Paper Towns

One night Margo Roth Spiegelman shows up at the window of her neighbor and childhood friend Quentin’s home and takes him on a journey that includes a lot of revenge and a little bit of philosophy. The next morning she disappears leaving behind clues that Quentin thinks are just for him. While she’s disappeared before this time there’s a palpable sense of dread because Quentin believes she may have been planning to harm herself so he, with the help of several friends, sets out to decipher the clues and find her.

Margo is fun. She’s smart and energetic. She plans out big crazy things and manages to get all kinds of people to participate. She goes on crazy adventures and is the Queen of the school. But she sees everything as fake, she’s disconnected  and doesn’t see any real future for herself except leaving.

I loved most of this book. It’s another one of those books that just generally found me at the right time. The characters are smart and likable even Margo whose not actually in it for very long but looms large. (And due to movie casting I totally pictured Cara Delevigne playing her the whole time.) For all that everyone knows of Margo or thinks they know her the more Quentin and friends learn the more they realize they really didn’t know her at all. Which parts are real? Which parts are a façade? It’s brought up in the book but I really wonder how lonely it is for the people who get caught in those facades they can’t break. They’re playing a part and find they can’t ever really drop the act because no one wants to see the truth. I think that happens more often than not in real life and I just find it incredibly sad.

Anyway, I didn’t love the ending as much as the rest of the book. Without giving away spoilers it just felt like a bit of a let down. I’d still recommend the book to everyone. I found a lot to think about in the way I view people and the kind of friend I am in it. It also made me want to read Leaves of Grass, parts of which play a huge part in unraveling what happened to Margo. I hope the movie version finds a way to keep the meaning and depth along with the fun teenage stuff.

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