us being cracked open. Like, each of us starts out as a watertight vessel. And these things happen— these people leave us, or don’t love us, or don’t get us, or we don’t get them, and we lose and fail and hurt one another. And the vessel cracks open in places. And I mean, yeah, once the vessel cracks open, the end becomes inevitable. Once it starts to rain inside the Osprey, it will never be remodeled. But there is all this time between when the cracks start to open up and we finally fall apart. And it’s only in that time that we can see one another, because we see out of ourselves through the cracks and into others through theirs. When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out.”

“It’s a penis,” Margo said, “in the same sense that Rhode Island is a state; it may have an illustrious history, but it sure isn’t big.”

“Did you know that for pretty much the entire history of the human species, the average life span was less than thirty years? You could count on ten years or so of real adulthood, right? There was no planning for retirement, There was no planning for a career. There was no planning. No time for planning. No time for a future. But then the life spans started getting longer, and people started having more and more future. And now life has become the future. Every moment of your life is lived for the future–you go to high school so you can go to college so you can get a good job so you can get a nice house so you can afford to send your kids to college so they can get a good job so they can get a nice house so they can afford to send their kids to college.”

“It is easy to forget how full the world is of people, full to bursting, and each of them imaginable and consistently misimagined.”

“‘Daddy’s gonna put you on a sailboat across the River Styx.’

‘Did you just use Greek mythology to talk trash?’ I asked.

Radar laughed. Ben started pummeling buttons, shouting, ‘Eat it, goblin! Eat it like Zeus ate Metis!'”

“I have never really thought of him as a person, either…. A guy whose strings were broken, who didn’t feel the root of his leaves of grass connected to the field, a guy who was cracked. Like me.”

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