“Paper Towns” by John Green (2008)
I am part of group on Facebook that reviews books for high school and we are in the middle of our first cyber book club. This was the first book set to read and I was quite pleased as Green is a very popular author with our students, but I hadn’t had a chance to read any of his books apart from “The Fault in Our Stars” so far.
I have been told before that Green writes to a winning formula and boy is that true. Although in this case, not so winning for me. The plot is simple – boy and girl neighbours, friends since forever, she’s popular and gone off the rails, he’s perfect and nerdy but unpopular. She drags him out of his room one night, a few weeks before graduation, to cause some mayhem in the name of revenge and the next day she disappears. The entire book is then about his attempts to find her, and his sudden popularity as a consequence of his involvement on the night of mayhem.
I kept waiting for something to happen. It never does. The kids are far too witty and smooth to be likable, the parents are ridiculous stereotypes, and the vanished girl is positively un-likable.
No way in the world would I ever teach this book. I wouldn’t recommend it to students either.
Endings matter a lot to me, which you’d know if you are a regular reader of this blog. This book’s ending sucked worse than toffee.