Paper Towns Review and Summary
This novel is about a troubled young girl named Margo. She and her neighborhood friend, Quentin aka Q, used to be best friends and hung around all the time. One day they go to a park and discover the dead body of a man who had committed suicide. The story then shifts to the present time, where Margo and Q are no longer close and are about to graduate from high school.
On a particular night, Margo visits Q, dressed up as a ninja and asks him to help her in taking revenge from the people who have wronged her throughout her life. Q agrees, and both of them visit Margo’s ex-boyfriend Jase first. Jase and Becca are found together in bed. Q takes a picture of them and informs Becca’s parents of her daughter’s wrong doings. They go to Jase’s house, then leave a souvenir for him just like every other person they visit. The souvenir is dead catfish and a blue ‘M’ graffiti from the side.
Lacy, who used to be a friend of Margo, is also, visited. Q wants to exact vengeance on a school bully named, Chuck. They break into his house and quietly cause all sorts of mayhem. On their way back home, both decide to stop by the SeaWorld but are disappointed as there are no animals on show. The next morning Q wonders and waits for Margo but she is a no show. For three days they wait until finally, Margo’s parents, who are used to her running away, file a complaint.
Q, on the other hand, is busy deciphering the clues left behind by Margo because he believes that she wants to commit suicide. Q’s friends help him in the search, and they have to give up on their graduation ceremony in order to locate Margo. She is finally found in a small town named Agole. However, once they find her, Margo lashes out as she did not want to be found. At first Q gets angry at her for wasting his time, but then reconciles with her when she explains to him that she is imperfect just like everyone else. By the end of the story, it is hinted that Q wants to stay with her, but has to return home with his friends.
‘Paper Towns’ was received very positively by the critics. Publishers Weekly notes that they book offers a host of new, self-absorbed characters like Margo, which makes it a ‘pleasing’ read for the teenagers. A School Library Journal review states that the characters like Q are difficult to understand yet are the ones that the teens can easily relate to. The reviewer also believes that the book is meticulously written and says that even though characters such Margo appear for a very short term in the book, they do lead a resounding impact.
However, much like his other book (Looking For Alaska), Mr. Green faced some criticism when ‘Paper Town’ was removed from middle school reading list because of the profane sexual content. Later, the charges were found to be misplaced, and the book was eventually reinstated to the list.
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