Book Review: "Paper Towns" a literary delight

John Green Paper Towns> Fiction> Dutton Books

Rarely does a so-called "young adult" novel appeal to readers of all ages, but John Green's "Paper Towns," accomplishes this feat through its intricate development of characters, intelligent wit and fast-moving plot.Green calls upon his inner nerd to create protagonist Quentin Jacobsen.

Quentin or "Q," as most characters call him, is a high school senior trying to squeeze in quality time with his friends before their imminent prom and graduation. Q's love interest and next-door neighbor Margo Roth Spiegelman drives the plot of "Paper Towns."

Q has been in love with Margo since they were children, and when she shows up at his bedroom window one night asking him to accompany her on a carefully planned adventure, Q can't refuse. Although it seems like Margo is your typical "popular girl" character at first, she proves to be much deeper and more enigmatic as the story goes on.

Throughout the novel she tries to shed her contrived image by embracing her free and adventurous spirit. After the wild night that she shares with Q, Margo ends up missing and it becomes apparent that she has run away. While the novel starts out as a "one crazy night" story, it quickly morphs into the journey of finding Margo after her disappearance.

With the help of his equally quirky friends, Q begins piecing together clues purposefully left by Margo that will eventually lead him to her location.While trying to physically locate Margo, the characters also work on an abstract level.

Throughout the novel, the characters each reveal their perception of Margo and during the search for her they come to realize how far off their opinions had been.Green utilizes first-person narration to convey a personal reading experience and likewise to help cue the readers in to what Q, the narrator, is thinking."Paper Towns" debuted at number five on the New York Times Bestseller List when it was first released in early October.

The book's popularity prompted Mandate Pictures of "Juno" fame to option the movie rights for the screenplay; a film version of the book is likely in the works.John Green is also the author of the novels "Looking For Alaska" and "An Abundance of Katherines," both of which have won the Michael L. Printz Award and various other awards of literary merit. He is set to have a joint book of short stories coming out later this year entitled "Let it Snow: Three Holiday Stories," so stay tuned.