Posted by S.E. Sinkhorn | Wednesday, December 8, 2010
I don't do many book reviews, but I enjoyed this one so much that I'm making an exception.
If you've been into YA lit at all in the past few years, you've probably heard of John Green. He wins lots of awards and is pretty much a badass at writing for teens. But if you haven't, go here. He's the one with the puff.
Anyway, he's been in my to-read pile forever, but I haven't had a lot of reading TIME this year, so I just recently got a chance to read Paper Towns (which won an Edgar Award, btw). I'm a big fan of mysteries, and I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this. I was surprised. In the best way.
Paper Towns is a story about a boy. And a girl. And another boy, and another boy, and another girl. And some other people, as well. The "mystery" is that the girl runs off and leaves a trail of breadcrumbs in her wake. The others have the time of their life finding her.
But this novel was about so much more than the mystery of finding Margo Roth Spiegelman. It was about finding yourself. More, it was about finding other people and realizing the ideas we have about a person inside our head are never quite reality. We idealize, we demonize, we get lost inside our own brain.
And it was freaking funny.
BUT ANYWAY. The mystery portion of this book was incredibly well-written. Little details, figuring it out... it all read as if it were probable. And the protagonist, while wily and smart, was totally believable. I believed a bunch of teenagers would do this. They were all very well fleshed out, with individual personalities and quirks. Often times I'll read characters that are quirky to the point of caricature, but these kids? They were real people.
My only real nitpick is Margo is kind of Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but I'm giving it a pass because I think that was the point. The protagonist actually realizes he's idealizing her in that way and... you have to read the book.
If you like mysteries, coming of age stories, or stories involving Black Santas and Great White Walls of Cow, this is a great read. Maybe Genius stamp of approval.