Would you recommend the book Paper Towns to a friend?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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John Green's novel Paper Towns is an enriching story of awakening and self-discovery, as well as a social commentary on consumerism, making it very worthy of recommendation.

Margo is the most popular girl in the school, yet no one truly knows the real Margo. She hides her true self, including her love of folk music and poetry. Even Quentin, who was her best friend in childhood and has worshiped her since, discovers he doesn't know the true Margo.

Quentin's journey of awakening, of realizing that Margo was not the miracle he had always thought of her as being but rather just a human being, begins when, before their high school graduation, she invites him to pull pranks with her around the town. As Margo phrases it, she was inviting him to set out to "right a lot of wrongs" with her. Yet, Margo soon goes missing, leaving clues to her whereabouts in Walt Whitman's poetry volume titled Leaves of Grass. Quentin soon goes on a cross-country trip to save Margo; along the way, he discovers she isn't whom he really thought her to be and that even Margo has yet to discover and "save" the true Margo.

Social commentary can be seen in Margo's protestations against society, especially in her famous passage referring to their Florida town as a "paper town":

It's a paper town. I mean look at it, Q [Quentin]: look at all those cul-de-sacs, those streets that turn in on themselves, all the houses that were built to fall apart.

Her message is that people are so self-consumed that they are weak and don't even realize it. She illustrates her message of self-consumption with examples of consumerism, such as kids drinking beer.

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