Paper Towns by John Green

77%

60 Critic Reviews

Lighter than Looking for Alaska (2005), deeper than An Abundance of Katherines (2006) and reminiscent of Gregory Galloway’s As Simple as Snow (2005)—a winning combination.
-Kirkus

Synopsis


Winner of the Edgar Award
The #1 New York Times Bestseller
Publishers Weekly and USA Today Bestseller

Millions of Copies Sold

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificent Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. When their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Margo has disappeared. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Embarking on an exhilarating adventure to find her, the closer Q gets, the less he sees the girl he thought he knew.

#1 Bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars John Green crafts a brilliantly funny and moving coming-of-age journey about true friendship and true love.

 




From the Hardcover edition.
 

About John Green

See more books from this Author
John Green attended a boarding school not unlike Alaska’s Culver Creek. After graduating from college in 2000, he worked as a chaplain at a children’s hospital. John’s experiences with patients and their families during intense crises solidified his desire to write for teens about the challenge of confronting loss. John works for Booklist and is also a commentator for National Public Radio’s national afternoon newsmagazine, “All Things Considered,” and Chicago’s NPR affiliate, WBEZ. “Nick,” about John’s experiences as a chaplain, appeared on “Driveway Moments” a “best-of” two-CD set, which NPR released in August 2004. John was recently featured in the Tribune’s RedEye edition and on television as one of Chicago’s “Fabulous 20somethings.” He lives in New York City.
 
Published October 4, 2008 by Speak. 321 pages
Genres: Romance, Young Adult, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Paper Towns
All: 60 | Positive: 51 | Negative: 9

Kirkus

Good
on May 20 2010

Lighter than Looking for Alaska (2005), deeper than An Abundance of Katherines (2006) and reminiscent of Gregory Galloway’s As Simple as Snow (2005)—a winning combination.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Dec 30 2016

...unintentionally underscores the novel's weakness: both milquetoast Q and self-absorbed Margo are types, not fully dimensional characters. Readers who can get past that will enjoy the edgy journey and off-road thinking.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by beckycook4648 on Nov 01 2015

My favourite part has to be the middle, and the adventure that they go out of their way to take… Well I can’t tell you that!! But my least favourite part has to be the end. I think that the end was disappointing, but all-in-all it was a gripping read!

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by tashtastic on Sep 25 2015

I wouldn’t say don’t read the book as it wasn’t awful – lots of people I know absolutely love the book, but for me I just thought it was a bit lacklustre.

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Guardian

Excellent
on Sep 09 2015

I loved this book. There were moments when I was scared, moments when I roared with laughter and moments when I questioned the sanity of everyone.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by bookworm.30999 on Jul 23 2015

Passive readers might not have noticed the depth of this book but it is a lot more than “just another romantic story”.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Butterfly Rainbow on Jun 17 2015

I admire the way he develops the characters and gives them their own personalities. I enjoy the way Green builds the plot, and adds new toppings every now and then and just spices the story up.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by some-infinities-katie on Apr 28 2015

...Paper Towns is a remarkable and funny book with great characters and beautiful metaphors. I would recommend it to fans of any other John Green book, or fans of any similar YA authors...

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by infernalpanemallegiance2 on Jun 09 2014

I found the ending very fitting for the book. It was sad, but not expected. All of John Green's books have made me think more about even the simplest things - and this isn't an exception. Paper Towns is by far one of my favourite books of all time...

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by acornsized on Mar 28 2014

I found Paper Towns quite relatable and amusing, and thought it ended perfectly for the kind of story it tells. I would probably recommend it...

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by zebbear on Jan 29 2014

This was a book that made me think more about life and how people can react to things differently. It showed how similar yet different everybody is. It surprised me to know that some people take the time to think hard about what's going to happen in the future, and worry about it so much that they nearly lose their mind.

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Financial Times

Above average
Reviewed by Adrian Turpin on Apr 30 2010

...the story strains for significance. But there is also real pathos and humour in Q’s attempts to follow Margo’s trail beyond both his Florida home and his comfort zone. Imagine a hybrid of Scooby-Do and The Catcher in the Rye, and you get a little of this novel’s flavour.

