Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns
by John Green

From the author of Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines, this book is one of the best books that I have read all year. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advance copy (which I passed onto another lucky librarian), so look for this title to come out on October 16th. John Green has always written intelligent, funny, and heart-wrenching tales. He knows how to tell a story and create truly believable characters. Even though his books are all vastly different, they always have two things in common--it's a coming of age book (i.e. Catcher in the Rye) and it's always, always about a girl.

Quentin is a senior in high school--just weeks away from graduation. He has always played it safe and followed the rules. He gets good grades, is going to a great college, and like most people is living with the future in mind. But there's one thing in his life that isn't safe, his next door neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman. She's wild and unpredictable and lives in the present. She's everything Q's not and he's been content to love her from afar since childhood.

But one night changes all that, when she sneaks into Q's room and begs him to join her on her campaign of revenge. Suddenly, Q finds himself in crazy, unpredictable situations and even has the chance to love the girl of his dreams. He assumes after all they went thru that things couldn't possibly be the same. But by the next morning, Margo is gone and left nothing but a trail of clues behind. Clues that are meant especially for Q.

Green follows Q and his friends as he tries to follow the bread crumbs and find the girl he loves. But in the process, he realizes that he didn't ever know the real Margo Roth Spiegelman. The closer he gets to finding her, the more he learns about who she really is. This poignant story is heart-breaking and endearing. Green creates teens who are intelligent, diverse, and self-reflecting. There is no fluff here.

Though his language can be crude and vulgar (think teenage guys), he doesn't wimp out in this book or take the easy way out. He incorporates poetry, music, and books to reveal more about Q and Margo's true identities. This is a smart read (which is bound to appeal to both girls and guys) that will draw you in and stay with you long after you put it down.

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