Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Paper Towns - John Green

Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Format: Paperback

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...

I read Paper Towns during Bout of Books 18.  I was so, so excited to read it - and it started out promising.  But by the end of the book, I found myself filled with loathing for this book.  That's right - loathing.  Not just dislike, but actual sheer loathing.

The book starts with Margo, a main character who is not actually part of the book for a majority, coming into Quentin's window and taking him on an all night adventure whereby she put fishes in peoples houses and cars, breaks into SeaWorld, and basically raises hell all over Orlando.  After the night is done, Margo takes off, leaving Q and her friends wondering where she is.  She leaves clues that Q believes are for him, but we come to discover, he's wrong.

After Margo leaves, Q makes it his mission to find her.  After all, why would she come take him on this all night adventure, then take off and leave clues if she didn't want him to find her, right?????!?!?!!!  So, along with his friends and their new girlfriends, they visit all these pseudovisions (a subdivision that never actually got built) that Margo could be at - and come up dead every time.  Then they revisit one pseudovision where they rediscover these clues - a map, crumpled up food wrappers, etc - that lead them to a "paper town" in New York.  (A paper town is a town that exists only on a map.  Map makers create paper towns so that they will know if their map has been copied by other people.)

When they discover this information, Q and his friends Radar and Ben, along with Margo's friend Lacey, skip their high school graduation and drive 21 hours to the made up town in New York where they find not only one tiny falling down building, but also Margo.  When she discovers that these people have come all this way looking for her, she freaks out, saying that the clues weren't actually clues and that she never wanted anyone to find her.

The plot of the story is pretty basic.  There's not a whole lot of development, and the ideas just fall flat.  There is tension in the book, but it feels forced.

The characters are all flat as well - and there is not a lot of change or growth in them, especially in  Margo.  She starts off as this selfish kid who only thinks about herself, and she's the exact same at the end.  She doesn't care about anyone but herself at all.  I understand that teenagers are at an age where they are bound to be self-centered just because of their age, but even teenagers are capable of growth and change and have the ability to think about people other than themselves.

The be all, end all thing that really made me hate this book, though, was the fact that the author felt comfortable using the R word throughout the book. Not even just once, but three separate times.  I think this is a deplorable thing to do, especially considering that the author is using is to describe people who don't have developmental disabilities.  I don't think that word needs to be described to use any people, but when it's used to describe people who don't have disabilities, the person using the word is basically saying that they think there is something wrong with people who have disabilities.  They are saying that if you make a mistake or slip up, you deserve to be called that word, and that you are no better than people who have disabilities.  It implies that people with disabilities are less than other people, and that's not okay.

I can't, in good faith, give this book more than 1 star.  I would not recommend it. You can find better books to read.

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