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Booklist Online

Excellent
Reviewed by Michael Cart on Jun 01 2008

That he brings it off is testimony to the fact that he is not only clever and wonderfully witty but also deeply thoughtful and insightful. In addition, he’s a superb stylist, with a voice perfectly matched to his amusing, illuminating material.

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The Bookbag

Good
Reviewed by Jill Murphy on May 01 2010

The middle section drags on a bit and the madcap drive across country at the end drags on even more, making it more "oh, hurry UPPPP" than actually madcap. Quentin does a bit too much navel-gazing, even for my liking. But it's so smart and sharp and funny and kind and wise, you can forgive Green these faults without a second thought.

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Teen Reads

Good
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on Oct 16 2008

This gripping page-turner from Printz Medalist John Green (author of LOOKING FOR ALASKA and AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES) is both hilarious and thought-provoking. Quentin is an appealing Everyman who manages to become a hero, yet nothing is ever quite as the reader might expect.

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IBN Live

Good
Reviewed by Vivek Tejuja on Apr 17 2014

There are levels and trails that are magnificently brought out in the writing, which perhaps makes it more than just a teenage romance. For everyone out there, who has read The Fault in Our Stars, you must read Paper Towns. You will love it more. Just like me.

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The Express Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by Anum Shaharyar on Jul 27 2015

In each of his books, Green routinely builds up the hype around the beautiful dream girl and then breaks it down. Fortunately, this does not detract from the fact that Green knows how to write well and tug at the heartstrings of his teenage readers.

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TimesUnion.com

Good
Reviewed by Devin Wallace on Mar 02 2012

The book is one of the best I’ve read all year. It’s hung around my head ever since I finished the last sentence.

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Curled Up With a Good Kid's Book

Above average
Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb on Dec 29 2016

John Green has previously written the excellent and award-winning novels Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines, and fans of those will enjoy this one. My 14-year-old daughter really liked it a lot - she snagged it and read it first - and I liked it very much, too.

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http://yareviews.wikispaces.com

Above average
on Jan 01 2017

"Paper Towns" is the type of novel that appeals to teens because it is written from a teen’s perspective with themes and characters they can relate to.

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http://yareviews.wikispaces.com

Above average
on Dec 29 2016

Paper Towns would be useful in a unit about self-identity and perceptions of others. It is also an exciting mystery and might be best used paired with an Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher which like Paper Towns is full of relevant clues and has a link to a piece of literature within the text...

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New York Public Library

Good
Reviewed by Emma Carbone on Apr 20 2009

Like An Abundance of Katherines (2006), the writing here has a verve and wit that keeps readers' attention and makes the book speed along. Although Green treads similar territory to his previous novels, Paper Towns remains unique and Q's narrative voice is utterly his own.

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The Huntsville Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Carla Jean Whitley on Jul 22 2015

Green's novels are distinctive: a drama, a comedy and a mystery. The common thread is his clever characters (always including a geeky-cool guy and an out-of-his-league leading lady), a keen ear for modern teens and a knack for writing novels beloved by teenagers and adults alike.

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Teen Ink

Good
on Jan 03 2017

Paper Towns is like a cigarette to a smoker, it’s addicting and hard to put down. After a surprising ending, an abundance of questions still ponder in my head. Hopefully a sequel will be coming out soon.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by chloe1a on Dec 28 2016

I really enjoyed this book because it was the perfect combination of comedy, sadness, truth and adventure.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by RastaCharmander on Dec 27 2016

Green's masterful tale of suspense and romance, all interpreted through the endlessly wise eyes of a teenaged boy, provides real insight into life. You come away learning that people aren't paper...

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Teen Ink

Good
on Dec 27 2016

Due to mature language and subject matter, “Paper Towns” would be better suited for readers above the age of thirteen. The book takes readers on an adventurous roller coaster ride filled with an abundance of emotion. You’ll have to pinch yourself to return to reality!

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Karizma_Garcia on Dec 12 2015

Paper Towns is a satisfying, uplifting, and adventurous book written by an amazing author...Green’s idea of suspense and romance through the eyes of a teenage boy provides a brilliant story that is hard to put down.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by brookeb22 on Sep 08 2015

This book really keeps the reader interested and intrigued by the mysteries posed throughout the book...I would definitely recommend Paper Towns to teenage girls that enjoy mystery and romance.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Googleye on Oct 02 2014

This book is filled with various types of emotion. I feel like John. Green writes them out so well, that it gets to the point where it is so realistic to be true.

