Thursday 9 August 2012

Thursday Thoughts: Book Review of Paper Towns by John Green

"At least I carpe’d that one diem."

Back when they were nine, Q and his neighbour Margo Roth Spiegelman found a dead body. But by the time they reach their last term at high school, they’ve grown apart. Until the night Margo shows up at Q’s window, takes him on a wild ride around town to get revenge on their enemies, then breaks into SeaWorld. Could this be the rebirth of a beautiful friendship?

It would seem not – because next morning, Margo is gone. After a few days, Q’s left to face the truth – she’s not coming back. And then he finds a clue to her whereabouts – can he track her down, or is he becoming obsessed?

I loved Green’s Looking For Alaska so much that I couldn’t quite bring myself to review it, so terrified was I of spoiling something – but this is better. Q is a fantastic main character, the enigmatic Margo is wonderful, and the supporting cast are really strongly written. As well as that, though, Green captures the atmosphere of the crazy last few weeks of high-school, with an almost-nostalgia setting in as students see each other for the last few times, perfectly. Then, of course, there’s his writing style. I sometimes jot down lines from a book I’m particularly impressed by in a small notepad I keep in my pocket. When reading this one, I’d have needed about six pads (and a bigger pocket.) For example, Radar’s speech to Q after Q whines about Ben is stunning – it’s brilliant dialogue precisely because it feels so real, perfectly capturing the frustration Radar feels but also reminding Q why the group of them are friends.

Virtually every page contains at least one fabulous quote, and I’m struggling to think of any other author who can shift the mood of a book from melancholy to hilarious (or vice versa) so quickly without missing a beat. Oh, and to cap it all, it has one of the most perfects endings I’ve ever read.

Absolutely massive recommendation, definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year.

"Maybe by imagining these futures we can make them real, and maybe not, but either way we must imagine them."

1 comment:

  1. I'm such a huge fan of JOhn Green's so it's lovely to see another positive review of this one floating around :) (Do you watch his and Hank's videos?) I know just what you mean about the dialogue and also the shift in tone - this is making me want to reread!