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.”

“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

{ 1965 comments… read them below or add one }

sandra May 27, 2016 at 3:25 am

holy crap, i’m stuck. i’m 16 and i have this project where i’m writing something from this book, like a reference.. and i hate to read? can someone give me a short reference? i’d love it! email me: @[email protected] or snap me: @sandra_princess


Ellie-Jean Royden May 31, 2016 at 9:14 am

Hello Sandra,

I suggest you give it a go, you might hate it still, in which case ask again, but please, have a go at reading it because it may change you :)

Btw, my opinions of the book are below :)


Eevee June 26, 2016 at 9:01 pm

K bro, its about a high shooler called Q who likes this girl Margo. She runs away and he finds clues. He is determend to find her.


Ellie-Jean Royden May 31, 2016 at 9:12 am

Dear John Green,

Around a year ago, I stumbled across a trailer about a boy who was in love with this incredible, mysterious, dream-like girl who went on incredible adventures and actually did something with her life. She gripped me so strongly that she threw my outlook on life in a totally different direction.

When I read Paper Towns for the first time I fell in love. I loved the concept of imagining and constantly mis-imagining someone , how everybody sees everybody and everything in a slightly different way and who’s to say who’s view is the right view. Was Margo’s view of herself who she really was? Was Q’s view of Margo even slightly accurate? Is my view of myself correct in any way? Are any of us even real in that respect, does identity even really exist? I found Paper Towns so inspiring, hilarious and moving. I loved how realistically you portrayed teenagers, in fact, your portrayal of teenage attitudes was the most accurate i’ve ever read or seen. Margo’s speech about how their town was just paper made me look at my life in a totally different way and it made me realise that nothing is real, it’s all fake, everybody is fake and we live on top of this horrible place where there are cracks in the walls and there are people dying everyday and we just continue with our little lives totally oblivious to the rest of this world.

More than anything, I loved Margo. I loved how she lived, totally on her own terms; she totally escaped the cycle that society has set in stone, she slipped through the cracks and managed to find her own life amongst all the paper. This life that we live, it’s all for nothing or it can be for everything. WE are all stuck in this cycle of go to school, get a job, get married, have a child and then they will do the same thing and we are stuck in this inevitable cycle of nothing happening forever until somebody dares to step out of line. The way Q saw Margo was really interesting; she appears to be the kind of girl who has so much power, can do anything if she wants to, is beautiful, has connections, has done everything, is intelligent, has no fear. But the truth is, she was terrified and more complex than Q ever thought she was. Behind it all there was a person, a real person, as you said she wasn’t a god or this untouchable being she was just a girl. Just a girl. A girl with a life who was confused and lost. It sort of gives you hope that to someone else I could look like that strong Margo, and nobody really is like that, nobody is perfect, just people trying to find out why we are here and what we are meant to do with our lives.

Over the past year, since I read your book for the first time, I have started a bucket list and I have written down all the incredible things that I want to do. SO far I have made a list of 389 individual things I wish to do and I have completed 49! But, being a 15 year old girl makes travelling and doing incredible things very difficult.

Your book changed me. I have managed to achieve self-confidence, overcome judgemental or jealous emotions towards others and just generally become an even happier person.

Thank you so much

Ellie :)


Rhea June 6, 2016 at 12:47 pm

I could not have put it better myself. :)


Eevee June 26, 2016 at 9:04 pm

dude she said SHORT!!!!


oscar June 1, 2016 at 12:33 am

” la hierba me trajo a ti, me ayudó a imaginarte como una persona real. Pero no somos brotes diferentes de la misma planta. Yo no puedo ser tú. Tú no puedes ser yo. Puedes imaginarte a otro… pero nunca perfectamente, ¿ Sabes ? ” ……………………simplemente me encanta el libro, gracias John Green por compartir un fragmento de su mas profunda inspiración… de un gran admirador suyo


Juhi Singh June 1, 2016 at 6:52 am

Dear John Green,

Yesterday I finished reading this incredible novel “Paper Towns”. My heart was touched in the end.I truly loved that hilarious, brilliant, tragical and thought provoking book.After reading it I just couldn’t stop myself from writting this to you. I don’t know how you just planted the thoughts of witty in it. The book also teached me a lesson. Not just any other lesson, a real lesson. A lesson about life. A lesson which I’d always remember in my lifetime.A lesson about the way of looking at things. A lesson about problems and their solutions. A lesson about understanding people and their behaviours.At the age of thirteen, I was thrilled after reading this novel. I understood that every person is different and his/her way of looking at things differs. We just cannot assume anyone to do anything the way we like. When Q came to a conclusion that Margo was not a miracle or an adventure but she was a girl, she had her own feelings and needed attention too, I realized that sometimes understanding someone just becomes so difficult. Sometimes, its just very hard to figure out who someone actually is. “What a treacherous thing it is to believe that a person can be more than a person.”

I also loved Whitman’s awesome poetry in between. The metaphors were great.The windows, the grass, the vessel and the strings. I was mesmerized. I truly admire all your contribution and hardwork towards writing this book. Reading it was worth something. Thank you for writing such a fantastic novel and teaching me all these lessons.

I look forward for a reply.

Yours truly,
Juhi Singh


John Green June 3, 2016 at 11:53 am

Thank you.


Eevee June 26, 2016 at 8:57 pm

Bro, i love the insparation.

(yes i AM 10 and a girl) jsyk


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Isabel June 17, 2016 at 12:22 am

Amazing book ,, loved every page of it!


JOHN CENA June 21, 2016 at 12:42 am



Eevee June 26, 2016 at 8:48 pm

Hey dude, witch character is your faveorite? Im most like Ben, but Q was my faveorite because he was inspiering.


Eevee June 26, 2016 at 8:54 pm

Dude I totally loved the movie, but i havent read the book yet. Your lucky to have made a perfectly successful movie and book that everyone should read and watch. John, i hope you make a Paper Towns 2.

Eevee Rain


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