Paper Towns

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life–dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge–he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues–and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

Paper Towns debuted at #5 on the New York Times bestseller list and won the 2009 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery. It is taught in many high school and college curricular, often in conjunction with Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, which is an important text within the novel.

If you’ve read the book and don’t mind spoilers, you can find much, much more over at the Paper Towns Questions Page.

If you would like to read this book in another language, go to the translations page.

The movie adaptation of Paper Towns will be released in Summer 2015 starring Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne, and directed by Jake Schreier.

You can buy Paper Towns from your favorite retailer via the Penguin Portal!

Reviews (Spoiler Alert!)

“Green’s prose is astounding — from hilarious, hyperintellectual trash talk and shtick, to complex philosophizing, to devastating observation and truths. He nails it–exactly how a thing feels, looks, affects–page after page.”
-Johanna Lewis, School Library Journal, starred review

“A suspenseful mystery, a compelling central metaphor, and one of those road trips that every senior hopes he or she will have round out this exploration of the kind of relationship that can’t help but teach us a little bit about ourselves.”
-Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books, starred review

“A powerfully great read.”
-VOYA

“There are echoes of Green’s award-winning Looking for Alaska (2005): a lovely, eccentric girl; a mystery that begs to be solved by clever, quirky teens; and telling quotations (from Leaves of Grass, this time) beautifully integrated into the plot. Yet, if anything, the thematic stakes are higher here, as Green ponders the interconnectedness of imagination and perception, of mirrors and windows, of illusion and reality. That he brings it off is testimony to the fact that he is not only clever and wonderfully witty but also deeply thoughtful and insightful. In addition, he’s a superb stylist, with a voice perfectly matched to his amusing, illuminating material.
–Michael Cart, Booklist, starred review

{ 1334 comments… read them below or add one }

Gabriela E May 20, 2015 at 9:45 pm

Dear everyone,

Like many of you, my world has been changed by the fantastic writing of John Green. I also somewhat have shaped into these characters via how i speak and how i think. I just got done ready Paper Towns and i honestly hated the ending. Not because it was horrible or poorly written. Just because it was so truthful and the truth hurts. I grew fondly with each character throughout the book and i finished it within four days. This being the end. The ending to me brought up the definition of teenage life and our travail endings and beginnings that shape who we are for the rest of our lives. I kept rereading this fantastic book in my head in the last minutes after reading the ending, contemplating burning this book or crying (however the book was phenomenal, this is not hate mail). I came up with the conclusion that It speaks truth into how teenagers view our lives. Q was in this adventuring seeking the Margo that he knew but that he wanted to come to know more deeply in a more real way, not a “paper” way. In life we look for things that are unexpected by deep down we know the result and what is coming for us. It so truthful to Life in general. We all have set biases whether true or not about a certain thing per say and we often times go on a journey knowing the outcome before hand. I feel as though i already knew the ending way before Q commenced his journey. I could’ve stopped reading the book right then and there. This comes to show that the journey is much more thrilling and worth the time and the actual outcome. The ending didn’t make the book amazing, the journey that was taken reading it and becoming one with Q and having a deep desire to get to know the real Margo was better than even arriving at the destination.

–Gabriela E

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lilya benali May 20, 2015 at 10:05 pm

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JP May 21, 2015 at 11:51 am

I loved Paper Towns. It ended the only way it could have ended. We don’t know whether Margo will really keep in touch with Q, but for Q’s character he did what was true to him.

However it would also have been in character for Q to make a different choice. For what John Green wanted to say the ending he gave can be the only ending, yet I feel that Q will regret his choice. He will always wonder what could have been.

When Margo says “You can come with me to New York, it’ll be fun. It’ll be like kissing.” Q could just have easily said “You once said the best part for you was the planning because it’s never as good as you think it’s going to be. Well the best part for me is that our strings crossed again. That’s why I’m here and that’s why I can’t just go back to Orlando. I didn’t come all the way out here just to lose you again. So wherever it is you want to go, whether it’s New York or anywhere else Margo, I’m in. As long as you’ll have me, I’m with you all the way.”

Q knew that loving an idea of a person rather than the real person was dangerous, but he didn’t just love the idea of Margo. It doesn’t matter that he didn’t know everything about Margo, you don’t have to know everything about someone to know them and you don’t have to know them to love them. The point is he was willing to spend each and every day getting to know the one he loves and that is why it would have been in character for him to follow Margo.

If I had been Q, or if my life had a similar situation, nothing could have kept me from going with her. Nothing could have made me go back to Orlando. There would have been no hold for me there. When you find love you hold on to it, and if they leave you follow because if love is life’s true meaning than to let go of love is to let go of life.

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Catherine W May 21, 2015 at 9:19 pm

To everyone who reads this,
Not only is this a phenomenal book with an ending that was just too incredible to put into words I’m honestly stunned. This book isn’t predictable or outrageously frustrating. I’m truly hesitant to see the movie because I feel like it won’t portray the book correctly, in other words I don’t think it will have as much detail and they may edit out the parts that make you want to cry, laugh, and just smile. Definitely recommending this to everyone i can think of.

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