To be totally honest, when I received this book for review I wasn't all that sure about it. Having never read any of John Green's previous work, I don't really know why this was other than I hated the cover. However I'm glad I was sent this one, as it turned out to be the most beautifully written story and I adored every minute.
Quentin (Q) has been infatuated with his next-door neighbour, Margo, since they were both 9 years old and were involved in a traumatic experience. But to Q, Margo is completely unobtainable; she's magical, courageous, wild and unique where as he's a bit of a geek, self conscious and timid. I wasn't expecting to like and relate to Q as much as I did, not being a teenage male myself. But I'm sure we've all known someone like Margo, who we see as so perfect but completely out of our league, and idolise so much they become almost godlike in our imaginations. He also has all the qualities required so that anyone, of any age can identify with him, with flaws as human as they come. He's a bit dorky, easily embarrassed, obsessive and impatient. He's also sensitive, thoughtful and loyal. Above all though, he's just a really nice kid and someone you would want to be friends with.
The other characters in the book are equally well rounded. Q's friends, Radar and Ben each have their own quirks, which make them completely believable. The dynamics and dialogue between the three miss-fit boys is superb, ranging from hysterically funny, cringe-worthy, contemplative and touching. I really liked seeing such close friendship from a male perspective, something I have rarely come across. Although Margo is the main focus of the book, for the majority she is missing and in solving the mystery of her disappearance, and indeed who she actually is, Q embarks on a surprising journey of self-discovery. Margo herself is exactly what Q imagines her to be to begin. On their one night together she's fun, crazy, vivid, passionate and wild but through Q's investigation, as a reader you are taken on the same journey as he, realizing that the way you see and imagine people is rarely who they really are.
Paper Towns is quite simply a wonderful and beautiful Book. It starts with fun filled energy and continues with intrigue and mystery that will keep you turning the pages. I really wanted to know what had happened to Margo, more than I remember wanting to know the ending of a book for a long time. I couldn't predict any of the plot and it was constantly surprising and fresh. John Green's writing ranges from truly funny one-liners to thoughtful and poignant with a cast of characters you will genuinely truly care about; even days after finishing I'm still thinking about them. Highly recommended.