“If you don't imagine, nothing ever happens at all.”
I love most of John Green’s books, but Paper Towns was the first one I read, and has always stood out as my favourite. Green’s books are wonderful at capturing teenage sentiments realistically, and avoiding the trashy clichés too often found in the genre. Although I’m no longer a teenager myself, I still enjoy revisiting book from that time in my life, and find I still relate to many of the characters.
For those unfamiliar with the plot of Paper Towns, Q and Margot have been next door neighbours for years. One night, she climbs in his bedroom window and leads him on a madcap adventure through the streets of Florida. The next morning, she has vanished, and now Q and his friends have to follow the trail of clues she left behind. As a protagonist, Q is likeable and relatable, and I was rooting for him the whole way through, which is always important for me when reading a book - I’’m not going to enjoy it if I don’t like the main character. Margot is mysterious and mischievous, a whirlwind that turns his world upside down. I love the possibilities that she brings to the story; I grew up reading fantasy novels, so it’s great when there’s a bit of adventure and mystery in a novel set in the real world. There’s also a road trip featured, which makes me long for travel again myself.
Without giving away the ending, I think it’s excellent. Whatever you think it’s going to be, you’re probably wrong, and I love a book that avoids the cliché ending, and keeps me on my toes like that. I find Green’s books to be more realistic because of endings like this, and because he throws in a few harsh truths. In this case, people and places aren’t always as great as we think they are in our heads:
“What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.”
I also like that his characters avoid stereotypes too, and instead have unique little quirks, as most of us in the real world too. These details are pretty unforgettable too; this book will always make me think of the world’s largest collection of black Santas (and you’ll have to go read it if you want to know what that’s all about!).
The film adaptation of the novel is also coming out this year, which I’m a little anxious about. We’ve all seen good and bad adaptations before, but I really don’t want one of my favourite books to be ruined on screen! However, I liked the last John Green adaptation, The Fault in Our Stars, and the trailer looks good, so I’m staying optimistic!
Paper Towns has everything I look for in a novel - realistic characters, an interesting and exciting plot line, a unique writing style and a lack of clichés. But liking a book is more than just checking off these points on a list - my favourite books make me feel, I get excited or nervous about the fates of characters, I sympathise with them and root for them; I want to be a part of the story. This novel is about friendship and adventure and mystery and feeling like a teenager again. And that’s why I’ll always go back to read it again.
“As long as we don't die, this is gonna be one hell of a story.”
This 'Favourite Book' submission is courtesy of Charlotte, thank you!
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