Banned Book: Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns by John Green


Quentin Jacobsen has lived next to Margo Roth Spiegelman since they were two years old. When they were nine they discovered a dead body together in Jefferson Park. By the time they reached their senior year of high school they barely knew each other. The social circles of life having led them in different directions. Then one day she randomly knocks on his window asking for a favor, which was really an adventure around town. But the next day she has disappeared. She has ran away again to the dismay and anger of her parents. The Spiegelmans have given up on her. Quentin though hasn’t lost faith and is determined to find her. Margo has left clues before when she has disappeared and this time is no different, except they are left for Quentin. He has no idea why she has disappeared or why she has left bread crumbs for him to find but he is hoping he can be brave enough to follow to the end. No matter what he may find.
So Quentin Jacobsen is that not popular guy that used to be picked on until someone in the social circles made it clear that he shouldn’t be messed with. He isn’t in the band but his best friends are and he admits that he is kind of geek who likes to play video games and has no social life. Then there’s Margo, this beautiful social butterfly with the attractive popular boyfriend and attractive best friends whom everyone loves. But Quentin is perfectly fine being him and Margo hates her life and all the two dimensional people she has around her. Paper Towns is a novel of discovery. Not only is Quentin discovering that this idea he has of Margo is just that, a made up idea, but he is becoming aware of all the superficial qualities he is seeing around himself. He isn’t sure what the plan was when Margo left him these clues and what kind of self-discovery he is supposed to be on but he is willing and in many ways eager and anxious to take on this journey. Quentin is terrified of what he might or might not find but he can’t stop looking and trying to decipher these clues. It all has to mean something. He just has to figure out what.
I could not put this book down. Green created such a well-developed, well delivered, brilliantly thought out and funny novel that had so much depth and was constantly propelling itself forward. Quentin was a brilliant narrator and his friends, Radar and Ben, were great companions for this journey. Margo was a great vehicle for discovery. She was a mystery and Quentin became a detective trying to solve her story, who ended up answering a lot of questions not only about Margo but himself. Paper Towns was easy to read and extremely entertaining. I enjoyed it immensely and I would recommend it to those who enjoy young adult. A mother in Pasco County, Fl doesn’t at all agree with me. Pasco County had Paper Towns on their summer reading until a mother of a 13 year old girl found it inappropriate for their age range and wrote an email to the school about her dissatisfaction. Its references to teenage sex, cursing and what she labeled as misogynistic references disturbed her. Days later the school removed it from the reading list. It has since been placed back on the list but with a description stating that it may contain “sensitive issues and language.” Everyone isn’t going to relate to a novel the same way. As a mom of course you have a say over what your child reads but the school board took it a step too far when they removed it from their reading list. I’m glad they changed their position and placed it back on the list. This was a dynamic story, filled with references to what goes on during high school. But this story was more than the curse words and mentioning of teenage sex. It was more than one characters obsession with “honeybunnies.” It is a coming of age story that takes into account all the different aspects of coming of age.

“Pasco school drops ‘Fault in Our Stars’ authors book after parents email”  Solocheck, Jeffrey S.   http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/k12/john-green-novel-on-summer-reading-list-draws-objection-from-pasco-parent/2185740


“‘Paper Towns’ once banned at Pasco School is back on the summer reading list” Solocheck, Jeffrey S. http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/k12/paper-towns-once-banned-at-pasco-school-is-back-on-summer-reading-list/2190440

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