Paper Towns

Paper Towns

Paperback | September 22, 2009

byJohn Green

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From the #1 bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars--now a major motion picture!

Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery
New York Times bestseller
USA Today bestseller
Publishers Weekly bestseller


When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.

Printz Medalist John Green returns with the trademark brilliant wit and heart-stopping emotional honesty that have inspired a new generation of readers.

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Paper Towns

Paperback | September 22, 2009
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$10.08 online $10.99 (save 8%)

From the Publisher

From the #1 bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars--now a major motion picture! Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery New York Times bestseller USA Today bestseller Publishers Weekly bestseller   When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an in...

John Green is the award-winning, #1 bestselling author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with David Levithan), and The Fault in Our Stars. His many accolades include the Printz Medal, a Printz Honor, and the Edgar Award. He has twice been a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. ...

other books by John Green

Looking For Alaska
Looking For Alaska

Paperback|Dec 28 2006

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The Fault In Our Stars
The Fault In Our Stars

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Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Will Grayson, Will Grayson

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see all books by John Green
Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.87 inPublished:September 22, 2009Publisher:Penguin Young Readers GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:014241493X

ISBN - 13:9780142414934

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17

Customer Reviews of Paper Towns


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Wonderful Protagonist I absolutely love the protagonist of this novel, and Margot was pretty good too. The ending is really bizarre (and totally killed the novel for me), but otherwise this was a great read.
Date published: 2017-01-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Disappointed I thought I would love this book but the storyline wasn't what I thought. Wouldn't recommend it.
Date published: 2017-01-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointing I did not like this book at all. I feel the book has no point at all. It was a waste time.
Date published: 2017-01-11
Rated 2 out of 5 by from ehh this book did not live up to my expectations. i honestly thought it would be better but i was bored 80% of the time and when things began to pick up it just went back to boring. john green is a very talented writer and the storyline had potential but i guess it wasn't executed as well as it could have.
Date published: 2017-01-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Well Written! I bought this book a while back, and didn't have much time to read it. I finally picked it up, and am so happy that I did. It had some action, and mystery, along with some young adult/realistic fiction/romance, to keep the story going. The only downfall to this book is that sometimes it got a bit dragged out, because you could tell what would happen next.
Date published: 2017-01-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great Male Protag I loved the male protagonist. Margot is wild, carefree (which I like). The ending is a little bizarre, but overall it's a good read.
Date published: 2017-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This book was amazing, I couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2017-01-06
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Overhyped John Green is a very good writer and his style of writing is phenomenal however, I found this book to be average and I didnt think this book was very unique. In my opinion, the book was well writen but lacked some originality and uniqueness, something that made me want to keep reading until the end and something that that made this book special
Date published: 2017-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good. I enjoyed it but wasn't as good as the fault in our stars!
Date published: 2017-01-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great! Read this book a few years back and I remember being so emotionally invested in the characters and the storyline! John Green's writing in this book makes you really feel for these characters and being a younger reader myself, I was really able to relate and empathize as well. I think this book will stay relevant for quite a while in terms of themes about coming of age, identity, etc. The book does start off a bit slow in the beginning but once you get into it, it's definitely hard to put down. I liked this book way more than TFIOS to be honest! Great read!
Date published: 2017-01-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from One of My Favorite John Green Novel Such a good novel and movie. So many inspiring quotes. I loved it
Date published: 2017-01-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Overall good book For a teenager, this is a good book. It talks about the love, adventure, and reminds the reader about the naivety, and youthfulness before the end of high school. I felt like I was I there with the main character as I read the book. One of my favourites by John Green.
Date published: 2016-12-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fun book A great adventure, couldn't put it down for the first hundred pages
Date published: 2016-12-31
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Didn't Live Up To The Hype I think every person who's a part of the book community has heard of John Green. Time and time again his name came up as friend's gave me book recommendations, and finally I decided it was high time I read one of his books. After reading the synopsis of this one, I just knew that this was the perfect John Green book for me to start out with, and so began my first foray into the John Green world. However, as I began reading this book I came to the horrible realization that I wasn't enjoying it at all. All that build up from my friends over his books, and I didn't find the main character funny, I thought Margo's character wasn't worth chasing in the first place, and I really didn't like the writing style. Unfortunately, my opinion hadn't changed by the end of the novel, and I was also highly underwhelmed by the ending. Unfortunately, this book was just not for me, which was so disappointing as I was prepared to love it.
Date published: 2016-12-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Meh. I love John Green, I think he's great, but wow did this book disappoint. I guess for one, I couldn't handle his repeated portrayal of a manic pixie dream girl. The mystery in this book was great, but Margo was such an underdeveloped character, it kinda ruins the book.
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from a step down from the fault in our stars I found this book a step down compared to Green's other books. I had a hard time finishing this book
Date published: 2016-12-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it! I absoultely loved this loved this book. It is one of my most favorite books of all time.
Date published: 2016-12-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nice book, not as good Paper Towns is good, but not as great as some of John Green's others
Date published: 2016-12-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A meaningful novel Green's books really make you step back and think about the world through new a new lens. This book was no different.
Date published: 2016-12-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not Green's Best Not one of Green's better books, it was delightful and witty but it wasn't the best.
Date published: 2016-12-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from good read it's good but it's not as good as the "the fault in our star"
Date published: 2016-12-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Enjoyable, but like every other John Green's book If you haven't read any of his book, you'll like it! It is about self-discovery and firendship and has humour. But, if you have read his other books, be aware that they are really much alike. I found that the characters of Quentin and Margo were exactly like Miles and Alaska from Looking for Alaska, but that the plot was not that much interesting. but maybe it's just me being tired of the trope of the lonely-reject-boy-who-finds-a-wild-girl-and-falls-in-love-with-her.
Date published: 2016-12-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Paper Towns My favourite of John Green's books. The least boring in my mind.
Date published: 2016-12-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Disappointing I read this novel because I loved The Fault in our Stars, but it failed in comparison.
Date published: 2016-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from awesome book! LOVE IT The FIRST time I read this book i borrowed it from my school library. I loved it so much that I went out and bought it and read it again. I read the book before i watched the movie, and i personally think the movie was a disappointment and the book is way better. If you are thinking about buying this book to read, i recommend that you do!
Date published: 2016-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved Such a fun adventurous book, loved how it was lighthearted yet deep at the same time #plumreview
