Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life - dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge - he follows.
After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues - and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.
This was the audio version of Paper Towns that I borrowed from the library. It was eight hours and three minutes. However, borrowing from the library was somewhat difficult for me. I had to get another program other than Overdrive, which is what the library uses to download their audio books. Then I had to reset my computer so that audio books downloaded into the Overdrive folder instead of Windows Media Player which cannot read the Overdrive files because of a suffix. In all, it took several hours of my time to figure out what was wrong and correct the problem. Thankfully, the library help section had the information I needed.
Also the chapters on the Overdrive book, do not match the chapters the audio book, so I kept getting lost when I had to move to a new part of the book. Overdrive downloads in parts so there were five or six parts to this novel. That got very confusing when my iPod had chapter 34 and the audio said chapter 12. The narrator, Dan Miller, was really good, excellent in fact. At first I thought he was too old to portray a teenage boy and then I remembered how my son's voice is changing and I thought, no it's probably just right. And the way he changed his voices for different characters was fantastic, especially the character of Radar.
To the story. I have not read a John Green story, though I've read great reviews of them. There were some slow parts to the story to me, but for the most part, I can't believe it was eight hours long. I had a few family interruptions which ticked me off as I had announced I was listening to a book and I'd appreciate no interruptions. My husband was the worst. My iPod seemed to not like to stop quite as quickly as I needed it to. As I finally settled into the story, I lost all track of time and what was going on around me. I could easily picture Orlando, and the little suburb where Q and Margo lived. The story starts with Margo appearing out of nowhere, well her house, but she and Q are not friends, and she asks him to drive her around all night long as they carry out a plan of revenge Margo has created against friends who have wronged her. Q fully expects to see her the next day and with only half an hour of sleep, he goes to school preserving his perfect attendance record and doesn't think anything of it when Margo doesn't show up. Of course, she needs her sleep.
Time goes by, Margo is missing and the police are called. Her parents say she's run away before, four times, and now that she's 18 they are washing their hands of her. Q is alarmed and sets off on a journey to find her believing that she's left clues to find her. With him on his journey are his best friend Radar, a computer whiz whose parents own the largest collection of black Santas in all the world, and Ben, who is irritating and obnoxious and is known as Bloody Ben at school. And an unlikely companion is Lacey, Margo's best friend, that Margo exacted revenge on for not telling her that her boyfriend was sleeping with someone else. Lacey is determined to find Margo so she can let her know she had no idea he was sleeping with someone else.
At times, as Q and friends are figuring out the "clues" Margo left behind, I felt as if I were reading 13 Reasons Why, by Jay Asher. But there is no evidence of a suicide, though at different points in the story, Q and sometimes all of the friends are afraid that Margo has killed herself, just the same. I liked the bond between the three boys formed years before. They were real friends despite each of them having faults and Radar and Ben really stick by Q in his relentless pursuit of finding Margo. It's not often that you see guys have such a strong bond unless it's through sports and then it's superficial. These guys were in band together, but they were friends outside of band. At one point Q leaves a place he's sure Margo will show up at, to be the designated driver after a prom party when an extremely drunk Ben calls him. There's a very funny "and I said, and she said, and I said " scene that isn't annoying with the narrator saying that because it's comical when a sober person is talking to an extremely drunk person.
There are some incredible laugh out loud scenes, some funny moments, no crying, at least not for me but then as I'm finding with audio books, I'm able to detach myself from the story easier than if I'm reading it. The ending is satisfying, and not predictable at all. I will read more of John Green's books. I like his story telling and the humor in it.
As far as age appropriateness goes. There is some swearing including the biggies, and a lot of reference to male genitalia. A few references to someone losing their virginity. So maybe older teens 14 or so on up. Oh, and there is drinking to the point of being throwing up drunk.
I'd recommend the audio version of this book to anyone that wants to read Paper Towns but doesn't have the time or for an introduction to John Green. It's a good laugh in some places. I'm sure if you wanted to get philosophical there are some places that he would make you think. I chose to gloss over them and just listen rather than think in depth. I enjoyed the narrator, as I said he did the different voices very well, you could always tell who was talking. I will probably listen to it again glaring at anyone who dares to interrupt me!
Heather in Sandwich