Saturday, November 8, 2008

PAPER TOWNS by John Green

John Green, author of LOOKING FOR ALASKA and AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES, has outdone himself. His latest YA offering PAPER TOWNS is fantastic!

The clever crafting of this novel is amazing. The search for Margo Roth Spiegelman takes readers on an incredible journey revealing that we may think we know a person, even ourselves, but no one truly sees through the many layers that make up who we are.

Quentin believes he has a few short weeks left of his senior year, and what follows will be a typical summer and then college. That is until Margo appears at his bedroom window one night and changes his world.

He has never been part of the popular crowd - those who orbit around Margo. As her childhood friend and neighbor, Quentin remembers a time when they were quite close, and frankly, he has spent many hours daydreaming that that closeness could develop into something on a more serious level. But he is a nerd who hangs out around the bandroom about as far away from the world of Margo as possible. When she comes asking for his help, he can hardly believe it.

The night with Margo is incredible. Not what one would expect - but well worth giving up a good night's sleep and having to drag himself to school the next day. After several days back at school, it becomes clear that Margo has disappeared, and Quentin may have been the last person to see her. Her family only seems annoyed with her disappearance since it is not the first time she has pulled this sort of stunt. Their reaction is to report her missing and then change the locks so whenever she decides to return from her latest adventure, she'll know they don't appreciate her inconsiderate absences.

Unlike everyone else, Quentin can't stop thinking that Margo has done more than just run away. He begins to believe she is dead. Puzzling clues reveal a number of possibilities, and with the help of a few friends, he begins to follow the clues. In his determination to find her, Quentin discovers Margo may not be who he always thought she was. He is also discovering some startling things about himself.

John Green combines Walt Whitman, Dylan and Guthrie, some fabulous pranks and spot-on humor with the delights and pains of high school romance into a clever and sensitive coming-of-age story. This book takes YA literature to a whole new level.

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