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Fyrefly's Book Blog

Good
on Oct 24 2008

I didn’t like it quite as much as Looking for Alaska, and it’s more serious and a little darker than An Abundance of Katherines, but there’s really only a hair’s breadth to choose between them, and I think fans of any John Green’s books won’t be disappointed.

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Dark Faerie Tales

Excellent
Reviewed by Kaitlin on Jul 21 2015

Altogether I found the message of Paper Towns to be very inspiring, and the novel to be super satisfying. I loved the characters and the plotline.

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Devourer of Books

Good
on Apr 28 2010

So, again, overall, love! I will be reading me some more John Green, and I’d highly recommend this for a fun read.

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Once Upon a Twilight

Good
Reviewed by Bianca on Jan 08 2015

Really it is a beautiful story worth reading. It really opened my eyes to whether or not I was just imagining rather than knowing those I love.

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Inverarity is not a Scottish village

Below average
on Feb 26 2012

Good Young Adult reading for young adults. Still entertaining for crabby curmudgeons like me who can kind of remember being like Quentin, but if you find teenagers annoying, these teenagers will annoy you. They are fairly superficial caricatures defined largely by their quirks.

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Reading for Sanity

Above average
Reviewed by Lara Zierke on Mar 09 2015

To give Green a break, Paper Towns was the follow up to his award-winning Looking for Alaska. And that’s a tough act to follow. I hope there’s a way the movie will improve on the book. The concept is interesting, but the delivery petered out.

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http://goodbooksandgoodwine.com

Excellent
on Nov 24 2015

Paper Towns is wonderful in that it lives up to expectations and contains Green’s characteristic writing and does not deviate from that. I know there’s a lot of people who think that Green is overrated, which fine, that’s fair. Personally, I love his books. I love his writing.

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The Book Vixen

Above average
Reviewed by Monica on Sep 16 2015

Boy loves girl, girl disappears, and boy chases girl. A fun read for those who have some wanderlust in their bones.

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Guys Lit Wire

Good
Reviewed by Kelly Fineman on Oct 14 2008

Along the way, Quentin completes his senior year, including writing a final essay on Moby Dick in a way that I think might justify reading Paper Towns, if only to find new ways to think about and discuss Moby Dick if it's assigned reading.

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Peace Love Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Jessica on Sep 26 2013

I sped through this in two days because it's the kind of book you find yourself not wanting to put down. So in the end, I'd say you should definitely try this one out.

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Alison's Book Marks Blog

Excellent
Reviewed by Alison Skap on Jul 03 2015

I thought this book was perfect for my son, his friends, and anyone in middle school or high school. There is not much I think 12 year olds (and up) can't handle, but Paper Towns is just a great book. If your teen or tween is looking for a good book to read over the summer, you can't lose with John Green.

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Shelf Awareness

Good
on Dec 29 2016

Here’s a book you can give to young men and women in equal measure. For girls, it will give them a rare glimpse into male obsession. For guys, it’s a male bonding experience with some great pranks.

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Mystery People

Above average
Reviewed by read603 on Jul 31 2014

As the story evolves, her character evolves with it, and by the end of the novel, not only are we left with a complete and human depiction of Margo’s character, but we also go full circle and find out who she, as a child, worshiped as an impossible paragon of virtue.

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The Reader Bee

Above average
Reviewed by Christy on Jul 20 2015

Overall, I really enjoyed Paper Towns more than I expected to. I went into the story with low expectations, because it seems that people either really liked the book, or they really didn’t. Despite a few issues that I had with the book, I still found it to be a very enjoyable read.

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Books And Movies

Good
Reviewed by CarrieK on Jan 09 2010

As Q and his friends track Margo and her bread crumbs, these topics are all handled with depth of emotion and understanding. I would have loved to read this book when I was in high school.

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A Bookish Way of Life

Below average
Reviewed by Nadia A on Apr 17 2014

Ack! What a disappointment! I was actually so unhappy with the book that I contemplated not finishing it, but I read on until the very end ( I had hoped that Green would have salvaged the story by the end - I was wrong).

