Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Crushing on the girl next door? It happens. Crushing on the girl next door who is NOTHING like the “girl next door”…that happened to Quentin. As kids they were best friends and they grew apart — Margo became popular and Quentin didn’t. Quentin continued to watch her from afar until she climbs into his window at the wee hours of the night and asks him to join her on the adventure of his lifetime to execute her masterful plan of revenge. After their epic night in which Quentin learns a little about this quirky and one of a kind neighbor of his, Margo vanishes and Quentin is left to piece together the crazy clues Margo left behind while he gets to know the real Margo that been a mystery to him since they were kids.

Paper Towns. Wow. This book has been on my bookshelf for a while but I just never got around to reading it. I’d read Let It Snow and Will Grayson, Will Grayson but had never fully immersed myself in a John Green novel. To say this book was fabulous is an understatement. To say it’s easily been put on my little shelf of “favorite books”…well that’s just the truth.

John Green’s Paper Towns was one of those books that I will undoubtedly read over and over again. It was smart, witty, quirky and beyond thought-provoking. There were so many pages I wanted to dog-ear or highlight or tattoo onto my freaking body. The prose was lovely, the characters were dynamic and the adventure was just downright fun yet had many soul-searching moments. This was the type of book that held immense truths that I couldn’t stop thinking about. It kind of gave me the warm and fuzzies thinking about things like accepting people for who they are, the dynamics of friendships and more!

The 3 things that really made love this book were:

1) The characterization — Every single character just really seemed to seem very dimensional and added a lot to the novel. I could relate to a lot of them or recognize these people as REAL people I’ve encountered. Margo was such an enigma and I loved how Quentin begin to see her for who she REALLY was rather than the picture he had painted of her and wanted her to be. Quentin was just a really great character to be in the head of — so introspective, observant and just very relatable. I loved watching him learn about himself as he learned about Margo and what might have happened to her. Quentin’s friends were so memorable and their roadtrip in the book was just such a great scene in the book.

2) The little details — The black Santas, that one passage of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (I have always loved Whitman!) that really drives a lot of the novel, etc. etc. I could go on.

3. The writing — John Green has a gift and I don’t really know how to explain his writing. It seems trite to say it’s AMAZING but he really does write in that way I love — accessible but packed with SO many truths and observations and SO many quoteable passages that just make me remember why I love reading so much. I haven’t read a book in a long time that made me think and reflect and peak into the innermost part of my being. AND I LOVE THAT. And the dialogue? A+ for sure.

If you haven’t read Paper Towns yet or given John Green a chance, I would recommend it. As I mentioned in my list of 10 books I recommend to non-YA readers, this one is definitely one I will recommend all around. I am going to be taking Looking For Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines off my bookshelf sooner rather than later and will also be picking up his newest book — The Fault In Our Stars — soon!

Two Quotes I Love:

“What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.”

“When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out.”

Review On A Post-It:
Check out John Green’s website, his AMAZINGLY entertaining Vlogbrothers channel or check out Paper Towns for yourself! Or check out my reasons why John Green should rule the world!
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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. Farrah Penn says:

    YES. I love everything about this review. John Green is truly made of awesome.

  2. andreamantis says:

    Such a beautiful book, right? This one, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and The Fault in Our Stars are my favorites of his, but I also love Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines. And YES, I love how not only does he have these complex, interesting characters and clever plots and eloquent phrases and dialogue, but he also makes you think about life, other people, and the world in a way that most books could only hope to convey. Great review! I'm a newish follower so I'm not used to your reviews, but I love the list and the post-it note! Such an innovative idea for reviews!

    By the way, I'm having a giveaway of two signed and Hanklerfished copies of The Fault in Our Stars on my blog! You should totally enter and tell your friends! 😉 The Overstuffed Bookcase Birthday Giveaway

  3. Margo Roth Spiegelman. HOLY CRAP.

    You know this book is just insane. phenomenal even. and it's books like this that make me glad that I'm not illiterate.

    ahhhh it's just so alluring like a sexy lover only better because this has words! (that sounded better in my head) and when I read this book I could not for the life of me form any coherent or articulate thoughts other than &JSTD£$*()e"£HR6234 BECAUSE OMGGGGGG REALLY? you throw all this philosophical stuff onto a girl who likes books about dudes with no shirts and it made my head explode from ALL THE AWESOME IT CONTAINED.

    also, margo is the weirdest most ineffectual character ever because she is only really real to us for like the first couple characters. then she is an enigma, just a mind replication of the person we believe her to be. we don't actually know anything about her that's substantial enough for us to form opinions and yet we still do! she's the ultimate unattainable girl. this fantastical being and we are dying to know more about her even though SHE DOESN'T WANT TO BE KNOWN. ahh I am babbling.

    awestruck, this is what the book made me.

  4. Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) says:

    I'm flailing and doing ballerina dances around my house right this second because you love this one so much. NOT A JOKE. Like, I haven't even settled down for my daily morning blog reading yet and I had to stop by and congratulate you for loving my favorite John Green.

    Another of my favorite quotes is the one about random capitalization. And the ending! Oh!!! I just loved it so much because it is so REAL. It is WHAT HAPPENS, ya know? Everything doesn't always turn out the way we think it will. I loved reading it as a person older than the target audience, because I think it gave me a different perspective on the entire book. Especially the ending. I just have TOO MANY thoughts on this one and I am OVER THE MOON that you loved it. This is one that I have recommended a bazillion times and have never had anyone say the didn't LOVE.


    “What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.” —> HELLO: THIS IS MY LIFE RIGHT NOW.


  5. I just read this book recently myself. It was my first John Green book and I adored it. I totally agree with you on the writing and the characterization. Beautiful, real and deep. Great review. We should read another JG book together soon!

  6. Kyle (A Reader's Pensieve) says:

    I flat out LOVED this book. It was my first John and Green, and holy crap, why did I wait so long?? I seriously adored everything about it and loved how real it was. His characters are the BEST.

  7. I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I love the post-its! They always manage to sum up your thoughts on the novel pretty well, though it's still a pleasure to read your entire review.


    The only John Green books I've read are Let It Snow and Looking for Alaska. But from what I've been hearing about The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns and Will Grayson, Will Grayson – well, I just want to read even more!

    This book sounds like it's one wonderful adventure to experience. And I love it when the characters are brought to life in a realistic and relatable way! Thank you for getting me extra excited to read this one 🙂

  8. bibliojunkies says:

    I have recently fallen in love Mr. Green's writing. I haven't read Paper Towns yet but I have read Looking For Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines and The Fault In Our Stars. He is incredible. There are so many things that I love about his writing but more than anything I love that he treats teens like the intelligent readers they are. His ideas and words are challenging and you can tell he completely trusts that a young adult can and will get it.


  9. Laura @ I'm Booking It says:

    I liked Looking For Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines, but I LOVED Paper Towns. Your post-it review does a great job of capturing why.

  10. Estelle @ Rather Be Reading says:

    This book kind of blew me away. And sort of like made my heart swell in all sorts of directions. I did not think it would leave that impression. In fact, I can't tell you just HOW long it sat in my library book pile. I didn't think I would like it.

    I agree with so many of your points. And the quotes you picked are so freaking spot on. I think Green did an amazing job of taking what could have turned out to be a really serious story and inserting so naturally these moments of comedy. It takes A LOT to make me laugh out loud, and Green already having me doing it on the third page or so.

    I'm going to stop talking now because I am going to review this as well, but thanks for an awesome overview of the story! (I think it's funny we've read all the same John Green books too haha)

  11. I don't know why I haven't read this one – I bought this (and three other John Green books) awhile back and have yet to pick it (them) up.

    I read TFiOS and LOVED every minute of it, and most people have said that Paper Towns is even better, so I look forward to it! (Plus? A road trip? YAY!)

    Thanks for the great review!
    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  12. I was going to say you need to read Looking For Alaska right away, but then I saw you haven't read An Abundance of Katherines so you totally need to do that first so you can be fully blown away by ALASKA. Great review as always!

  13. SO AWESOME. And John Green week was TOTES what I needed to get my ass in gear to read this. Seriously..I bought 3 of his books during a HUGE B&N sale and they were like 3 bucks..but I have never read them since then..that was like 2 years ago! SO THANK YOUUU.

  14. It's AMAZING! I totally love WG, WG! And I'm dying to buy The Fault in Our Stars! And thanks for the kind words about my review. I don't typically do lists but sometimes I need to in order to really focus my thoughts when a book is SO amazing. I've been doing the post-it note reviews since early last year and have found that people seem to find them helpful if they don't want to read the whole review if they hadn't read it yet and planned to OR if they don't have time to read it (because sometimes I write wickedly long reviews) haha.

  15. YAY! John Green truly is amazing. :]

    I vote for you reading The Fault in Our Stars next. Paper Towns used to be my favorite of his, but TFiOS blew it out of the water. SO. GOOD.


    It's SOOO AMAZING. SOOO. Like I want to read it again soon. I don't think I could absorb all of its awesomeness is one reading. YOUR COMMENT SAYS IT ALLL.

    And I agree about Margo. It was funny because I felt like I really related to her but then I realized IIII was identifying with who IIIII thought she was. I was doing the SAME thing. HOW I think I can relate to someone that we really don't get to truly KNOW is beyond me haha. But it's so funny how we DO that to people. We make them into who we want them to be. I think its because we like the control and to be able to put people into neat little boxes. AMAZING COMMENT AND ILY.

  17. HAHAH! I love the mental image of you flailing and doing ballerina dances.

    OMGOMGOMG whyyyy didn't I mention that passage about capitalization. I MEANT to include that when i talk about how it's the small things that really make this book too. LIKE THAT LITTLE QUIRK. And it's sooo true. I actually did dogear that page. OOOPS.

  18. "Beautiful, real and deep." YES.

    I'm so excited for us to read Looking For Alaska together!! <3

  19. I am feeling you on that one…WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG FOR ME TO PICK IT UP!? I need to trust people more and read things immediately when everyone as a whole says how mindblowing something is! Totally agree about his characters being the best. They are all SO memorable!

  20. Thanks Alexa! I rather love my Post-Its too. I started it last year when it dawned on me that I ALWAYS put a post it with a little note when I let ppl borrow my books. And I wanted to give ppl a chance to read a shorter piece of my thoughts on the blog..and it just clicked! YAY. I'm happy to hear you say its helpful!

    I hope you read Paper Towns soon! I'm going to start Looking For Alaska soon!!

  21. andreamantis says:

    Um, most awesome comment ever, Carla! I clicked on your name and then clicked on your web page and it brought up a Japanese-looking website. Are you that awesome that you have a Japanese site or did my phone do something funky? I'd love to check out your site if you have one – from your comment it seems like you'd be an awesome book blogger! My site is The Overstuffed Bookcase in case you're interested! But I'd love to see your blog if you have one!

  22. Yay! So glad you finally really immersed yourself in a John Green book! All of his writing is FANTASTIC. Paper Towns was my favorite but The Fault in Our Stars has replaced it. I just can't get over how amazing that book was so I hope you read it soon too! John Green just has a way of being able to write out your inner most thoughts and feelings and things you have a hard time expressing in a way that makes it understandable and beautiful and I wish I had his gift. Seriously he's so brilliant. 🙂

  23. 1. John Green really is amazing.
    2. You need to stop and read the rest of his books right away. If you enjoyed Paper Towns that much you are going to be dumbfounded by the amazingness that is The Fault in Our Stars.

  24. Timothy Moody says:

    I stumbled onto your site by accident but I have to say it was a happy end to an unknown path. I love your flamboyantly colorful writing style so open and apparently so you. I loved this line in your review: "There were so many pages I wanted to dog-ear or highlight or tattoo onto my freaking body." Nice. And thanks for adding a couple of quotes from the book at the end of your post. Great ones at that. I have signed up to follow your blog. Though I rarely read YA fiction I'm ready to try this one. I keep seeing lots of interest in John Green's books. Thanks!

  25. lisa [the nerd] says:

    This really is a great book to recommend to YA readers.

    As with all of JG's books, there is so much insight and relationship advice and wisdom weaved within his characters. I just love them so!

  26. Magan @ Rather Be Reading says:

    Estelle just finished this book (and oops, just saw she commented, too so you already know that). She raved about it. I cannot wait to get my hands on it, and as much as I love John's other work… I'm going to say I'm hoping for a physical copy so I can have my own collection of his work. Great review, Jamie! 🙂 xoxo

  27. Laura Ashlee says:

    Yay for John Green! He quickly became a favorite of mine a couple of years ago and this was the first book I read by him, as well. I've got The Fault in Our Stars waiting for me. I can't wait to get to it!

  28. Just started reading this, the papertown movie trailer actually inspired me to read this from my TBR list.
    And so far it is amazing, loving it.


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  2. Top Ten says:

    […] Games by Suzanne Collins (Loved Cinna and Rue. They both impacted Katniss in such a profound way). Paper Towns by John Green ( I loved Radar (and Ben too) and their obsessive Wiki love and Radar’s Santa collection) […]

  3. […] I just really love John Green. I read and reviewed Paper Towns a few weeks ago and I just didn’t think anything could top my love for that book…but […]

  4. […] Jamie says that Paper Towns is “witty, heartwarming, and quirky.” […]