Book – Paper Towns
Author – John Green
Year – 2008
Pages – 305
Genre – Young Adult
John Green is probably most famous as the author of The Fault In Our Stars, a book that seemed to be ubiquitous a few years back at school. I first knew him however as the host of the YouTube show Mental Floss where he could be seen reeling out fact after fact about a particular topic. It took me a surprisingly long time to link these together though to realise they are the same person. I really felt at the time that I should have read The Fault in Our Stars (and probably still should do), but it is Paper Towns that I owned a copy of, and so it was Paper Towns that I read.
The book follows Quentin who is a bit of a nobody, but has long harboured a love for his next door neighbour, the wild and unusual Margo Roth Spiegelman. One night, she arrives at his house and takes him out on a crazy adventure to get back at all those who have wronged her and then the following morning, has disappeared.
Within a couple of chapters of the book, I had a pretty definite idea of where this was going. The beats seemed so staged, and so many of the situations just perfectly weighted to make the story progress just so, that I even rolled my eyes once or twice. Predictability is dull, and can ruin a book.
But then as I continued to read, I realised that it just didn’t matter so much. Being aware of where everything was going to go was fine, so long as the ride to get there was enjoyable, and it really sucked me in. I found myself rooting for the characters, and then when things I was expecting to happen didn’t, it made it all the more satisfying.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this is likely to be considered important literature in the future, but I did find it charming, funny and worth a look at, especially if you are a teenager as the target audience of the book surely are.