Paper Towns by John Green

12 Dec


Green, John. Paper Towns. Dutton Books, 2008. 305 pages. ISBN 978-0-525-47818-8

Plot Summary:

Seventeen year old Quentin, aka Q, is one month away from graduating high school. He is a down-to-Earth guy who studies a lot and never breaks the rules. Some could even say he is boring. His neighbor Margo Roth Spiegelman, and she only goes by her full name, is Q’s childhood friend, but they grew out of it after finding a dead guy in the park when they were younger. Margo Roth Spiegelman was never the same after that, but Q never stopped liking her. Now, he only watches her from afar. Then one night she shows up out of the blue outside of his window in the middle of the night and asks him for a favor. She wants him to drive her around town on some mission she has. Q is a bit hesitant, because he doesn’t break rules, but he gives in after a little goading, she promises him that he will not have to do anything illegal. Margo Roth Spiegelman takes Q on the adventure of his life, in one night. Then the next morning she is missing and after Q finds a clue as to where she might be. He starts to follow the bread crumbs to her whereabouts and uncovers a mystery he wasn’t expecting.

Critical Evaluation:

This is a most interesting novel that requires you to do a lot of thinking while reading. It is a mystery, but it is also about developing friendships, growing up, and discovering who you are. Quentin, or Q as he is called, is enamored with his neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman, and has been since their childhood. However, Q is not very…cool. Margo Roth Spiegelman on the other hand, is outgoing, exciting, and popular. When Margo Roth Spiegelman takes Q for a joy ride all of a sudden, it changes who he is and he becomes more outgoing and willing to break the rules. However, when Margo Roth Spiegelman goes missing the next day and Q finds a trail of clues he starts to understand who Margo Roth Spiegelman is a whole lot more than he thought he did. As Q unravels the mystery of where Margo Roth Spiegelman went, he also starts to unravel the mystery behind who she really is. “Paper towns” is used as a metaphor to represent how Margo Roth Spiegelman feels, so small and insignificant, just a name on a piece of paper like a paper town. This is an enthralling novel that teens will greatly enjoy.

Reader’s Annotation:

Margo Roth Spiegelman is a mystery to uncover all her own. What could she mean when she says ‘paper towns’? And where did she go?


John Green is the New York Times bestselling author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and Paper Towns. He is also the coauthor, with David Levithan, of Will Grayson, Will Grayson. He won the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award, 2009 Edgar Award, and has been a finalist twice for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Green’s books have been published in more than a dozen languages.

In 2007, he and his brother, Hank, began to communicate primarily through videoblogs posted to youtube. The videos created a community of people called ‘nerdfighters’ who fight for intellectualism and to decrease the overall worldwide level of suck. They have long since continued textual communication but they still continue to upload three videos a week to their youtube channel, vlogbrothers. Their videos have been viewed more than 75 million times, and their channel is one of the most popular in the history of online videos. (


Mystery/Realistic Fiction

Curriculum Ties:


Booktalking Ideas:

Has Margo Roth Spiegelman actually committed suicide?

She takes him on the adventure of her life, then disappears.

Reading Level/Interest Level:


Challenge Issues:


Why I included this book:

Well, I wanted to use the audio book of John Green’s Will Grayson, Will Grayson, but I couldn’t get access to it, so I settled for this one. It was still good anyhow. I would recommend it to young adult readers.

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Posted by on December 12, 2011 in LIBR 265-10 Database Project/Blog


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