Date published: 2016-12-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from addicting half the book is spent in one night, which i find a weird format. regardless, i loved the book!
Date published: 2016-12-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Read This was the second book by John Green that I read (after Fault in Our Stars) and I can honestly say, I am a fan. I enjoyed this adventure (and the book is much better than the movie!)
Date published: 2016-12-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Really good I loved reading this book, it was a great mystery worth solving! However reading about a road trip almost put me to sleep, because traveling makes me tired. And I guess reading about it does the same.
Date published: 2016-12-05
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Was okay. Was really good at first but then was not as good.
Date published: 2016-12-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing I've been blown away by the caliber of wring in John Green's books, and this one was easily my favourite. Some passages just need to be read then immediately re-read because they're THAT excellent. These characters are flawed and fantastic and I love that this book is about the story building them.
Date published: 2016-12-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read I love the story but did not really like the ending. Still will recomend to read.
Date published: 2016-12-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great! Great book for teens! #plumreview
Date published: 2016-12-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I had fun reading it It's a great book and I am a huge fan of John Green. The story was amazing.
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Disappointed Love the beginning, it was just amazing. But the ending was not for me to be honest. It got boring and slow after Margo "disappeared".
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Best book by John Green Actually, this is the only John Green book that I actually really enjoyed! I just wish Q hadn't wasted his life pining over Margo. That part was the only part of the book I wasn't into.
Date published: 2016-11-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I loved it! Another excellent book by John Green
Date published: 2016-11-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved the book Great story line. Very interesting read.
Date published: 2016-11-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! I really liked this book. It's a slight twist on the traditional love story, and focuses a lot on friendships. It also had a lot of really funny parts.
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun This is really a fun read, definitely worth it.
Date published: 2016-11-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read This was a wonderful story. It did get slow at times but nonetheless kept me hooked!
Date published: 2016-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I think I really liked this book because of the personalities of the characters. I think they really embodied teenagers in high school. (Especially Radar and his concern about his grades and graduation, I could relate!) If you haven't read it yet, you definitely should. Although, fair warning, the ending is not how you would want it to be, but it's still amazing nonetheless.
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Margo Such a great story of friendship and adventure. Loved it
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Phenomenal book! This book is by far my favourite book by John Green. As usual, the characters all had lovable quirks and the book had a very interesting plot, so the read was very enjoyable. Margo Roth Spiegelman is a determined "cool" girl with a plan, while Quentin and his band of geeky misfits are characters that are like adorable puppies who will go to great lengths for each other, and you just can't help but root for them.
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Ok Great storyline, but I do wish it ended differently! #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty good I liked it, especially the first third.
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Ugh Every time I read a John green book, I promise myself it will be my last john green book. His writing is amazing however I hate they way he ends his books. It's always a disaster. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It's okay I guess. It's really overrated, probably because of the movie, and it's just really not as good as his other stuff. I enjoyed it, I guess.
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read I love the theme to this book but it is honestly not my favourite John Green book. I still loved reading it and will likely read it again but in my opinion, Looking for Alaska is a tough one to beat. Some of the chapters drag on a bit but for the most part I was quite into the story #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of John Green's Best John Green is a genius. I love how this book brought into question the manic pixie dream girl archetype. The movie was a bust, and I'm sad for that, as this book captivated me from beginning to end. Given, this was my first (of many, though) John Green novel. So perhaps that's why I did not find it predictable, as others did? He indeed writes his books in a similar style. But Shakespeare wrote his plays in a similar style, too. Same with Edgar Allen Poe's writings. He may want to branch out, but if he doesn't? Then I'll continue reading. It's not broken and doesn't need fixing.
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from good enough I bought this book because of the hype surrounding it. Thought it was gonna be a really good book, but honestly, it was mediocre and very predictable. Yeah the ending was sad, but honestly after reading you don't even care anymore.
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Typical John Green seems to stick with the same type of story and it's obviously working. This book is much like his others.. Full of adventure and a love story between an odd girl and quirky/nerdy/shy boy. Not bad at all though. Like I said, this style is clearly working for him.
Date published: 2016-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My favorite John Green book! I have read all his books and this is my favorite. It left me thinking and in awe when I finished it. The metaphors are what hooked me.
Date published: 2016-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from so much better than the movie Couldn't get enough of this book! Love John Green!
Date published: 2016-02-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Eh It really didn't live up to the hype. It was the most anti-climatic book I've ever read. It was funny but it didn't seem believable. "I didn't leave any clues." The stuff in the door? What? Those were totally clues?? Not his best.
Date published: 2016-02-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read! If you love the author John Green, this book is worth a read!
Date published: 2016-01-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved this book! A little slow, and yes it could be a bit boring but I really enjoyed it and the writing was thoughtful and very well put.
Date published: 2015-12-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing beyond compare. Amazing book. You fall in love with the characters and the plot. You will want to read it non stop for hours on end to find out what is going to happen next. Amazingly well written.
Date published: 2015-10-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book! I bought this book and absolutely loved it. It definitely lived up to my expectations.
Date published: 2015-10-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Book I read this book this summer and recommended it to all of my friends and we all read it and discussed it. It was really amazing. The books is a great adventure book with a hint of romance. John Greene succeed once again.
Date published: 2015-10-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love John Green! As with anything and everything I have read by John Green, I greatly enjoyed this book. No, I didn't sob my way through it as I did with The Fault in Our Stars, but it was moving in its own way. This is a book that can't be easily categorized as any one thing... a romance, a friend read, a mystery, a coming-of-age read. It isn't any one of those things, but a combination of all of them. Q has lived next to Margo his entire life, a childhood friend that eventually became his unrequited first love. As they grew up, their worlds became farther apart. She was the popular girl and he was a bit on the geeky side. He is obsessed with her, blind to anything that could possibly mar his love for her. One night, she climbs into his window in the middle of the night dressed and coerces him (not that it took much coercing!) into an unexpected adventure. It's a night that gives Q a renewed hope for a future with Margo. But then the next day arrives and everything turns on edge. Everything Q thinks he knows about Margo is turned upside down and now he has to follow clues, clues that she left for him, in order to find answers. As Q finds and follows the clues Margo has left, his character grows so much. He learns as much about himself as he learns about Margo. One of the most important themes of this book, in my opinion, is that what we see in a person is often very different from the reality. We see the surface, what we want to see. And that can make us blind to anything else that could tarnish that perception. And then when the veil is removed, it leaves you bewildered. That is Q's journey. But this is also a book about friendship. A group of his friends and hers come together and the stupid cliques of high school, at least in a small way and in a small moment, are ignored Family dynamics also play a key role in the unfolding story, and how those dynamics can affect a person. There is so much to enjoy about this book. There are no easy answers, no perfect solutions, no perfect people. And that is a good thing because that is how life and the people living really are. My Recommendation: As with all of his books, I definately recommed Paper Towns! These books are full of relatable characters and a story that engages every emotion. THis review originally appeared on my blog, The Caffeinated Diva reads.
