For my birthday, one of my good friends gave me Paper Towns by John Green. First of all, I LOVE John Green. He has such a smart way of writing, with perfectly timed wit and enough emotion to make the characters real, but not a sob story.
I've been meaning to read this book by him, as I just finished The Fault in Our Stars, and was looking for another of his books to scarf down again (I read Stars in literally one day. I did not do anything else that day. Only read. Also, I HIGHLY recommend that book. HIGHLY).
Paper towns is about a high school senior Quentin Jacobsen, who falls madly for his quirky and adventurous neighbor Margo Roth Spieglman. Margo has an existential point of view, constantly questioning what is valuable and important and what is 'paper'. To her, their city of Orlando is just a 'paper town' full of two dimensional people who go about life without really living.
Margo and Quentin were good friends throughout elementary school, drifting apart in high school. One night, Margo sneaks into Quentin's room dressed as a ninja and takes him on a whirlwind all-night adventure, with highlights ranging from breaking into Sea World to throwing dead catfish through her enemy's window.
When Margo goes missing, Quentin enlists his friends Ben (or, Bloody Ben... hilarious back story there) and Radar (also good backstory) to find her via clues she left for her discovery. On his journey to find her in his minivan with his closest friends, Quentin learns a lot about himself and his values. He also learns that timing is everything (if you have read it, you'll know what I mean... ;) )
Paper Towns is quirky, hilarious, but also thought provoking. I feel like society really can be like paper - two dimensional, and easy to pass judgments on.
This novel is probably not for one who's looking for a quick read - Paper Towns is rather long, but for someone like me, it was quick-paced and an excellent read. I had a friend say she trudged through it, and was dissatisfied with the ending. While the last chapter may not hold all that the reader is looking for, this is typical John Green - bittersweet is his forte!
I really enjoyed how deeply this book discusses existential questions, and I found that I related to the anxiety-prone Quentin a lot. Overall, the characters are very dimensional and diverse, and I truly enjoyed this read. I definitely recommend it, if you want to put in the time :)