“Take a Peek” book reviews are short and (possibly) sweet, keeping the commentary brief and providing a little peek at what the book’s about and what I thought.
Who is the real Margo?
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew…
Oh, where to start? This was most decidedly a middle-of-the-road, “meh” sort of read for me. On the plus side, John Green is an indisputed talent when it comes to getting inside teen brains and portraying the shifting loyalties and tensions of teen friendships. On the negative side, I have very little tolerance for this type of tale, starring an every-boy main character — decent guy, not too remarkable, not part of the in-crowd — who is drawn to the oh-so-special wild girl, the one who can’t be pinned down, who acts out in crazy ways that are supposed to be a sign of just how special her specialness is.
I enjoyed the scenes of Quentin embarking on a crazy road trip with his best friends — a wild 24-hour drive up the coast on the trail of Margo’s confusing clues, with all sorts of escapades, close calls, and silly/manic rest stop shopping sprees. But… all this is in search of the elusive Margo, who, quite frankly, doesn’t seem to want to be found. And if she did want to be found, she made it next to impossible. I found it pretty hard to believe that the gang managed to decipher the obscure patterns that form a sort of roadmap to her — and further, I had a hard time seeing her all-night adventure with Quentin as something that he’d actually enjoy or go along with.
I loved The Fault in Our Stars and Will Grayson, Will Grayson — but Paper Towns had about the same effect on me as Looking For Alaska. Clearly, books about boy-next-door types falling under the spell of the elusive, magical, tormented, magnetic (etc, etc) wonder girl just don’t work for me.
Note: I picked up the e-book of Paper Towns a couple of years ago, and finally read it this month in preparation for a book group discussion. Who knows? Perhaps the amazing folks in my group will convince me that I missed something!
Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Publication date: 2009
Length: 305 pages
Genre: Young adult