Date published: 2015-09-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not that good It was okay but it could have been better. It really isn't worth reading.
Date published: 2015-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! Loved it! Paper towns is an amazing story for young-adult readers . This book was read in a day and half! I could not put this book down. A cut love story with humour that litterally made me laugh out loud.
Date published: 2015-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love love love love this Had to finish reading this before the movie came out and i was not disappointed !!
Date published: 2015-09-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Below average coming of age story In short, this book was written with only teenagers in mind. I read the book after seeing the trailer for the film of the same name and thought it had an interesting premise. What followed was a book so set in that teenage mindset, that I found it hard to relate to any of the characters. That may have been because the characters are little more than stereotypes, but I just couldn't get involved in the book. It is a shame, because John Green actually has clever ideas in his novel and often gives his characters quirks or uses certain metaphors that really are quite brilliant. Unfortunately, a glimmer of brilliance does not make a good novel. I was bored and only pushed through to the end to find out the mystery. Pass this one if you are over 18.
Date published: 2015-08-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good read for Teens This book was easy to understand and relatable to any teen, however I found the beginning to be pretty slow and was expecting a better ending.
Date published: 2015-08-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from started off great... This book started off great and had me laughing out loud. But 1-2 way through it got a little boring. The ending could use some work too.
Date published: 2015-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from cant wait to read it! I can't be!give the mo is came out... Also I know I shouldn't be writing and rating this book before I read it but I don't care... HAPPY READING EVRYYBODY!!
Date published: 2015-08-04
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Enjoyable start I thouroughly enjoyed the first 2-3rds of this title. But it fell completley flat at the end. So much so that i cannot recommend it.
Date published: 2015-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WONDERFUL This book is awesome. I love love love it so very much and John Green. Favorite book so far!!!!!! :]
Date published: 2015-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Paper towns I loved it it is more of a teens book cause there are inapropriate parts .but it was very good. It was a mystery book. I really appreciate John Green very much for rightin this book
Date published: 2015-08-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing This book was amazing! It was powerful and encouraging. You could really connect to the characters! I found Ben hilarious
Date published: 2015-07-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Paper towns After the read I have this odd inner conflict, I'm not sure which emotion to feel. This is the most amazing book that I have read. I love the humour, the wit and the characters. A definite re-read. John Green with yet another masterpiece.
Date published: 2015-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating! Paper Towns is a great book that will keep you in suspense up until the final word. If you liked The Fault In Our Stars, you will adore Paper Towns.
Date published: 2015-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved it!!!!!!! I just recently bought this book and could not put it down.It is by far my favourite John Green book and in the future I will be reading this many more times!
Date published: 2015-07-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not a good read The plot line is pretty weak. Everything with Margo and her revenge plots are very interesting, but as soon as she goes MIA it gets pretty boring. She is also a horrible female character, as she is very selfish and doesn't care much about anything - it gets pretty annoying. Also, the ending is absolutely horrible. I would not recommend this book at all.
Date published: 2015-07-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Special John green is a great writer. A tad redundant at times, but if you are a fan of JG, then it's worth the read.
Date published: 2015-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good Real good book hop moies even close to as good
Date published: 2015-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from love, love, love It was an emotinal & physical rollercoaster! I loved the whole ambiance of the book, there were mouth dropping shocking moments & discoveries that I loved! Can wait to see the movie!
Date published: 2015-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thank you, thank you, thank you JG I can't express how much this book means to me. Cried my eyes out during the last lines of the book and for many minutes after. Thank you John Green.
Date published: 2015-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Quite the scavenger hunt You came to care about the characters, always wanting to find out what happened next. A great coming of age story.
Date published: 2015-07-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Started good, ending boring. The begging of this book grabbed my attention and i could not put it down.It was light, entreating, funny and creative. In the second half of the book during Margo's disappearance it became repetitive and boring.
Date published: 2015-06-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Page-turner Completely in love with this book from the beginning till the end. I've also recently finished abundance of Katherines, but not anywhere as good as this one.
Date published: 2015-06-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow... This book is really good. It is very suspenseful. I always want to keep reading it. I will definitely get more john green books and i really reccomend this book. Its awesome! 5 stars!
Date published: 2015-06-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is a universally appealing book. If you haven’t yet read it, you should! After my daughter urged me to read The Fault in Our Stars (which reduced me to a sobbing mess of tears in a mere three hours), I vowed never to read another John Green novel because clearly he was a cruel and deranged man. But then I have this rule where I won’t let myself see a movie unless I’ve first read the novel and Paper Towns is going to be a movie that I will go see … so I was forced to read the book. And I have to say this is a brilliant novel. I loved it. And that’s saying a lot because I was determined NOT to like it. The characters are such that I immediately either loved them (Q) or hated them (Margo). This book is just so REAL and honest. Which is Green’s trademark. The pacing of the novel is perfect, the ongoing mystery of Margo and Q’s undying devotion to her is hard to resist. I also loved that this story is told entirely from Q’s point of view. It was really refreshing to read a novel written from the male protagonist’s viewpoint. I think Green really captures the angst and excitement that encapsulate the final few months of high school. This is a universally appealing book. If you haven’t yet read it, you should!
Date published: 2015-04-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Book Ever! And I thought that The Fault In Our Stars was great! This book was amazing, hilarious, and touching!
Date published: 2015-04-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Would it pull you in? This teenage romance is intriguing and different. John Green aloud the characters to come alive right away. Margo with a sassy, confident, mind blowing "wohw" attitude and Quentin with a small musical group of friends and a determined attitude, these two people are complete opposites. But understand each other phenomenally. Quentin along with his friends take on the mysterious disappearance of their popular runaway friend, Margo Roth Spiegelman. Read the first 2 chapter's and find out if PAPER TOWNS pulled you in!
Date published: 2015-03-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read I enjoy John Green's writing, the quirky characters that he creates tend to pull me in. I like how he takes ideas and explores them, and Paper Towns is no exception. He examines how we see each other, and what it takes to really know another person -- huge topics, and full of teenaged angst. The actual story is good, and moves at various speeds. I found that I liked the main character, Quentin, and really wanted to see how things would work out for him and see if he would find the real Margot. Overall, a good young adult read, especially for those who like quirky fiction.
Date published: 2015-02-04
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not very good I found this book to be very boring. After the first couple of chapters it got to be very boring and repetative.
