Book #09

Paper Towns by John Green

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.

So I picked up a John Green novel with the expectation that I wouldn’t like it. I didn’t like it.

Paper Towns follows the journey of a high school boy, Quentin, who is love with the girl next door. When she goes missing, he becomes obsessed with finding her due to reasons of the heart, and also due to him being a romantically-intense sort of creep. 

The characters were incredibly stereotypical. Slightly geeky guy who is on a lower rung of the social ladder in school (which Green referred to as the ‘caste system’ which I found a touch distasteful), the incredible and mysterious girl next door who absolutely cannot be touched, her hot sexy arsehole  shagger of a boyfriend, her prissy girlfriends, and of course, the token black guy. I love this shit in 90s movies, but I need something more in my novels.

And the plot! Holy hell, it took an age to crawl through the pointless scenes and unnecessarily lyricised writing in order to actually get somewhere. There’s a road trip involved where each hour is given its own separate section, mostly involving people sleeping or needing to pee. STOP.

There was a lot of commentary and dialogue here which was screaming out to be interpreted as profound. I found it meandering, and difficult to grasp. I skipped a number of pages towards the end which were saturated in this type of pseudo-philosophical nonsense; it read like garbage.

Although I understand this is a YA novel for teenagers who are running around with a thousand emotions clashing with a million hormones within them, I also believe it’s patronising to make excuses for Green based on his target audience. YA readers are a lot more intelligent than many authors give them credit for, and no author should be writing down to them.

My humble opinion: a shit book’s a shit book no matter the audience. If you enjoyed this, then all power to ya.