Paper Towns by John Green

“peeing is like a good book in that it is very, very hard to stop once you start”


“A girl showing up at her neighbor’s window taking him on an ingenious campaign of revenge, the disappearance of the girl, clues that stay behind, a mystery, a challenge, and a changing in lives.” After reading the back cover of Paper Towns, John Green’s third novel, my curiosity was aroused. ‘Paper towns’ involves friendship, the connection between human beings and life, misinterpretation and living for real, instead of living life on paper.


Paper Towns is divided in three parts, starting with Quentin and his obsessive love for Margo Roth Spiegelman, who take off on a nightly adventure to get some revenge. When Margo disappears the next day, leaving a breadcrumb trail of clues, Quentin decides to try to solve the mystery of her disappearance. This adventure makes him overcome his fears and with it changes his life. At the end of the book he finds her in a paper town called Agloe. She left home for good, because she was tired of pretending to be perfect and popular. In this abandoned paper town she can be herself.

“… People love the idea of a paper girl. And the worst thing is that I loved it, too. It’s kind of great, being an idea everybody likes. But I could never be the idea to myself. And Agloe is a place where a paper creation became real.” Paper towns by John Green page 293

After ‘Looking for Alaska’ and ‘An Abundance of Katherines’, John Green wrote Paper Towns, his third novel. Paper Towns debuted at number 5 on the New York Times bestseller list and was awarded the 2009 Edgar Award for best Young adult novel.

What I really enjoyed about the book was the fact that it consisted of three different parts. They all lead to the solution of the mystery and the answer to the question, what is life.

Margot’s last name,‘Spiegelman’, translates to the English, ‘Mirror man’. Each character in the book looks into Margot’s ‘mirror’ in their own way, thereby all seeing her differently.

The parts fit perfectly in the story. The first part, Broken strings, explains why Margo disappears. The second part, Leaves of Grass, give us clues to solve the mystery of her disappearance. The third part, The Vessel, reveals the truth about Margo and her life.

I was pretty impressed by John Green’s writing. I hadn’t read any of his books before, but I found his style of writing quite addictive to read. It is funny, but also contained philosophical phrases that I find inspiring. Beneath the main storyline is a great network of underlying thoughts, all in connection with each other. Like Leaves of grass, a root system in which they all are infinitely interconnected (as the poetry book Leaves of grass by Walt Withman describes in the second part of the book).

The book has been criticized for the end being disappointing. I agree with that a little. It’s too happy, it builds up to a climax, but there isn’t one. I think for a novel to be really good, it has to make the reader laugh, think and cry. Paper towns definitely made me laugh and think, but it didn’t make me cry. By letting one of the characters die, it would have made more impression on me. Now it’s just a good book, but not that book that I’ll still remember in 20 years.

PaperTowns02 A town of paper lookes quite nice, doesn’t it?

Paper Towns makes you think and inspires. It made me realize you have to live your life in the moment. The book could have been better, but it still was a joy to read.

Will there ever be a ‘Paper Towns’ movie? I hope so, because I think the story would make a wonderful film.


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