Paper Towns by John Green

Speak, 2009, 305 pages (hardcover)

Speak, 2009, 305 pages (hardcover)

In the John Green hierarchy of book awesomeness, it is with a heavy heart that I’m actually able to call Paper Towns my least favourite. I still give it a 3 out of 5, but I was expecting something between a 4 or a 5. Maybe my expectations were too high, as it took me a good two years to get my hands on a copy. Maybe it’s because I’ve read literally all of John Green’s books and this felt like (don’t shoot me) more of the same.

This time around, Margo Roth Spiegelman is the unattainable girl that our first-person-narrated hero loves from afar. And when she disappears (not unlike Alaska in Looking for Alaska) the hero spends two hundred pages learning she’s not this carefree manic pixie dreamgirl (not unlike Looking for Alaska). Turns out Margo is a real girl with real problems. Nearing the end of the book comes the philosophical discussion that indefinitely confronts our protagonists’ deep-seated need to make a lasting difference in the universe (not unlike any of Green’s novels).

Okay, so I’m really poking fun here. Every author has a niche, and all I’m saying is I’m on to Green. I still think he’s the greatest living young adult author out there, because his writing is that good, and his humour is without fail. Sometimes I feel like his characters’ horniness-to-intelligence ratio is whack (in that they always seem to score pretty high on both) – but then I really know nothing about what it’s like to be a teenage boy. Paper Towns lost me in its last few pages, when [spoiler alert! highlight to read!] the romantic end felt more obligatory than necessary.

Still, for a light-hearted mystery, this fit the bill for a summer read.

AND NOW…

The John Green Hierarchy of Book Awesomeness (In My Humble Opinion)*:

1. The Fault in Our Stars (6 out of 5 stars and I can never read it again or the lack of newness will drop this score to a mere 5)

2. An Abundance of Katherines (4 out of 5 stars)

3. Looking for Alaska (4 out of 5 stars)

4. Will Greyson, Will Greyson (4 out of 5 stars)

5. Paper Towns (3 out of 5 stars, which is still a pass)

*I haven’t read Let it Snow or Zombicorns, neither of which I’d count as a true novel anyway….

Any thoughts? Agree, disagree? What does your list look like? Sound off below!

Acknowledgements: Yay or Meh?

The other day I finished a book with a somewhat unsatisfying ending. I thought I still had three more pages to go, but no, it was merely the author’s acknowledgements. I read them, partly because I needed to prolong the moment until the book was truly over, and partly because I always do. This time I was hoping they would lend me some insight as to why she chose that ending (it didn’t). Still, as I skipped the long list of names of people I don’t know or care about, and got to the funny thank-yous to immediate family, I wondered: am I the only person who pays attention to acknowledgements? It’s a little like reading a personal letter from the author, only it’s there for all the world to see! On the one hand it gives me a sense of who this person is in real life. On the other, it’s kind of like reading a long inside joke that you have no part of. So I want to know:

BONUS! The part where I introduce you to a handy dandy new tool just because I have a kind heart! In case you missed Kaite’s and my post about summer reading, here’s a relatively new website we’re excited to start using: What Should I Read Next? All you have to do is enter in one of your favourite novels, and it will generate a list of similar books based on user’s ratings. A great way to get ideas and recommendations! Why didn’t Dr. Internet come up with a cure for this classic ailment sooner?