Paper Towns by John Green

downloadQuentin is just a shy boy in love with an adventurous girl in the state of Florida. His crush is the girl next door, Margo. Margo is your typical queen bee of the high school and gives no attention to Quentin until one random night. Margo comes to his window and leads him to help her complete certain “tasks” that ultimately changes his life, but Margo disappears the very next night. As the story unfold, Quentin realizes that this girl he drooled over for so many years may not even be who he thought she was. It seems she is the mystery-not her disappearance. Quentin sets out on a journey with his friends to answer these questions: Why did she leave? Where did she go? What do all of these clues mean? Who is Margo, really?

I began this book randomly when I found it on goodreads and decided it may be interesting. I leaped into the story with high hopes, but almost put it down due to vulgar language it sometimes uses. I am glad I did not. At first glance, this book is just about a silly boy who is in love with a silly girl, but it goes much deeper than that.

“You can see how fake it all is. It’s not even hard enough to be made out of plastic. It’s a paper town. I mean, look at it, Q: look at all those culs-de-sac, those streets that turn in on themselves, all the houses that were built to fall apart. All those paper people living in their paper houses, burning the future to stay warm. All the paper kids drinking beer some bum bought for them at the paper convenience store. Everyone demented with the mania of owning things. All the things paper-thin and paper-frail. And all the people, too. I’ve lived here for eighteen years and I have never once in my life come across anyone who cares about anything that matters.”

—->This quote describes Margo’s disgust with the town and the people, but more than that it describes exactly how some of us are perceived or how we perceive others. “Paper”… Paper because we have stopped caring. Paper because we can easily write people off like their checks in our bank account. Paper because nothing holds any value to us. We can be incredibly careless and self-absorbed. Like we are two dimensional beings that only care about ourselves and the valuables we have on display, but I wonder how quickly some of us would fall apart if suddenly our perfect paper world was destroyed. How would you hold up? What has value to you?

“I’m starting to realize that people lack good mirrors. It’s so hard for anyone to show us how we look, & so hard for us to show anyone how we feel.”  

—–> I fell in love with these words. They are not complex or hide some underlying meaning. They are just honest. On any given day, people everywhere are looking at themselves and are completely blind. They cannot understand what the rest of the world sees. It is as if someone gave them a new set of eyes that they cannot tear away from. We look at who we are and wonder “Am I good enough? Pretty enough? Smart enough? Social enough?” How can we be more? How can we do more? We are always searching for ways to better ourselves and constantly comparing our flaws to other peoples’ “perfections”, but we do not see ourselves from the world’s point of view. How many times have you looked over to the person beside you and thought, “I wished I had their smile. I wished I was as smart as them. Their life seems wonderful”, but ironically, that person is having the same thoughts about you. It is because we do not allow people to just be themselves. We put them on a pedestal. We do not give others credit for being human and we do not allow ourselves to just be us.

More than anything I love the character Margo and her will to leave. Overall, I enjoyed that this book because it kept me on my toes, kept me laughing, and kept me in deep thought about my own life and how we perceive others.


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