Rereading Paper Towns by John Green

So the Paper Towns film comes out next month, and, as I did with The Fault in Our Stars when it came out last summer, I’ve been planning to reread Paper Towns before going to see it in theaters. My goal was to wait until we were a bit closer to the movie’s release, but that didn’t work out. I’ve been at a loss recently for what to read (I’m still having a book hangover from finishing the first two books in Samantha Shannon’s Bone Season series), and I just wanted something kind of fun and hopeful. Paper Towns fit the bill, so I decided to go ahead and read – movie be darned!

For those who don’t know, Paper Towns is about Q and his neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman. Q loves Margo from afar but hardly knows her at all…until the night she climbs through his bedroom window and takes him on a whirlwind adventure of revenge, pranks, and carpe diem. Q thinks things will be different between the two of them after their night of adventure, but he wakes up the next morning to discover that Margo has mysteriously disappeared, leaving a trail of clues meant for Q to find.

Paper Towns was my least favorite of John Green’s novels when I read them all several years ago. I didn’t have anything against it, I just liked the others so much that Paper Towns, as good as it was, didn’t quite measure up. But after seeing trailers for the film and slowly reacquainting myself with the plot and characters, I’ve been wondering if I didn’t give it a fair chance the first time around. So when I sat down with the book this time, I promised myself I’d slow down and pay more attention so as to better appreciate the story.
The whole “reading slowly” part didn’t really work out; I raced through the book in one afternoon, and I was surprised at how much I loved it. In fact, I think I actually like this one more than The Fault in Our Stars, which is not something you hear often. Rereading TFIOS, I didn’t connect with the book quite as I did the first time, and I felt like something was missing. Rereading Paper Towns couldn’t have been more different. I felt more connected to and invested in the characters and their arcs, and I was sad to finish the book and have to let them go. I found myself loving Margo Roth Spiegelman and really seeing her as a person throughout the novel, something that Q is unable to do throughout the story and that I don’t think I was able to do the first time I read the book. I felt like I understood her better this time, and as understanding Margo is part of the central focus of the novel, I think I understood the book better as well. One of my favorite quotes from the book is “What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person,” and I think that quote really sums up what the book is trying to say. I think Green did an excellent job of showing that, and perhaps this time around I did a better job of understanding what he was trying to say.

I really loved this book the second time through, and I’m so excited to see the film. I thought The Fault in Our Stars was a good movie, but I think Paper Towns is going to be much more to my liking (especially because I totally have a thing for Nat Wolff, who is playing Q). It looks like a really fun movie, the kind that you go see with a group of friends on a night when you all can feel young and invincible and full of potential, and whether or not that’s actually true ceases to matter. That’s what the book felt like to me, reading it again, and I can’t wait to have one of those nights with my friends for myself, inspired by such a lovely and fun book.

 

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ISBN: 9780147517654
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Published: Penguin Books - May 19th, 2015

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Published: Speak - September 22nd, 2009

From the #1 bestselling author of Turtles All the Way Down and The Fault in Our Stars

Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery
#1 New York Times Bestseller
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