Date published: 2015-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One Of My All-time Faves i got this book as a birtthday present and i am so thankful for that because this book was AMAZING!! if you havent read YOU NEED TO and i promise you you wont regret it. i like how this book isnt exactly the romance kinda book unlike john green's other books. i mean it has romance in it but it there is also this mystery part to it. i'm not really one for mystery novels but this book is definitely an exception. i really enjoyed how this book made me think. metaphors are thrown around all over the book and its amazing how john green makes it so that its a challenging read but at the same time a feelgood book. even if you dont read mystery or romance novels, you have to read this one because i swear there is nothing i would change about it; its beyond perfection. amazing work, john green!!
Date published: 2014-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unexpected and Still So Great! Okay, this book is not at ALL what I was expecting. Not even close. It’s a sort of detective story … about a detective story? This girl named Margo Roth Spiegelman is a total mystery to everyone - her family, her friends. But her childhood (and no longer) best friend, and also her next door neighbour, finds her the most mysterious of all. He spends one crazy night with this crazy girl and thinks he knows everything about her. What he realizes is she is not the paper girl that everyone else sees. This was my first ever John Green book and I love his writing style. It’s very conversational which I love in a YA book like this one. This is a true coming of age novel. Discovering yourself through those around you. My favourite sort of lesson from this novel is that no matter how much you listen to or watch someone else, it doesn’t teach you anything about them - it teaches you about YOU. You learn who you are through the people who surround you. A great read with a young male narrator. Highly recommend if you want something unexpected and impossible to “figure out” before the ending!
Date published: 2014-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from John Green is a literal genius! My love for this wonderful man started with this book! Since then I have read and own almost every novel he's written. This story had me hooked from the first few pages, and I couldn't put it down after! I fully recommend it to anyone with a couple free days, as you won't want to stop until you've read the very last page. I also would recommend finding every other novel written by John Green- you'll fall in love with every character!
Date published: 2014-03-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Paper Towns Tom Green shows his amazing talents in this novel, Paper Towns. He gives the characters so much depth and makes them relatable. There were times I laughed out loud, other times I felt sad, overall it was an amazing novel and I can't wait to read it again!
Date published: 2014-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My favourite John Green book Well I just finished this book and am currently feeling like a basket case of emotion so I apologize in advance for this most likely incoherent review.  I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did!  So first of all let me get into the 2 reasons why, although this book came very close, I did not give it a full 5/5.1) While I loved Part 1 of the book and Part 3 even more, Part 2 seemed to drag on and I found myself getting disinterested from the plot. There were definitely moments in Part 2 that I really enjoyed like the visits to the mini mall, the interaction with Gus, the aftermath of Q and Margo's revenged filled night, and most of all the party. Oh man there were so many times where I found myself laughing out loud during this book and the drunken Ben scenes were definitely a highlight. However I just think that had Part 2 been a little bit more fast paced, although I do understand why it wasn't, I mean it does span a month of these characters' lives, I feel that I would have just enjoyed this part of the story more.2) The ending. Now I won't be spoiling anything here, and don't' get me wrong it's not that I hated the ending, but I was just left feeling unsatisfied. I don't feel closure from this book at all and that's perhaps the reason why I just sat in my room crying for the past 10 minutes.... don't judge. It was just such a beautiful story and I was so immersed in these characters and in Q's journey for Margo, and after hearing all the revelations and answers in the last few pages of the book, I just didn't want it to end! So really this frustration is less so with the ending itself, but simply due to the fact that I refuse to believe this is the end of their story and I just want to see more. NOW ON TO THE GOOD THINGS and believe me when I say there were a lot of them! First of all John Green's writing was top notch in this book, but perhaps the reason I enjoyed this one so much was the humour. I LOVED all of Q, Ben and Radar's interactions! Their friendship just seemed so realistic and fun and all their conversations were hilarious. My personal favourite scenes with all 3 of them had to be the black santa scene. THAT SCENE OH MY GOODNESS, I was literally guffawing (yes, I just said guffawing), and might I add I was reading this in a public area, but that didn't stop me from laughing hysterically with no shame. I absolutely loved Radar's character and his "dedication" (dedication is a kinder word than obsession) to Omnictionary. Now Ben's character did annoy me in the beginning (I think mostly because of his constant use of the term "honey bunny"), but after prom I just found him hilarious. Oh man I could talk about my favourite scenes from this book for ages BUT if I had to pick, my favourite Ben moments were the ones in the minivan with his peeing. OH and the scene where he saves them from the cow, aw man that was good stuff. The highlights of the entire book for me were definitely the two road trips. Those two trips were just filled with so much craziness that I FLEW through those parts! Of course I have to talk about Quentin and Margo. I think there are definitely some blatant similarities between Miles/Quentin/Colin (John's male protagonists from Katherines and Alaska). They're all high school guys who have an obsession with a girl (I know they're much more than just that, but that's the simplest way for me to summarize it), and while that attitude annoyed me in Katherines, I found Q to be my favourite male out of those 3. I found his "love" for Margo, even though he himself realizes that that love was more so for the idea of her, to be really well crafted and his personality far less annoying than that of Colin's. Let's just say if I decided to up and leave everything in my life behind and flee halfway across the country, I would definitely want to know that a guy like Q would be there looking for me every step of the way. Margo's character was very out there for me and while I struggled to connect with her decision making process I loved all her interactions with Quentin.  All in all I felt such strong emotional connections to these characters and I'm just sad to have to let them go. I loved the allusions to high school life and I think there are themes in this book that everyone can connect to within these pages. Paper Towns has definitely been my most enjoyable John Green reading experience thanks to the characters, the humour, and really even just the premise of these paper towns and how we choose to define ourselves. This was really a fabulous book and is for sure one of my new favourites. Highly HIGHLY recommend this!!!
Date published: 2014-01-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I wish Green had been around when I was a teen! If you are a person of a certain age, you probably have fond memories of John Hughes’ films. Even though I was already in my early 20′s when he started producing arguably the best teen movies ever – I was still young enough to see myself in the characters he committed to celluloid. Sixteen Candles is my all-time favourite Hughes film, for reasons which will be apparent to anyone who has ever seen the film. I still watch it occasionally and it still makes me laugh and it breaks my heart a little now that Hughes has died. Yes, you can argue that Jake Ryan isn’t perfect – he did let an underage, unlicensed driver take his very drunk girlfriend home in his father’s Mercedes, but it was the 80′s and, come on, Jake Ryan is pretty dreamy. Also, who didn’t see some part of themselves in the other characters on the screen: Molly Ringwald’s slightly awkward Samantha Baker, Anthony Michael Hall’s loveable dork. Everyone you ever went to high school with is lovingly represented in this flick and in Hughes’ other teen masterpieces, Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I would posit that John Green is this generation’s John Hughes and I hope Mr. Green will consider that a compliment because it is certainly meant as one. Last year because everyone and their dog was reading The Fault in Our Stars I did, too. That was a reading experience I will never forget – curled in the fetal position on my bed at 2 a.m., laughing then crying, then laughing again. That is the experience I want my students to have. The only other John Green book I have in my classroom library is Paper Towns and I just finished it yesterday. (Trust me, I’ll be rectifying the lack of Green books post-haste.) Paper Towns received rave reviews and the Edgar Award (a prize awarded by the Mystery Writers of America) and it’s totally deserving of both. Quentin Jacobsen is just weeks away from graduating from high school when his next door neighbour Margo Roth Spiegelman shows up at his window in the middle of the night. Although Quentin and Margo had been childhood friends, they’d drifted apart as they’d