Paper Towns

by John Green

Read time: about 6 minutes

John Green has set the bar so high that the newer authors are having a hard time trying to climb to it. After watching “fault in our stars” it felt like the posters were sneering at me for not reading the book before. I was more upset because everyone in the book club seemed to be suggesting the book and as always I decided to be a rebel and read what I wanted to read at that time because I was too smart for a sad ending love story.

The entire book is a work of art and more so the female lead character- Margo Roth Spiegelman. She is all mysterious inside and paper outside. She loved mystery so much that she decided to become one and during the process helped an awkward teenager out of his shell.


The book cover is an illustration of a city. It is made out of paper which is the literal translation of the book. The story inside is much more intricate than the cover outside. The cover is an interesting composition, no offense, but it fails to describe the intensity of the book inside.


The enticing part of any novel is the lead character who someone can relate to, believe that it could be you. This is a usual approach taken by most authors while writing their novels. John Green, on the other hand, has, in this book, made the characters so heavenly, almost untouchable that the entire book of over 300 pages is not enough to get over Margo Roth Spiegelman. The book revolves around the legacy, the reputation, and realization of Margo Roth Spiegelman.

She is easily one of the most iconic female characters that have been woven in the recent times.

There are other characters in the book who are more or less the sidekicks, except Q. Q is the male lead, but again, Margo overpowers him any day. There are other side-kicks in the book who are also given the intricacy. Radar, for example, has a set of parents who are obsessed with black Santa. His house is filled with black Santa in all the forms. Ben seems to have a perpetual problem. Every girl in the school has refused to go out on a date with him because of the unreal Bloody-Ben story!


Quentin or Q is summoned by Margo to join her for a night filled with adventures where she is raining fire on her enemies. The enemies are her boyfriend and her friend who were cheating on her with each other. The same reason why she cannot ask her boyfriend to drive her around, and she doesn’t own a car. She remembers her friend from the past and banked on the history that they shared, to persuade him to drive her around where she is on a revenge mission. Q harbors feelings for the girl and literally jumps into the plan so he gets to know his lady love up close. After an eventful night, they bid goodbye to each other.

Q hopes to see the girl once again but seems to have been mistaken when he hears that she has fled once again. The surprise comes when he discovers little clues which were left by Margo to find her. Hence starts a journey which leads us to an unexpected end.

The story is as thrilling as it can get for any young-adult novel. The story is fast paced, so it keeps you on your feet. The end is a bit unexpected but the journey is what counts, isn’t it?


John green has a peculiar writing style, much of it comes from the characters that he works on. It is easy to understand with some of philosophical jibber-jabber here and there. John Green also has a habit of quoting authors and poets here and there, which makes the narration all the more interesting.

Good points

The story is out of the box. Readers are going to love all the characters. The message at the end of the book is appealing. There are certain books that are mentioned in the story so if you are looking for your next read then I suggest you follow the book right to the end.

Bad points

The Cover page could have been little more appealing. The illustrations don’t really hit the readers for whom it is meant. The end is very unexpected. After dozens of pages, the readers may get a bit disappointed with how the book ends.


The book is one of the best among the ones I have read recently for more than one reasons. It has got the intricacy in characters and narration which I look for in all the books I read.

Who do I recommend this to

I am already recommending this book to friends who love to read offbeat stories and brilliant characters.

Quotable Quotes

But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spielgelman.

Margo always loved mystries. And in everything that came afterward, I could never stop thinking that maybe she loved mysteries so much that she became one.

It was a well-known fact that I was opposed to prom. Absolutely nothing about any of it appealed to me-not slow dancing, not fast dancing, not the dresses and definietly not the rented tuxedo. Renting a tuxedo seemed to me an excellent way to contract some hideous disease from its previous tenant, and did not aspire to become the world’s only virgin with pubic lice.

That always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people would want to be around someone because they’re pretty. Its like picking your breakfast cereals based on color instead of taste.

I’m not saying that everything is survivable. Just that everything except the last thing is. It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.

If you don’t imagine, nothing ever happens at all.

I didn’t need you, you idiot. I picked you. And then you picked me back.

When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out.

As long as we don’t die, this is gonna be one hell of a story.

As much as life can suck, it always beats the alternative.

I’m starting to realize that people lack good mirrors. It’s so hard for anyone to show us how we look, & so hard for us to show anyone how we feel.

Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH