This is the first novel by John Green that I've read (I know, I'm a little behind the trend but oh well) and I am definitely planning on reading some more of his work.
I was initially attracted to the beautiful cover art of this novel. I'm a sucker for a good cover and this one really caught my eye. Plus, I fancied an indulgent Young Adult novel, something that would suck me in and keep me absorbed. This was exactly what I wanted.
Quentin "Q" Jacobsen is mere weeks away from graduating High School. He's got a place at a decent College lined up and his life seems to be on-track, well as much as it can be when you're eighteen years old and trying desperately to avoid the horrors of your High School Prom. And then one night, the mysterious and beautiful Margo Roth Spiegelman, the next door neighbour he's loved since he was a child, waltzes in through his bedroom window and whisks him off on a tour of the neighbourhood to complete a series of pranks she has lined up for her cheating boyfriend and his entourage.
And then, just like that, Margo is gone. She doesn't turn up for school the next day or the day after that. There is no note, no phone call, no explanation whatsoever. Margo has simply vanished, leaving a trail of mystery behind her. Knowing that on previous escapes from her suburban life, Margo has left clues as to her whereabouts (the letters M, S, P, and I left uneaten in a bowl of Alphabet Soup), Q and his friends begin a search of Margo's life for any possible clues.
But when it comes down to it, did Margo really want to be found? Did she really expect Q to find her? And just who is Margo anyway? As he creeps around her life, following the paper trail that Margo has left for him, Q begins to doubt that he ever knew the real Margo, the Margo she is inside her heart. And as he gets closer to finding her, he must reconcile the two version of Margo Roth Spiegelman and what they mean to him.
This was a beautiful, deep read. Once again, and I know it's a theme with the Young Adult titles I'm reading lately, I really wish this novel had been around when I was a teenager myself. The characters are exquisite, especially Margo, who is secretly the girl I wanted to be at eighteen and failed. And the idea of paper towns is cleverly worked into the plot and imbued with such subtle meaning (I don't want to go into detail on what paper towns are because it's a crucial plot point and I hate spoilers!). I adored this book and want to re-read it, want to see if there are any little details I missed, or cleverly inserted foreshadowing that would be identified only on a second read.
If you like a cute little mystery and 3D characters that will stay in your mind, then check this out. You won't be disappointed.