gotten older and now, in Quentin’s eyes at least, Margo is this exotic and beautiful creature, but not necessarily his friend. "Margo Roth Spiegelman, whose six-syllable name was often spoken in its entirety with a kind of quiet reverence. Margo Roth Spiegelman, whose stories of epic adventures would blow through school like a summer storm: an old guy living in a broken-down house in Hot Coffee, Mississippi, taught Margo how to play guitar. Margo Roth Spiegelman, who spent three days traveling with the circus – they thought she had potential on the trapeze. … The stories, when they were shared, inevitably ended with, I mean, can you believe it? We often could not, but they always proved true." Quentin’s best friend, Ben, describes Margo as “the kind of person who either dies tragically at twenty-seven, like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, or else grows up to win, like, the first-ever Nobel Prize for Awesome.” Anyway, Margo needs Quentin’s help. She also assures him that this will be the best night of his life. Quentin is a guy who generally plays by the rules, so his decision to help Margo is slightly out of character for him. Nevertheless, he helps Margo carry out a list of tasks, some of them vengeful and some of them contemplative and he is indeed changed by the experience. Which is why when Margo suddenly disappears, he is compelled to follow the breadcrumb trail of clues she’s left behind. Paper Towns is a clever mystery for sure, but that’s not the only reason to admire the heck out of it. What I love about John Green is the way he writes dialogue. His characters are smart and funny and honest-to-goodness people. In the same way that John Hughes made his characters painfully awkward or awesome or self-deprecating or ironic, Green’s teens are whole and fragile and super smart and laugh-out-loud funny. And they think thinky-thoughts. The fact that Paper Towns is set in Orlando, Florida (John Green’s hometown) is significant. Margo says “you can see how fake it is…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.” Quentin’s journey to find Margo makes him question not only everything he thought he knew about her, but also everything he believes about himself and Green does a great service to his characters (and the young adults who will be reading this book) by not giving us pat answers. So – read John Green. Watch John Hughes. Through their eyes you’ll see teenagers at their worst…and their best. And it’s all beautiful.
Date published: 2013-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from emotional, real, thoughtful and amazing I heard a lot of bad things about this book. Many told me that the characters seem to be too much like the ones from Looking For Alaska, and that its kind of dry. They think the ending could've been better. I can't tell you how wrong they are. John Green has crafted another amazing and beautiful YA book, with humor and emotional depth. Its fun and engaging and so different from a lot of other books I have read. But althought it is fun, its filled with a level of seriousness and depth and character growth that many people wouldn't be able to appreciate. Paper Towns is, although entertaining, also depressing and sad. But definitely in a good way. Quentin ('Q') leads a fairly normal life: he has friends, does his school work, and is on the verge of graduating from high school. Oh, and he has a crush on a popular and beautiful girl - his next door neighbour and childhood friend. So when Margo, this fantastic girl-next-door, a wild and adventerious beauty, climbs into his bedroom window in the night dressed lkke a ninja, Q is more than surprised. She asks him to help her solve 11 problems, he decides to follow. After a night of fun and getting to really know the girl he once knew, Margo just... disappears. The next day, she cant be found. Her parents aren't worried and say that she has run away numerous times before, and Q knows this, and he alsk knows she has left clues for her parents. But when he finds one, clearly for him, not her parents, it seems as if Margo wants Q to find her... to save her. Paper Towns is remarkable and beautiful and dramatic and one of my favourite John Green Books. It is anything but slow, and the chatacters are each unique and different - and yes, they do resemble the ones from LFA, but they are each different. Alaska and Margo are yes, alike, but they are also different people in different situations. Same thing goes for all the other characters. Paper Towns is definitely sad but is full of self-discovery and life-lessons and all the stuff that makes a book good, except Green brings more then just life-lessons. He has deep moments and there is just something about his writing that makes this book - all of his books - stand out. There is more then just your ordinary life-lessons - dont get me wrong, those are great, but Green brings MORE. Much, much more. Readers connect with the characters - Q and Margo and all of their friends - and relate to them, which is something Green is fantastic at. They seem real and have real feelings and readers dont read this book - they feel it. Readers feel and experience every emotion that Q (and Margo) feel, and it is truly amazing. Paper Towns is written by an awesome, talented writer, and is real and deep and dark but... not lighthearted, but filled with fun and funny moments to even it out. This book is powerful and emotional and touching and just overall a great book. The ending gives us just the right amount of closure to keep our minds interested and thinking about it long after we finish it. But seriously - this book is... woah. Just amazing. Definitely read it! Green pushes the limits and goes further then a lot of other authors would dare to go - and i respect your opinion if you think this book sucks, but i'm just sharing my opinion about how I think it is anything but sucky. Really - it is. See for yourself. Touching and heartwarming and heartbreaking - really, what more could you ask from John Green, a fellow Nerdfighter?
Date published: 2013-09-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Boxed in a Corrupted Image (Originally posted at Crying at work was not something I planned for that day, but it happened anyway. I flipped to the last page of Paper Towns and couldn't stop the tears from falling from my eyes. Even re-reading this book, it managed to reach into my heart and tug parts of me I like to keep hidden. The first time I read this book, it connected to me completely. I have never been happy with the city I live in and have been plotting to escape since childhood. At the time of reading this book, I was working hard in my senior year of high school so I could receive a great scholarship, and finally leave. Besides being hilarious, this book made me feel vindicated about my desperate need for escape. The second time reading it, my connection changed. Because this time when I had read it, my life had taken a completely different route. My hard work got me a scholarship, but I still could not afford to go to a university in a different city. Two of the most important people in my life had walked out of it, and left serious damage in their wake. I had lost my desire to leave, because I could not even picture how it was possible anymore. I was in a completely different situation than I thought I would be just months before, and one that I was not happy with. I picked up Paper Towns, and it, once again, helped me with all the problems I was dealing with. This time around, the idea of people's judgements of you was at the forefront. I could completely understand the idea of being placed in an impossible box, a box other people created for you, a box I never wanted to be in, and one that people could not accept you stepping out of. There was a pivotal conversation in the book which gave me so much insight into what I was going through at the time. I finally felt like all my feelings were put into eloquent words spoken from a boy who had to face the same reality I did. We imagine people a certain way, but that's a distorted reality, and one that is imposed on us daily. I can't be who everyone wants me to be, but I can be myself. And if that isn't enough for certain people, then they aren't meant to be in my life. Tough thing to accept, and something I'm still coming to terms with. The book itself was just fantastic. The only way to understand how amazing it is is to read it. The characters are realistic, hilarious, stunning in their truthfulness, and will become a part of you. John Green has a way of telling you your most broken thoughts, making you look at them squarely, and telling you how to handle them. This book had me crying of laughter, and smiling like crazy. It had me re-evaluating myself, and changed my out-look on life. If that isn't the sign of a fantastic book, I don't know what is. I had to include a quote from the book because it is simply everything that I learned, felt, and realized from Paper Towns. "It is easy to forget how full the world is of people, full to bursting, and each of them imaginable and constantly misimagined." As a little bonus to the review, I made a mini-playlist. The book had me thinking about going on a road trip, so I made a playlist of the songs that make me think of those montage-driving moments (there's 48 songs, but here's only 19 (for my almost age!)). I linked the songs to YouTube so anyone can listen to them. The name of my playlist? Escape from the Paper Towns: 1. New York (Saint in the City) - The Academy Is... 2. Summer of '69 - Bryan Adams 3. We Are Young - Fun. 4. Lucky Street - Go Radio 5. So Far Away (Bonus Track) - Mayday Parade 6. I Woke Up in a Car - Something Corporate 7. The Space Between - Valencia 8. Where Did You Go? - Valencia 9. Vagabond - Wolfmother 10. Take this to Heart - Mayday Parade 11.The Middle - Jimmy Eat World 12. Middle of Nowhere - Hot Hot Heat 13. Radar Love - Golden Earring 14. Ready to Go (Get Me Out of My Mind) - Panic! At the Disco 15. So, In This Hour... - The Rocket Summer 16. Days Like Masquerades - The Academy Is... 17. Jaime All Over - Mayday Parade 18. Toasted Skin - The Academy Is... 19. Hurricane - Something Corporate - Ciara who is lost at midnight
