Paper Towns PDF – Overview
Paper Towns is a novel written by John Green, primarily for an audience of young adults, and was published on October 16, 2008, by Dutton Books. The novel is about the coming-of age of the protagonist, Quentin “Q” Jacobsen and his search for Margo Roth Spiegelman, his neighbor and childhood sweetheart. During his search, Quentin and his friends Ben, Radar, and Lacey discover information about Margo.
John Green drew inspiration for this book from his experience and knowledge of paper towns during a road journey through South Dakota. It debuted at number five on the New York Times bestseller list for children’s books and was awarded the 2009 Edgar Award for best young adult novel. A film adaptation was released on July 24, 2015.
Plot summary of Paper Towns
Paper Towns mostly takes place in and around Jefferson Park, a fictional subdivision located in suburban Orlando, Florida and focuses on narrator and protagonist Quentin “Q” Jacobsen and his neighbor Margo Roth Spiegelman, with whom Quentin has always had a romantic fascination. As preadolescents, Quentin and Margo together discovered the corpse of a local man who committed suicide in their neighborhood park.
Nine years later, Quentin is an outcast whose best friends are Ben and Radar, while Margo is a popular student—both now seniors at Winter Park High School. A month before their graduation, Margo suddenly reappears in Quentin’s life, climbing through his bedroom window as she did during their first meeting. She has devised an eleven-part plan of vengeance on a group of people she feels have hurt her during her time at high school.
These people include her cheating boyfriend Jase and peers Lacey and Becca. Margo needs an accomplice and a car to help her, and Quentin accepts. Margo and Quentin successfully complete the tasks, share a romantically ambiguous dance, and return to their homes around dawn.
The next day, Quentin wonders hopefully if Margo will start hanging out with him, but Margo is reported missing by her parents after three days. Quentin, Ben, and Radar soon discover a series of items that Margo has left hidden for Quentin: a picture of Woody Guthrie on Margo’s bedroom window shade, Margo’s highlighted copy of Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of Myself”, and a written address in Quentin’s bedroom doorjamb.
Quentin and his friends follow these clues to find an abandoned mini-mall in Christmas, Florida, that contains evidence of Margo’s recent presence. Quentin struggles to analyze all of Margo’s clues and leftover materials in the mini-mall. He suspects the clues are meant to lead him to her current whereabouts, though he worries she may have committed suicide.
Based on a note Margo has left referring to “paper towns”, Quentin realizes Margo may be hiding or buried in one of the many abandoned housing subdivisions—”pseudovisions” or “paper towns”—around Orlando. He drives to all of the pseudovisions where he feels that she may be hiding, but he cannot find her. On the day of his graduation, Quentin comes across an obscure Internet post, with a comment left on it.
Which Quentin recognizes as Margo’s due to its distinctive capitalization, which tells him that Margo has been hiding in a fictitious town in New York State called Agloe (which was created as a copyright trap by mapmakers) and that she plans to leave Agloe immediately after noon on May 29. Quentin, Radar, Ben, and Lacey impulsively skip graduation to drive to Agloe to search for her, rushing to get from Florida to New York before noon on May 29.
In Agloe, they discover Margo is living in an old, dilapidated barn. She is shocked to see them, which angers the group, who expected her to be grateful for their presence. Margo had left those clues only to assure Quentin that she is okay, and did not want to be found. Angry at her lack of gratitude, Radar, Ben, and Lacey leave and spend the night at a motel.
Quentin realizes the image he had of Margo was as fake as the one that she had been projecting to everyone else and becomes furious at her for wasting his time. Margo argues that Quentin saved her for egotistical reasons: he wanted to be a knight in shining armor who saved the troubled girl. Ultimately, Quentin accepts that it was unfair for him to expect Margo to live up to his perfect image of her, and he begins to logically overcome his sexual attraction towards her.
After their conversation, Margo decides to go to New York City and asks Quentin to accompany her. Quentin wants to stay with her, and they kiss, but he understands his home life and responsibilities prevent him from going. Margo promises to Quentin that she will keep in contact with him.
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