Jan Stafford Kellis

Paper Towns by John Green

I’ve been out of high school for, shall we say, a couple of decades, maybe a little more. At least two fat decades. High school was fun while I was there, but I’ve been thankful every day since graduation that I don’t have to return to the daily humiliation, embarrassment, and high anxiety of those years.

John Green has somehow managed to write a story about high school seniors that captures all of the best parts of high school, while still providing a realistic sense of the daily struggles and existential angst endured by most teenagers. The story is narrated by Quentin, who’s had a lifelong crush on his next door neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman. When Margo disappears, near the beginning of the book, Q makes it his mission to find her. He and his two best friends discover some vague clues that lead them in her general direction.

The story culminates in an epic road trip, full of energy and hope and worry and determination. I laughed out loud to myself a few times reading this book, and I’m sure I nodded in agreement with many of Green’s statements. If you’re looking for something about friendship, love, family, the teenage experience, and death (but just a little), you’ve found it.