Paper Towns, John Green, Speak
My first review from NYC! I bought this book at Book Culture, one of many bookstores in and around the Columbia campus, with the hopes that I would have time to read it in between our crazy-packed schedule of amazing speakers at CPC. Both fortunately and unfortunately, my cousin, with whom I was supposed to hang out yesterday, got sick and had to cancel our plans (hence the unfortunately part – being sick is no fun!), but it did give me a free day to read, which I spent on Paper Towns. Paper Towns is one of those books that I bought because of the author – I’d read and loved TFIOS and Looking for Alaska, and Paper Towns was just the next on my list, but I didn’t actually really know what it was about. Which turns out to have been a lovely thing. Because while Paper Towns was not really at all what I was semi-expecting it to be, it was absolutely wonderful. Occasionally trying a little too hard to be profound, and somewhat dating itself with the instant messaging and some of the other technology, Paper Towns still managed to be one of those books that resonates with the reader long after the cover is closed. I especially found myself ruminating on liking the idea of somebody quite a bit more than the actual person for the rest of the night after I read it, and I’m not quite sure I’ve really come to a conclusion of how I felt about it.
As usual, John Green flawlessly illustrates the teenage mind and interpersonal interactions, navigating the teenage friendship in such a way as to leave the distinct feeling that he’d been listening in on my high school thoughts and conversations about being mad at a friend and having to still love them for the way they are, or ultimately deciding that they weren’t ever much of a friend in the first place. I’ve always said that you couldn’t pay me enough money to go back to high school (I was always much more of a Quentin than a Lacey or Margo – free from ridicule and friends with many of the elite, but never exactly cool myself), but, and maybe I’m reaching for some non-existent nostalgia here, Paper Towns allowed me to retroactively appreciate my high school friendship successes and failures for what they were – stepping stones that brought me to the person I am today, for better or worse. The characters are really well thought out in my opinion – they’re all a little annoying and selfish in one way or another, but still utterly likable and realistic in their developments and relationships. All in all – I’d definitely recommend it.