I’m 17% of the way through Paper Towns, I have a vague idea of what it’s about, and still no memory of what prompted me to put it on hold at the library. So far, I’m laughing my head off as I’m reading it.
It’s about a group of high school students in a suburb in Florida. The main character is a nerdy kid (I wonder how much of it is autobiographical) named Quentin Jacobsen – or “Q” to his friends. He lives next door to a girl his age named Margo Roth Spiegelman – who is always referred to by all three names. Q has a bit of a crush on Margo Roth Speigelman, but the two have never been romantically involved. They’re close friends. (But Q insists: “We’re not friends, we’re neighbors.”) As young children, they discovered, together, the body of a man who had committed suicide. (I wonder if that’s going to fit into the story later.)
I’m especially fond of this description of Q’s friend Radar:
“We called him Radar because his looked like a little bespectacled guy called Radar on this old TV show M*A*S*H, except 1. The TV Radar wasn’t black, and 2. At some point after the nicknaming, our Radar grew about six inches and started wearing contacts, so I suppose that 3. He actually didn’t look like the guy on M*A*S*H after all, but 4. With three and a half weeks left of high school, we weren’t very well going to renickname him.”
I’m at the point in the story where Margo Roth Spiegelman has snuck over to Q’s house in the middle of the night to enlist his (reluctant) help in her 11-step revenge plan against her ex-boyfriend and everyone involved in the breakup. The plan involves: three whole catfish (wrapped separately), Veet, Vaseline, a six-pack of Mountain Dew, one dozen tulips, one bottle of water, tissues, one can of blue spray paint, The Club – and Q’s car.
It’s an interesting experience, having seen and heard the author, John Green, on YouTube, for so long before reading this book. I can’t read the words without hearing them in his voice.