Date published: 2012-04-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from meh. one thing about this book: it was VERY well written. John Green did an exceptional job writing. However I was bored with the story after part 1. It took me a very long time to read because though it did initially grab my attention, it failed to keep it for very long. The only reason why I kept reading is because I wanted to know what happened in the end, which in all honestly wasn't as great as I had hoped. all in all, i'm rather disappointed. Probably not a book that I will be reading again.
Date published: 2012-02-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty Good!! I found Paper towns to be very similar to Looking for Alaska and maybe that's why I enjoyed it. I thought it was very well written and that the story just fell into place. It was never forced. However by the end I did find that some of the characters to be very one dimensional and the ending was rather predictable. Overall, not bad, definitely worth a read.
Date published: 2011-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! i LOVED this book! it was simply amazing. it was written wonderfully and the plot was interesting. all the clues Margo left behind were fasinating and always kept you thinking. my favourite part was the characters. they were some of my fave characters frtom any book. Margo is mysterious, and edgy. And Radar and Ben are hilarious! the humour really added to the book. i literally laughed out loud for many parts. :) buy it!
Date published: 2010-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Magnificent! This is a fantastic story, beautifully crafted and alarmingly real. I cannot say enough good things about this book. It is a must on everyone's "to read" list. Quintin and Margo were friends as children. But high school happened and they went their separate ways. One night Margo knocks on Quintin's window and takes him on an amazing night of debauchery, revenge and fun. Then Margo disappears without a trace. But she Leaves clues for Quintin to find her. The question is does she really want to be found?
Date published: 2010-05-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Had potential, but didn't live up to it. The prologue was gorgeous and rang true with the promise of an astoundingly well-written novel, as did the whole notion of strings tying us together. However, the thing about this book was that it moved me right up to the threshold of my emotional breaking point, and just as his words had gained enough momentum to make me cry or laugh endlessly (depending on the circumstances), the passage would end and be replaced by a newer, more neutral passage. It was almost as if Green was scared by the possibility of stirring his audience's emotions - which is absurd, because what else is the purpose of art but to stir the emotions and rouse the intellect of an audience?
Date published: 2009-10-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Made of Awesome One of the best books I've read. This book is made of awesome and it's nerdtastic. The witty and highly entertaining storytelling made me laugh out loud. I love how there are so many references to brotherhood 2.0 and the nerdfighter community. (Certain parts of the story were so "jokes".) Despite the unlikelihood of certain events (because most of us usually play on the safe side of life), I was awed by how much I can relate to one character in particular. I may also be biased in the review and rating of this book for this. This is one book I truly hope can be adapted for the big screen. Visit my book blog at for more reviews.
Date published: 2009-04-26
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Best Wishes! It was pretty funny reading this book and finding all the little jokes (ha, get it, JOKES) from Brotherhood 2.0.
Date published: 2008-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Refreshing Page Turner Anyone who loves books that pick you up in the present and take you back to a teenage time of fragility and confusion, ala Catcher in the Rye will appreciate this page turner. Just like John Green's previous books Looking For Alaska & An Abundance of Katherines, this one is also easily read. The reader is immediately taken in by the pace and tone of this book - we want to know more about the characters and what has brought them to this point. We can't wait to see what the future unfolds, since the plot presents us, early on, with the outline of what is to come - a well planned scheme of multiple pranks. On who? We are unsure. But boy, do we jump in page after page to find out! Anyone, teenager or adult, guy or girl, will completely enjoy this tale of adventure, love, loss, and discovery. How can you not? And if you did - well you should definitely check out the nerdfighters. nerdfighter you ask? John is one of the founding fathers of this new YouTube based community. John and his brother Hank started thier YouTube channel called Brotherhood 2.0 on Jan. 1, 2007 as their only way of communicating for the year - each brother alternating weekdays through video. The following that erupted in response led to the creation of nerdfighters as a term, and as a group. This 14,000 member group can be found on and off Youtube ( plus their own home on the web can be found at Trust me. You need to check them out if you haven't already!
Date published: 2008-10-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from =/ I'll probably get eaten alive for saying this, but I didn't like the book all that much. It was alright and I'll probably read it again but it didn't quite meet my expectations. In my opinion, it was the character development that was rather lacking. Neither Q nor Margo came alive to me. The only character that felt real was Lacey. I was a bit disappointed, but it definitely won't kick John Green off my favourite authors list.
Date published: 2008-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incomparable My sister is addicted to chocolate. And, as those of you with chocolate addictions know, there's a certain type of chocolate that really makes you salivate. For my sister, that chocolate is the Bueno. Now, generally, my sister's not picky when it comes to chocolate (people with addictions can't be). She'll take whatever she can get. Mars Bars and Coffee Crisps and Kit-Kat Bars. They're delicious, enough, I suppose, but the taste doesn't last long. Other chocolates like the Bueno (in my sister's case) are heavenly, the chocolate that she searches for in the midst of other chocolates-the one that she always buys again. Books are very much the same. Some books make you laugh or smile but in the end, you forget about them-much like those Mars Bars. Other books-those books that you linger over to make the adventure last longer, those books that you keep reading-those are the Buenos of books. Paper Towns easily falls into the second category, the Buenos of books. It is easily, easily, my favourite of John Green's books. Margo Roth Spieglman is a girl with guts. The daredevil, the popular one, the...everything. And, for a few years of her life, she was Quentin's or (Q's) best friend. Their friendship survived through mysteries...and dead bodies. But now, years later, in their senior year, it can pretty much be said that he barely knows her. But he does know of her and her crazy adventures. Everyone does. But Q's life is about to change when Margo crawls through his window with a revenge plan just crazy enough to work and a promise of what may be the best adventure of Q's life. The next morning when he comes to school, he expects answers (how will Margo act around him now?) but instead, he is greeted with more questions. Questions that will turn his view of Margo inside out. Questions that will change him forever. When I finished this book, my first though was I know why there are two covers. My second thought was *insert words not suitable for PG rated blogs* Seriously, this book is my idea of literature heaven. As you've probably noticed, we are pretty character-driven when it comes to novels. John Green did an excellent job at fleshing out the characters from Margo to Q to Q's best friends, Ben and Radar. Margo's big personality certainly shines and she is most certainly one of the Most Fascinating Characters that I have read about in any book. Just when you think you have her figured out, John Green throws some new information at you and you realize just how wrong you really were. Both Ben and Radar contribute a lot of humor to the novel and both had some really great moments. Both of them have real flaws and the three best friends don't have an absolutely perfect friendship which really contributes to the believability of the characters. The writing. Oh, the writing. I have to say, I'm not the type to write in my books but for this one, I may have to make an exception. There were moments in the novel where I felt like taking out a pencil and underlining the sentences because of their sheer brilliance. Just as with his other book, Paper Towns succeeds in being insightful but not boring. And, did I mention that it's also gut-splitting hilarious? Because it is. Have you ever read a wonderful book? If you haven't, Paper Towns will fix that. And if you have, tell us what it's called. Then, go and read Paper Towns and be dazzled. You won't regret it. And if you do... Don't tell us, cos we'll have you committed. Just kidding. But you know what we mean.
Date published: 2008-09-21

