Friday, October 11, 2013

11: Follow-up Friday - John Green!

Next to The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns is my second favorite John Green novel.  People tend to connect with books that resonate with them, and this one deeply resonated with the rescuer in me.  The me who has a soft spot for tragic, creative, larger-than-life characters with a penchant for self-destruction.  When the illustrious Margo Roth Spielman hijacks her quiet next-door neighbor, Quentin, for a wild, prank-filled evening, he thinks things have finally changed between them.  That maybe the girl he's dreamed about forever finally found him worthy.  But the next morning, she's gone.  Her parents don't actively search for her.  Margo Roth Spielman has a habit of disappearing.  And reappearing.  For dramatic effect.  But Quentin becomes obsessed with finding her, afraid she plans to end her life.  So he follows the crumbs she left behind, trying to unravel the mystery before time runs out.  While he desperately wants to find her, at every turn, he is afraid of how he'll find her when he does.  As someone who has stood at a doorstep wondering if the person on the other side is still breathing, I found myself fully invested in this journey with Q.  There is an interesting history behind Paper Towns that John Green expertly weaves into the fabric of this coming-of-age story.  It will be a long time before I forget Q or Margo.  Every time I hear the name Margo, my mind sings, "Margo Roth Spiegelman" and I smile.  John Green has a way of embossing his characters' names into the reader's heart.  Hers is so legendary that it's always said in three.

I love both the name and the premise of An Abundance of Katherines .  Child prodigy Colin Singleton had high hopes for himself, wanting to leave an indelible mark on the world with his brilliance.  As he finishes high school he fears his own mediocrity and questions his worth.  Part of his downfall has been the string of 18 Katherines that mark his relational history.  He swears he doesn't do it on purpose, but he only dates Katherines.  His friend Hassan drags him on a road trip to pull him out of his paralyzing depression.  During that summer, Colin strives to prove his brilliance by creating an accurate relational predictor, based on a mathematical equation derived from all the Katherines in his life.  Genius concept.  I love the sheer, convoluted, nerdy hopefulness of Colin and his ridiculous plan.

Also, a Michael L. Printz Honor Book, 2007

Looking for Alaska  is Green's darkest novel, in my opinion.  Though this is many people's favorite Green novel -- it wasn't mine.  Though the intrigue and depth of Alaska Young was heartbreakingly irresistible, this one was harder for me to fully dive into.  Perhaps there was more angst than I could handle; too much time spent trying to corrupt newbie boarding school student, Miles Halter, while I silently begged him to stay innocent.  But Green's writing is always worth the read -- full of beauty and intellect and unforgettable metaphor...and just plain awesome writing.

Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award, 2006.

Click below to read Day 12:
Sci-Fi Saturday - The 5th Wave

Click below to read the series
from the beginning:


  1. I didn't love The Fault in Our Stars but I picked up Paper Towns the other day to give John Green another try. It's at the bottom of the stack along with Code Name Verity. ;)

    1. You'll have to let me know what you think. =)


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