SPOILER ALERT!
Paper Towns - John Green

I feel like I got roped in by actually liking The Fault in Our Stars when I thought I would not and this is what I got roped into: this book.

 

I am currently quite annoyed and spoilers are going to abound here, so heads up.

 

I hate Margo. Not like "Oh, she isn't a whole lot of fun and I wish the main character wasn't so weirdly into her" but in an Umbridge-level rage-inducing fury of disgust.

I debated giving The Fault in Our Stars a four (I am still debating this). I debated giving this a one but then I reminded myself that I liked some of these characters and remember the road trip? The road trip was super funny and made me laugh out loud! But then I remembered Margo and back down it went.

 

I should have been worried when at the beginning of the book when she disappears and her parents are all like "Well, she does this all the time just to be a huge pain in our collective asses and also she is 18 and kind of crazy, so we are going to assume she is doing okay and let her live her life now" and I immediately agreed with them that at some point the book and I were going to part ways.

 

"Because if it doesn't happen to you, it doesn't happen at all. Isn't that it, Margo? Isn't it?"

 

"Maybe I am the most horribly self-centered person in the history of the world."

 

You are. You absolutely are, Margo.

 

My major problem--my only problem, even--with this book is how central she is. The other characters are interesting, the writing is good, often hilarious and even verging on great, I am having fun on this weird road trip and tracking down the mystery of where she has gone and following all the "clues". But she is always on the edge, just dripping "super special snowflake" all over everything.

 

I was genuinely hoping she was dead and that the end of the story would be about teaching Q that he should appreciate the (good!) friends he has and not go crazy searching for someone whose head is stuck so far up her own ass that she is incapable of being a friend, let alone anything more. On some level, that is how it ended, admittedly, but I would have happier if, since we were forced into her company once again, he had not just forgiven her bullshit so easily.

 

Ben was moderately annoying at times, but didn't bother me too much. I like Lacey, whose words to Margo were never rude as far as I can tell, even when Margo repeated them like they were and who is willing to go on this adventure at a minute's notice and who proves herself a useful person in planning it. Q's obsession with Margo was annoying, but I appreciate that he managed to grow out of it to some extent, at least. He has better friends than he deserves.

 

Radar was awesome. I really liked him. He was clever and wise and willing to accept people as they are. I wish he was the protagonist, but that probably wouldn't have worked because he didn't need this whole adventure to learn the lessons Q did.

 

The idea that we create people in our heads instead of actually knowing the real people, the idea of paper people created out of our desire to understand someone without actually bothering to really understand them, was intriguing. I just wish there was a lot more payoff in the end than the real Margo, who didn't seem that much different than the Margo anyone but Q had imagined.