TITLE = PAPER TOWNS
AUTHOR =JOHN GREEN
GENRE =MYSTERY, COMING OF AGE, IDENTITY
INTEREST LEVEL = YRS 10 – 12
How well do we know our friends? Can we ever truly get inside another person? These are the questions that John Green explores in his third novel, Paper Towns. This novel recently won the Edgar Award for Young Adult fiction and deservedly so. On one level, the novel is an intriguing mystery: has Margo Roth Spielgelman left Orlando? And if so, where has she gone? As her neighbour, and ardent admirer, Quentin Jacobsen soon learns, if he is to find Margo, he needs to not only follow the clues she has left but also learn more about Margo. He soon discovers that “his” Margo is really a fiction of his imagination and that there are other versions of Margo (seen through the eyes of other people in her life – her friends, her sister, her parents). As he reads one of Margo’s clues – a highlighted copy of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” – Q realises there is a deeper mystery in life – how do we see each other? Can we ever understand how others see us and can we ever truly understand or “be” another person, as Whitman claims. As in his other young adult novels, Green explores the teen experience with great depth and insight, providing a thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining reading experience.
There are similaritiesw in some of the characters in this novel and Green’s earlier work “Looking for Alaska” (both male narrators are nerdy and attracted by the courage and adventurousness of their female protagonists) – but it is not a repetitive experience when reading Green’s third novel, rather it is as if he has shone a new spotlight on these characters and we therefore look at characters and their lives with new lenses.
To heighten you experience of the novel, check out the omnictionary entry about Margo … in fact, why not check out the omnidictionary site in all its awesomeness!
And if you want to read what other teens think about this book check out this review.