Extra Content

Read from the Book

PROLOGUEThe way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightning, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a small nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman. Our subdivision, Jefferson Park, used to be a navy base. But then the navy didn’t need it anymore, so it returned the land to the citizens of Orlando, Florida, who decided to build a massive subdivision, because that’s what Florida does with land. My parents and Margo’s parents ended up moving next door to one another just after the first houses were built. Margo and I were two.Before Jefferson Park was a Pleasantville, and before it was a navy base, it belonged to an actual Jefferson, this guy Dr. Jefferson Jefferson. Dr. Jefferson Jefferson has a school named after him in Orlando and also a large charitable foundation, but the fascinating and unbelievable-but-true thing about Dr. Jefferson Jefferson is that he was not a doctor of any kind. He was just an orange juice salesman named Jefferson Jefferson. When he became rich and powerful, he went to court, made “Jefferson” his middle name, and then changed his first name to “Dr.” Capital D. Lowercase r. Period. So Margo and I were nine. Our parents were friends, so we would sometimes play together, biking past the cul-de-sacced streets to Jefferson Park itself, the hub of our subdivision’s wheel.I always got very nervous whenever I heard that Margo was about to show up, on account of how she was the most fantastically gorgeous creature that God had ever created. On the morning in question, she wore white shorts and a pink T-shirt that featured a green dragon breathing a fire of orange glitter. It is difficult to explain how awesome I found this T-shirt at the time.Margo, as always, biked standing up, her arms locked as she leaned above the handlebars, her purple sneakers a circuitous blur. It was a steam-hot day in March. The sky was clear, but the air tasted acidic, like it might storm later.At the time, I fancied myself an inventor, and after we locked up our bikes and began the short walk across the park to the playground, I told Margo about an idea I had for an invention called the Ringolator. The Ringolator was a gigantic cannon that would shoot big, colored rocks into a very low orbit, giving Earth the same sort of rings that Saturn has. (I still think this would be a fine idea, but it turns out that building a cannon that can shoot boulders into a low orbit is fairly complicated.)I’d been in this park so many times before that it was mapped in my mind, so we were only a few steps inside when I began to sense that the world was out of order, even though I couldn’t immediately figure out what was different.“Quentin,” Margo said quietly, calmly.She was pointing. And then I realized what was different.There was a live oak a few feet ahead of us. Thick and gnarled and ancient-looking. That was not new. The playground on our right. Not new, either. But now, a guy wearing a gray suit, slumped against the trunk of the oak tree. Not moving. This was new. He was encircled by blood; a half-dried fountain of it poured out of his mouth. The mouth open in a way that mouths generally shouldn’t be. Flies at rest on his pale forehead.“He’s dead,” Margo said, as if I couldn’t tell.I took two small steps backward. I remember thinking that if I made any sudden movements, he might wake up and attack me. Maybe he was a zombie. I knew zombies weren’t real, but he sure looked like a potential zombie.As I took those two steps back, Margo took two equally small and quiet steps forward. “His eyes are open,” she said.“Wegottagohome,” I said.“I thought you closed your eyes when you died,” she said.“Margowegottagohomeandtell.”She took another step. She was close enough now to reach out and touch his foot. “What do you think happened to him?” she asked. “Maybe it was drugs or something.”I didn’t want to leave Margo alone with the dead guy who might be an attack zombie, but I also didn’t care to stand around and chat about the circumstances of his demise. I gathered my courage and stepped forward to take her hand. “Margowegottagorightnow!”“Okay, yeah,” she said. We ran to our bikes, my stomach churning with something that felt exactly like excitement, but wasn’t. We got on our bikes and I let her go in front of me because I was crying and didn’t want her to see. I could see blood on the soles of her purple sneakers. His blood. The dead guy blood.And then we were back home in our separate houses. My parents called 911, and I heard the sirens in the distance and asked to see the fire trucks, but my mom said no. Then I took a nap.Both my parents are therapists, which means that I am really goddamned well adjusted. So when I woke up, I had a long conversation with my mom about the cycle of life, and how death is part of life, but not a part of life I needed to be particularly concerned about at the age of nine, and I felt better. Honestly, I never worried about it much. Which is saying something, because I can do some worrying.Here’s the thing: I found a dead guy. Little, adorable nine-year-old me and my even littler and more adorable playdate found a guy with blood pouring out of his mouth, and that blood was on her little, adorable sneakers as we biked home. It’s all very dramatic and everything, but so what? I didn’t know the guy. People I don’t know die all the damned time. If I had a nervous breakdown every time something awful happened in the world, I’d be crazier than a shithouse rat. That night, I went into my room at nine o’clock to go to bed, because nine o’clock was my bedtime. My mom tucked me in, told me she loved me, and I said, “See you tomorrow,” and she said, “See you tomorrow,” and then she turned out the lights and closed the door almost-all-the-way.As I turned on my side, I saw Margo Roth Spiegelman standing outside my window, her face almost pressed against the screen. I got up and opened the window, but the screen stayed between us, pixelating her.“I did an investigation,” she said quite seriously. Even up close the screen broke her face apart, but I could tell that she was holding a little notebook and a pencil with teeth marks around the eraser. She glanced down at her notes. “Mrs. Feldman from over on Jefferson Court said his name was Robert Joyner. She told me he lived on Jefferson Road in one of those condos on top of the grocery store, so I went over there and there were a bunch of policemen, and one of them asked if I worked at the school paper, and I said our school didn’t have a paper, and he said as long as I wasn’t a journalist he would answer my questions. He said Robert Joyner was thirty-six years old. A lawyer. They wouldn’t let me in the apartment, but a lady named Juanita Alvarez lives next door to him, and I got into her apartment by asking if I could borrow a cup of sugar, and then she said that Robert Joyner had killed himself with a gun. And then I asked why, and then she told me that he was getting a divorce and was sad about it.”She stopped then, and I just looked at her, her face gray and moonlit and split into a thousand little pieces by the weave of the window screen. Her wide, round eyes flitted back and forth from her notebook to me. “Lots of people get divorces and don’t kill themselves,” I said.“I know,” she said, excitement in her voice. “That’s what I told Juanita Alvarez. And then she said . . .” Margo flipped the notebook page. “She said that Mr. Joyner was troubled. And then I asked what that meant, and then she told me that we should just pray for him and that I needed to take the sugar to my mom, and I said forget the sugar and left.”I said nothing again. I just wanted her to keep talking—that small voice tense with the excitement of almost knowing things, making me feel like something important was happening to me.“I think I maybe know why,” she finally said.“Why?”