Tag Archives: John Green

Paper Towns

Paper Townsby John Green

Teenagers are a strange breed, whatever their nationality or background. I know because I was one once, as was my daughter!  I have read a number of books for and about teenagers over the past few years and I have to say that John Green’s novels are the most useful in helping to understand this large and varied group. 

Paper Towns is the story of Margo Roth Spiegelman and Quentin Jacobson, long-term neighbours whose relationship is the central pillar around which the plot revolves. Quentin loves his wayward neighbour but Margo herself does not seem to feel the same way. Close as youngsters, by the time they face graduation from High School their relationship is distant. That is until Margo seeks Quentin’s help with revenge on some of her so-called friends. The following day, Margo has disappeared and Quentin seems to be the only person who cares about what has happened to her.

Rather helpfully, Margo has left a series of clues as to her intentions which Quentin and his closest friends attempt to follow. But the events of that summer leave all their lives changed, not always in ways they might have anticipated. For Quentin, that summer offers opportunities for self-discovery that Margo, even her absence, opens up to him.

As an observation of teenage angst and troubles, Paper Towns is one of the best I have read. It is amusing, insightful and entertaining but also tackles some interesting issues. Although Margo herself remains physically absent for the greater part of the book, her influence on those around her is profound. I enjoyed the book immensely and would recommend it. 


The Fault In Our Stars

by John Green

The Fault In Our StarsI saw the film adaptation of The Fault In Our Stars when it was at the cinema last year. Whilst it is not the kind of film I would normally go to the cinema to watch, I was very taken with the film and its subject.
Having already seen the film I thought I knew what to expect from the book. It is basically the story of two teenage cancer sufferers who are draw to each other and find strength and conform in their relationship.

I had expected the book to be depressing, but it is not. Instead, it is funny, heart-warming and, above all, positive. There are moments of sadness, which is to be expected. But overall I found the book to be uplifting and encouraging. 

Told from the perspective of 16 year old Hazel Lancaster, it is the story of how two teenagers, Hazel and Augustus, deal with the combined traumas of teenage love and terminal cancer. At times it is not clear which frightens them the most!

This is one of the best books I have read for a very long time. I was drawn into the story right from the start and didn’t want it to end. Partly due to the inevitability of the outcome, but also because of the writing itself.

A great novel and one I feel almost certain to read again.