John Green’s Paper Towns – Edgar! (2009)

townsSo I really do not have enough time to blog about all the books I read recently – clock is ticking, Edgar. Edgar. Edgar.  I do not want to run out of time, as I did last year, much to my horror and everlasting shame.  On the other hand, there are some books out there that simply must be shared.  And John Green’s Paper Towns is one of them.  Plus, it did win an Edgar, back in 2009, so I think it counts.  I may be late to the party, but I get there eventually.

My excuse for missing it the first time around: It’s Young Adult. But darn it, good is good.  And I sniffled my way through The Fault in Our Stars, also written by Green.  In fact, I thought I had reviewed it, but a quick search shows, nope.  But the other Literary Lunchbox blog – the one on blogspot that focuses on children’s literature, did.  So enjoy her review of the book here!

Paper Towns is an earlier book (2008), and while it doesn’t have the ripping-your-heart-out factor of Stars, it has many of the same positive attributes, including smart, thoughtful teen characters who are not too-good-to-be-true.  And here’s the mystery:  where is Quentin’s dream girl, Margo Roth Spiegelman?  And is she alive?

Now for the set-up:  High school senior Q has loved the girl next door, Margo, since childhood.  He finds her beautiful, smart, and generally perfect in every way.  But Margo doesn’t seem to know Q’s alive… until she climbs through his bedroom window one night to take him on an amazing adventure of retribution (removing one eyebrow from the cheating boyfriend) and dream fulfillment (the zoo at night).  When the night is over, Q is even more besotted and after a grabbing an hour of sack time, he heads to school dreaming of what his life will be like, now that Margo Roth Spiegelman is in it.  

Only she’s not.  She’s taken off, for who knows where?  But she left a clue for Q, scotch taped to the roller blind over her bedroom window and then a bunch of other clues, one of which hinges on what the word “paper town” really means.  Spoiler: He follows the clues, and with the help of his friends, he finds her.

The book’s got a wonderful voice, a fresh perspective on teens, and a meaningful resolution; a “life lesson” that’s touching without being cheesy.  Paper Towns has a lot of layers, and I can see young readers especially wanting to delve and dissect.  Charmingly, Green makes that easy.  His website includes “Questions about Paper Towns,” in which he answers reader questions.

Movie in the works?  Yes, please.  According to Green, he wrote the screenplay for a movie, which the studio didn’t like.  But IMDB tells me that there is a movie scheduled for release this year!

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