“Maybe all the strings inside him broke,” she said.While I tried to think of something to say in answer to that, I reached forward and pressed the lock on the screen between us, dislodging it from the window. I placed the screen on the floor, but she didn’t give me a chance to speak. Before I could sit back down, she just raised her face up toward me and whispered, “Shut the window.” So I did. I thought she would leave, but she just stood there, watching me. I waved at her and smiled, but her eyes seemed fixed on something behind me, something monstrous that had already drained the blood from her face, and I felt too afraid to turn around to see. But there was nothing behind me, of course—except maybe the dead guy.I stopped waving. My head was level with hers as we stared at each other from opposite sides of the glass. I don’t remember how it ended—if I went to bed or she did. In my memory, it doesn’t end. We just stay there, looking at each other, forever. Margo always loved mysteries. And in everything that came afterward, I could never stop thinking that maybe she loved mysteries so much that she became one.PART ONEThe Strings1.The longest day of my life began tardily. I woke up late, took too long in the shower, and ended up having to enjoy my breakfast in the passenger seat of my mom’s minivan at 7:17 that Wednesday morning.I usually got a ride to school with my best friend, Ben Starling, but Ben had gone to school on time, making him useless to me. “On time” for us was thirty minutes before school actually started, because the half hour before the first bell was the highlight of our social calendars: standing outside the side door that led into the band room and just talking. Most of my friends were in band, and most of my free time during school was spent within twenty feet of the band room. But I was not in the band, because I suffer from the kind of tone deafness that is generally associated with actual deafness. I was going to be twenty minutes late, which technically meant that I’d still be ten minutes early for school itself.As she drove, Mom was asking me about classes and finals and prom.“I don’t believe in prom,” I reminded her as she rounded a corner. I expertly angled my raisin bran to accommodate the g-forces. I’d done this before.“Well, there’s no harm in just going with a friend. I’m sure you could ask Cassie Hiney.” And I could have asked Cassie Hiney, who was actually perfectly nice and pleasant and cute, despite having a fantastically unfortunate last name.“It’s not just that I don’t like prom. I also don’t like people who like prom,” I explained, although this was, in point of fact, untrue. Ben was absolutely gaga over the idea of going.Mom turned into school, and I held the mostly empty bowl with both hands as we drove over a speed bump. I glanced over at the senior parking lot. Margo Roth Spiegelman’s silver Honda was parked in its usual spot. Mom pulled the minivan into a cul-de-sac outside the band room and kissed me on the cheek. I could see Ben and my other friends standing in a semicircle.I walked up to them, and the half circle effortlessly expanded to include me. They were talking about my ex-girlfriend Suzie Chung, who played cello and was apparently creating quite a stir by dating a baseball player named Taddy Mac. Whether this was his given name, I did not know. But at any rate, Suzie had decided to go to prom with Taddy Mac. Another casualty.“Bro,” said Ben, standing across from me. He nodded his head and turned around. I followed him out of the circle and through the door. A small, olive-skinned creature who had hit puberty but never hit it very hard, Ben had been my best friend since fifth grade, when we both finally owned up to the fact that neither of us was likely to attract anyone else as a best friend. Plus, he tried hard, and I liked that—most of the time.“How ya doin’?” I asked. We were safely inside, everyone else’s conversations making ours inaudible.“Radar is going to prom,” he said morosely. Radar was our other best friend. We called him Radar because he looked like a little bespectacled guy called Radar on this old TV show M*A*S*H, except 1. The TV Radar wasn’t black, and 2. At some point after the nicknaming, our Radar grew about six inches and started wearing contacts, so I suppose that 3. He actually didn’t look like the guy on M*A*S*H at all, but 4. With three and a half weeks left of high school, we weren’t very well going to renickname him.“That girl Angela?” I asked. Radar never told us anything about his love life, but this did not dissuade us from frequent speculation.Ben nodded, and then said, “You know my big plan to ask a freshbunny to prom because they’re the only girls who don’t know the Bloody Ben story?” I nodded.“Well,” Ben said, “this morning some darling little ninth-grade honeybunny came up to me and asked me if I was Bloody Ben, and I began to explain that it was a kidney infection, and she giggled and ran away. So that’s out.”In tenth grade, Ben was hospitalized for a kidney infection, but Becca Arrington, Margo’s best friend, started a rumor that the real reason he had blood in his urine was due to chronic masturbation. Despite its medical implausibility, this story had haunted Ben ever since. “That sucks,” I said.Ben started outlining plans for finding a date, but I was only half listening, because through the thickening mass of humanity crowding the hallway, I could see Margo Roth Spiegelman. She was next to her locker, standing beside her boyfriend, Jase. She wore a white skirt to her knees and a blue print top. I could see her collarbone. She was laughing at something hysterical—her shoulders bent forward, her big eyes crinkling at their corners, her mouth open wide. But it didn’t seem to be anything Jase had said, because she was looking away from him, across the hallway to a bank of lockers. I followed her eyes and saw Becca Arrington draped all over some baseball player like she was an ornament and he a Christmas tree. I smiled at Margo, even though I knew she couldn’t see me.“Bro, you should just hit that. Forget about Jase. God, that is one candy-coated honeybunny.” As we walked, I kept taking glances at her through the crowd, quick snapshots: a photographic series entitled Perfection Stands Still While Mortals Walk Past. As I got closer, I thought maybe she wasn’t laughing after all. Maybe she’d received a surprise or a gift or something. She couldn’t seem to close her mouth.“Yeah,” I said to Ben, still not listening, still trying to see as much of her as I could without being too obvious. It wasn’t even that she was so pretty. She was just so awesome, and in the literal sense. And then we were too far past her, too many people walking between her and me, and I never even got close enough to hear her speak or understand whatever the hilarious surprise had been. Ben shook his head, because he had seen me see her a thousand times, and he was used to it.“Honestly, she’s hot, but she’s not that hot. You know who’s seriously hot?”“Who?” I asked.“Lacey,” he said, who was Margo’s other best friend. “Also your mom. Bro, I saw your mom kiss you on the cheek this morning, and forgive me, but I swear to God I was like, man, I wish I was Q. And also, I wish my cheeks had penises.” I elbowed him in the ribs, but I was still thinking about Margo, because she was the only legend who lived next door to me. Margo Roth Spiegelman, whose six-syllable name was often spoken in its entirety with a kind of quiet reverence. Margo Roth Spiegelman, whose stories of epic adventures would blow through school like a summer storm: an old guy living in a broken-down house in Hot Coffee, Mississippi, taught Margo how to play the guitar. Margo Roth Spiegelman, who spent three days traveling with the circus—they thought she had potential on the trapeze. Margo Roth Spiegelman, who drank a cup of herbal tea with The Mallionaires backstage after a concert in St. Louis while they drank whiskey. Margo Roth Spiegelman, who got into that concert by telling the bouncer she was the bassist’s girlfriend, and didn’t they recognize her, and come on guys seriously, my name is Margo Roth Spiegelman and if you go back there and ask the bassist to take one look at me, he will tell you that I either am his girlfriend or he wishes I was, and then the bouncer did so, and then the bassist said “yeah that’s my girlfriend let her in the show,” and then later the bassist wanted to hook up with her and she rejected the bassist from The Mallionaires.The stories, when they were shared, inevitably ended with, I mean, can you believe it? We often could not, but they always proved true.And then we were at our lockers. Radar was leaning against Ben’s locker, typing into a handheld device.“So you’re going to prom,” I said to him. He looked up, and then looked back down.

Editorial Reviews

Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult MysteryNew York Times bestsellerUSA Today bestsellerPublishers Weekly bestsellerA Booklist Best Book of the YearAn SLJ Best Book of the YearA VOYA Best Book of the Year“Green’s prose is astounding — from hilarious, hyperintellectual trash talk and shtick, to complex philosophizing, to devastating observation and truths.” —SLJ, starred review“[Green’s] a superb stylist, with a voice perfectly matched to his amusing, illuminating material.” —Booklist, starred review“Laugh-out-loud humor and heartfelt poignancy.”—Kliatt, starred review“Green delivers once again with this satisfying, crowd-pleasing look at a complex, smart boy and the way he loves. Genuine—and genuinely funny—dialogue, a satisfyingly tangled but not unbelievable mystery and delightful secondary characters.”—Kirkus"Stellar, with deliciously intelligent dialogue and plenty of mind-twisting insights…a powerfully great read." —VOYA "Compelling." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books