*Paper Towns* by John Green. Speak (Penguin Books), 2008.
Available in Print, CD Audiobook, Downloadable Audiobook, and E-book.
Another excellent and thoughtful teen novel from author of the best-selling *The Fault in Our Stars.* It was also a winner of the Edgar Award for best young adult mystery novel.
Quentin is a high school senior in Orlando, Florida. His next door neighbor is the dynamic, charismatic Margo. They were good friends when they were 10 but by the time they got to high school, he was in NerdLand and she was a school leader. He is still fixated on her. A few weeks before graduation, she climbs into his second story window and drags him off for a night of adventures, getting revenge on her cheating boyfriend and other people, and breaking into SeaWorld, just to say they did. She complains how she hates living in this paper town with all the paper people. Quentin is hoping this will be the start of something between them; but the next day Margo does not show up for school. She has left a cryptic, depressed note and a lot of clues. Quentin fears she may have been contemplating suicide, and he talks several friends into helping him track through the clues. As he does, he begins to realize that he has kept this idealized image of Margo in his head for years; but he has no idea what she is really like. To track her down, he will have to learn who she really is – and to discover a lot more about himself.
Excellent dialogue and characters, with some hilarious scenes, will keep teen readers galloping along; but the philosophy and wisdom is what will stick with them. Walt Whitman’s *Leaves of Grass* provides a lot of the clues and subtext for the story (and gave me a better understanding of the work, too). A challenging book in a lot of ways, not necessarily as a hard read, but as a book which challenges the reader to move toward adulthood.
*The Fault in our Stars* is probably more universal in its appeal to both teen and adult readers; but anyone who likes books for this age group will like this, too. A film version of *Paper Towns* will be released this summer.
Reviewer ~ Steve Bridge, retired children’s librarian
Don’t forget the Pass the Book program continues through the week of Match 7th, 2010. Don’t know about Pass the Book? It’s a virtual teen reading program where the library hands out specially tagged copies of John Green‘s three books, Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and Paper Towns. After you get a copy, you will do three things:
* First, visit the Pass the Book website, , to register your copy. When you register the book you’ll be given the option to leave a comment and upload a photo of the book.
*Second, of course, read the book.
*And third, when you’re done, pass the book on to someone else with instructions to do the same: Log it in, read it and Pass it On!
Now that we’re halfway through the program, we want to know what you think. What is your favorite part of the program? What do you think we can do to make the program better? Which book did you like the best?
Would you like to participate? Check with your branch to see if there are any books available. Be sure to log on to Pass the Book to register your book. And don’t forget to click on the dashboard link to watch your book move around the city!
Want to join a book club that goes beyond reality? The Pass the Book program @ IMCPL is just for you! It’s easy to do and you don’t need anything to participate.
The event will kick off this Friday October 2nd at the First Friday Event at Central Library. After Friday you can get a special Pass-the-Book copy at your local IMCPL branch or–starting October 5th–at five Indianapolis schools.
When you get your copy you log it in at www.imcpl.org/pass , read it, and pass it on to a friend. When you log and pass the miles traveled will be “logged” and you can see where the book you had has traveled and what other readers thought about it.
The books are all by John Green, an Indianapolis native. The three titles; An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, and Looking for Alaska. All three books are hilarious, quirky and wildly entertaining. Once you read one you’ll want to read the other two.
REMEMBER: The books that you’ll pass around, once the program starts on Friday, will be specially prepared paperbacks, NOT the copies that you can request off this blog page.