Paper Towns (audiobook)
by John Green
AR Level 5.4, 13 points
*Although, I do not recommend students read this, as it is juvenile fiction and has many questionable situations and topics for children.
Have I told you I love John Green? I first read his biggest book, The Fault in Our Stars, because it was the required summer reading at my husband’s high school. I like to read the books they choose, because they’re usually pretty relevant, and there is often a movie that comes out. (Think Maus and Hunger Games.) I’m waiting impatiently for him to tell me what their next book is. Anyway, I love John Green. He writes the way people think… like a train of thought. He writes characters that are relatable. People you might know, or went to your high school and never noticed. But mostly, I think I love the way he writes things you can make all kinds of connections to, and then lets you decide their significance. My goodness, and his research… he must do crazy research to make his stories so believable. Who knew there was such thing as a paper town, or that flowers floated in the air in Amsterdam in the particular way he described them? Anyway, if you’re a mature reader, you should check him out. This was the second book of his I’ve read, and it’s 2 for 2 so far with me.
So Paper Towns. It’s about a boy named Q and Margo Roth Spiegelman, the girl next door (literally). She is popular and idealized and idolized, while he is just a senior boy who hangs out in the band room, but isn’t actually in band. Q has his circle of friends and big plans for his future, while Margo is a little unstable. She takes him on an adventure one night, and after that, he falls in love with the person he thinks she is. As the story progresses, however, he learns more about who she really is, and he learns more about himself, as well. That’s a pretty lame summary of the book, but I’m terrible at summarizing without giving away too much. Think John Green and what I love about a book: powerful characters, makes me laugh, underdoggish.
What I liked about this book: Listening to an audiobook has a whole different feel than physically holding it. I listened while I ran each evening, and I have to say, it actually motivated me to run. I think I actually exercised 6 nights in a row, just to continue listening. It was a mystery that had to be solved. Where was Margo? And why was she there? And what was she trying to prove? And why was Q willing to risk everything to find her? And seriously, why didn’t Q have a girlfriend already? He sounded like a guy I’d be friends with in highschool. (Oh, that’s probably why he didn’t have a girlfriend- I remember one particular person who I hung out with in highschool. Great person, but on a different level.) Anyway, it was a puzzle, and I wanted to hear it get solved.
What I didn’t like about this book: There was a detailed suicide victim in the first chapter. I don’t do well with suicide. And at one point (or a few points), Q thought Margo might have been dead, as well. I can’t deal with that.
So next, I’ve heard Looking for Alaska is good. That may be my next audiobook. I’d rather not buy it if it’s not appropriate for my students. John Green will just have to remain my workout buddy.
Book 5 of 52