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Read. Breathe. Relax.

Above average
Reviewed by Lisa Parkin on Nov 07 2013

Paper Towns is a feel-good, nostalgia-inducing read. The warmth of friendship and self-discovery seeps out of the pages. John Green is definitely the master of the young adult contemporary scene. Paper Towns tops my list of amazing books read in 2013.

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Somewhere Only We Know

Above average
Reviewed by Sandy Farmer on Jun 11 2015

Paper Towns was good, but I wasn’t blown away in that way I was with The Fault in Our Stars. I didn’t connect to Margo or the story as much as I would have liked. I feel like the philosophy behind this one might have overshadowed the story a bit. Yet, the writing was still good.

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The Starry-Eyed Revue

Above average
Reviewed by April on Aug 20 2015

Finally things start happening again. But in the end, I felt like... really I pushed through all that for this. It was rather uneventful I'd say. I just expected more.

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YA Reads

Above average
Reviewed by Emma on Apr 20 2014

Anyway, despite my grumbling about the lack of a legit female character and the formulaic-ness to all of John Green’s books, I DID actually enjoy Paper Towns. It was a fun read, and I loved the whole concept of paper towns themselves.

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Reading Addict

Excellent
on Jul 13 2015

If you know me, then you know I'm a huge fan of Green. Reading Paper Towns only renewed my admiration. *hugs book to chest* If you haven't checked this one out yet, I strongly recommend that you do. Margo and her adventures are waiting.

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Bunbury in the Stacks

Above average
Reviewed by Heidi on Aug 05 2013

Paper Towns is a cleverly constructed book that will suck teens in and trick them into developing an interest in things like Walden. And I kind of love that John Green makes it okay to be intelligent, and cool to not be in the popular crowd...

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http://bookswithbite.net

Excellent
Reviewed by Chayse on Jun 25 2015

John Green creates a compelling novel in which he tears out my heart out in the end. I was expecting something else or hoping for something else but John Green does his all so known magic and twists our emotions.

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Beckoned by Books

Above average
Reviewed by SHERRE on Mar 02 2015

It’s a good book full of deep philosophical thought and things that make you remember it well after the book, just like with all John Green books. Unfortunately though, I just didn’t much like Margo Roth Spiegelman.

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Catching Books

Good
Reviewed by Jaime G. on Oct 02 2014

I never lost interest throughout the plot, and of course Green's dialogue kept me hooked. I do have to admit that Paper Towns was not my favorite of Green's books. However, I still believe that he is a fantastic writer and I highly recommend all of his books.

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Demons Read Too

Good
Reviewed by Brett on Aug 13 2014

Mixing bouts of humour and seriousness, I couldn’t put it down. It kept up a level of tension, playing out in my head just like a movie. The characters’ fear became my own. I had to know how it would end. It may not have been what I was expecting, but it definitely felt real.

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Dandelion Dreams

Good
Reviewed by Kelly on May 17 2014

Paper Towns was a wonderful story, but the pacing seemed so slow at times and I couldn't give it a 5-star review. I will of course continue to read John Green's books because he's a pretty awesome guy and he writes pretty awesome books.

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https://www.breakpoint.org

Above average
Reviewed by Annie Provencher on May 14 2015

Those who are willing to brave some off-color content will undoubtedly encounter the world as many teens see and experience it on a daily basis at school, through the media, and in pop culture.

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http://exlibriskate.com

Good
on Aug 13 2015

The whole point of the story, it seems, is to make Margot a real and flawed person in Quentin’s eyes. Along the way, though, are all of the things that I love about John Green books; good dialogue, plenty of introspection, and quirky side characters. Also interesting it the idea of paper towns themselves, which I found fascinating.

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http://mentalfloss.com

Good
Reviewed by Ransom Riggs on Oct 21 2008

I've read Paper Towns, but this isn't a book review. But I will say that I think it's John's most mature and heartfelt novel to date, full of wit and wisdom...

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Reader Rating for Paper Towns
82%

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Jacob 10 Sep 2014

This book is great. And it's up there on my favorite book list with "The Spectacular Now", "The Fault in Our Stars", "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" and "Carrie"

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