Printz Medalist John Green returns with the trademark brilliant wit and heart-stopping emotional honesty that have inspired a new generation of readers.
Why I liked it: The first part of the book is awesome. Margo finds out that one of her boyfriend is cheating on her with one of her best friends so she recruits Quentin, her next door neighbor and childhood friend to help her exact her revenge. The dead fish, spray paint, and Vaseline are all thought out and executed perfectly.
But then Margo disappears, leaving a series of clues for Quentin to find her, only they might not be clues and she doesn't seem to want to be found. There's even the possibility that the clues will lead Quentin to her dead body. While Margo's parents are painted as the "bad guys" for saying enough with her shenanigans and changing their locks, for me Margo is the unattractive character. She gives no thought to her family or friends' feelings when she disappears right before high school graduation. She is selfish and only the detective investigating her disappearance seems to see that.
Like The Abundance of Katherines, also by John Green, this novel depicts wonderful boy friendships. Quentin's two best buds, Ben and Radar, are fabulously nerdy but hilarious and endlessly supportive of Quentin's quest to find Margo, including a highly unrealistic road trip the night of their senior graduation.
Classroom application: It's worth adding to your middle or high school classroom library; your girls, hopeless romantics, and nerdy boys will like it.
The revenge plot at the beginning of the novel would make an interesting writing exercise. Students could choose another character, one from another novel or one of their own creation, and plan out who that character would want to take revenge upon and how they would do it.
If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Paper Towns for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.
For more reading suggestions for students and teachers:
Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.