">“Peeing is like a good book in that it is very; very hard to stop once you start."
John Green is a masterful writer who manages to capture the angst, and reality of adolescences. He writes as one who remembers all of the pains and triumphs of being a teen without the "outside looking in" feel that so many authors of this genre are encumbered by when writing.
The focus of this novel is the Quentin "Q" an awkward but bright 18 year old senior in high school. He has always been a bit in awe and in love with his neighbor Margo. As in most cases, as we grow up the friends we had in elementary school and middle school become a thing of the past; this is what happens between Margo and Q. They remain neighbors, attend the same high school but reside in vastly different worlds.
As youngsters they stumble upon a tragic "mystery" that affects them both in different ways. Margo becomes fearless and Q experiences more fears of many things. "I think maybe the reason I have spent most of my life being afraid is that I have been trying to prepare myself, to train my body for the real fear when it comes. But I am not prepared."
While not friends, Margo, who has become very popular, ensures that Q and his "band geek" nerdy friends are not harassed by the high school elite. Margo and Q have gone years without exchanging nearly a word, until one night near the end of their senior year.
Margo appears in Q's room and asks him to help her take care of some "stuff". Q is terrified of getting caught but drawn in by Margo; who he cannot tell no and embarks on what he believes is the most terrifying and best night of his life." And we are going to wrong some rights. The first shall be last; the last shall be first; the meek shall do some earth-inheriting. But before we can radically reshape the world, we need to shop."
However, the next morning everything changes and Margo is gone. Q cannot move on and begins a journey that encompasses more than just miles of driving, but a self-discovery for all who travel with him. Q will never be the same but who he discovers is worth all the terror, fun, and sadness.
This book is an incredible story of self-actualization and just plain fun. It makes us realize why we are still so impacted by our time in high school, in spite of the fact we only spend four short years there. High school leaves an indelible mark on us all and John Green's Paper Towns is an incredible journey! "The town was paper, but the memories were not. All the things I'd done here, all the love and pity and compassion and violence and spite, kept welling inside me. These whitewashed cinder block walls. My white walls. Margo’s white walls. We’d been captive in them or so long."