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Friday, June 26, 2015

Book Review: Paper Towns by John Green

BOOK review
Started on: 15.June.2015
Finished on: 17.June.2015

Title : Paper Towns
Author : John Green
Publisher : Speak
Pages :  305 pages / 265 pages (e-book)
Year of Publication : 2009
Price : $ 11.09 (

Rating: 4/5
"Margo always loved mysteries. And in everything that came afterward, I could never stop thinking that mabye she loved mysteries so much that she became one."
Quentin Jacobsen and Margo Roth Spiegelman are neighbors and they have been friends since they were little. At the age of nine, they both discovered a dead body and the two of them reacted very differently at the time. After that, they grew apart and Margo has become a stranger to Quentin. In high school, Margo is part of the popular crowd while Quentin mostly hangs out with his two best friends: Ben and Radar. Even so, Quentin kept admiring Margo from afar and have a secret crush on her. A month before graduation, Margo suddenly shows up at Quentin's bedroom window in the middle of the night and asked him to assist her on a mission. Despite all the risks, Quentin agreed to help Margo seek revenge against Jase—Margo's boyfriend who's cheating on her.

"It's a paper town. I mean look at it, Q; look at all those cul-de-sacs, those streets that turn in on themselves, all the houses that were built to fall apart. All those paper people living in their paper houses, burning the future to stay warm. . .  All the things paper-thin and paper-frail. And all the people, too. I've lived here for eighteen years and I have never once in my life come across anyone who cares about anything that matters."
That eventful night, Quentin who wasn't very adventurous in any way felt a certain thrill that got him excited. He admired Margo and all her intricate plans that made Quentin saw a different side of himself. Quentin thought his relationship with Margo will change after that night, but he was surprised to find out the news that Margo is gone. It wasn't the first time Margo ran away from home, but Quentin believed that she has specifically left clues for him to find her. Quentin was afraid Margo would end up like the man they found nine years ago. And through the journey of finding her, Quentin actually discovered what kind of person Margo really is.
"She wanted me to play out the string, to find the place where she had stopped and was waiting fore me, to follow the bread crumb trail until it dead-ended into her."
image source: here. edited by me.
"But isn't it also that on some fundamental level we find it difficult to understand that other people are human beings in the same way that we are? We idealize them as gods or dismiss them as animals."
So. . . my thoughts are quite jumbled right after I finished reading this book. I kind of needed several day to let the story sink in and for me to evaluate on everything that's happened throughout the book. Paper Towns was definitely a fun and enjoyable read, and I think there's an underlying message behind the story about human—how most of the time people have a certain idea about one another, although it isn't always the truth. The story is really mysterious and it's thrilling to follow Quentin's journey in discovering bits of clues about Margo's whereabouts; I think that's the main reason why I couldn't stop reading. I love how Quentin's character went through a lot of development as the story goes. In some ways, the book is also about Quentin's self-discovery and how he got out of his comfort zone, bringing out the part in him that he never knew existed before. And the last part of this book got me really excited, but sadly I find myself quite disappointed by how things turned out. It kind of felt like all the tension built up throughout the story suddenly flattens out. I know that the last part explained a lot about Margo and stuff, however I wasn't satisfied with how the story ended.

One of the highlights of this book for me is Quentin's friendship with Ben and Radar. I would absolutely love having Ben and Radar as my bestfriends. My favorite character in this book will have to be Ben Starling—because he's so quirky and funny. One of the best scenes for me is when they're on a road trip to find Margo and Ben kept wanting to go to pee. But of course he'll have to hold it if they don't want to be too late; and here's what Ben said:
"I can feel the pee all the way up to my rib cage. . .  I am honestly full of pee. Bro, right now, seventy percent of my body weight is pee.
I feel like I might start crying, and that I'm going to cry pee."
I was like "OMG Ben, that's so not appropirate!" LOL. But his dialogues always managed to make me laugh a little as I'm reading. Radar is probably my second favorite character because he's such a good friend. He's always there for Quentin and does his best to help. I love Radar's reaction when Quentin said he hated Ben (because of reasons I don't want to spoil). Radar straightforwardly pointed out how selfish Quentin is and that he should not expect other people to be like himbecause everyone is different in their own ways. At that moment I instantly want to applaud Radar for what he did. Below is the quote from that particular scene:

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"Of course he is. You know your problem, Quentin? You keep expecting people not to be themselves. I mean, I could hate you for being massively unpunctual and for never being interested in anything other than Margo Roth Spiegelman, and for, like, never asking how it's going with my girlfriend—but I don't give a shit, man, because you're you. . .
Just saying: stop thinking Ben should be you, and he needs to stop thinking you should be him, and y'all just chill the hell out."
"The town was paper, but the memories were not. All the things I'd done here, all the love and pity and compassion and violence and spite, kept welling up inside me."
Even though Margo only showed up in some parts of the book, I think she indirectly made me learn some things. She made me realize how we always have an idea about other people and assume that is who they are; but sometimes we don't see who those people really are. That is one complicated sentence, but that's what I get from the story. During their road trip, Quentin and the gang played a game called 'That Guy Is a Gigolo'. It's a pretty simple game, they basically spot a person and imagine the person's life. And the quote below by Radar really hits me hard, because I find truth within those words. There are times when my family would look at certain people and assume their lives/relationshipI believe that just reveals more about ourselves and how we see things rather than the people themselves.
"The thing about That Guy Is a Gigolo. . . I mean, the thing about it as a game, is that in the end it reveals more about the person doing the imagining than it does about the person being imagined."
"There are so many people. It is easy to forget how full the world is of people, full to bursting, and each of them imaginable and consistently misimagined."
Hopefully I'm not spoiling too much, but I feel like it's really sad for a person to be living a life just to satisfy other people's ideas of themselves. Sometimes people can't really be who they really are because they're afraid of disappointing other people who has a certain expectation on them. I imagine that it would definitely be a tiring and pressured life, always trying to fulfill other people's expectation when that's not who we really are.
"Because it's kind of great, being an idea that everybody likes. But I could never be the idea to myself, not all the way."
"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."

Overall, reading Paper Towns was a very mysterious and thrilling ride but also deeply emotional. There are actually a lot more to discuss about the book, like the metaphors (strings, grass, and vessel) for example; but since I couldn't really comprehend the meaning behind them, I don't feel the need to include it in my review. I started reading this book to prepare myself for the movie adaptation but I'm really glad I finally picked it up. Even though I didn't love the story as much as The Fault in Our Stars, I would say that I really like John Green's writing in this one as well. Lastly, for those of you who haven't seen the trailer for Paper Towns, go watch it below! I have high expectations for this movie and I love Ben already!

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Who else is excited for this movie adaptation? ;)
by.stefaniesugia♥ .


  1. Filmnya kapan rilis kak? Jadi pengen baca setelah baca review nya kak Stef >< udah baca Looking for Alaska kak? Kalo udah bagusan mana? ;)

    1. Kayaknya bulan Agustus sih :D Aku belum baca Looking for Alaska sih, jd belum bisa bandingin xD


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