Quentin "Q" Jacobsen and his next-door neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman, played together as children, but over time Margo has become an unattainable girl of allure and mystery. Just a few weeks before graduation, the two reconnect when she suddenly appears at Q's window and asks for help with an all-night revenge spree targeting unfaithful friends and bullies throughout their Orlando neighborhood. This adrenaline-filled adventure kicks off Paper Towns, another insightful novel by the Printz award-winning novelistJohn Green, and refuels Quentin's desire for Margo.
But the next day Margo has vanished. Since the girl has disappeared before, leaving ambiguous clues and turning up in outlandish places, her family has written her off this time, and her high school friends are awaiting a spectacular return with an even more dramatic story of her escapades. Only Quentin fears the worst, that she has taken off to commit suicide, when he finds clues left specifically for him in highlighted passages of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.
His desperate search for Margo leads him in and out of abandoned subdivisions, what the girl once called "paper towns." Along the way, he realizes that his search is not just for Margo, but for the "real" Margo, the girl nobody really knew, perhaps not even himself. Helping Q solve the puzzle are Ben, who achieves instant popularity and a date with a possible prom queen despite his often sexist remarks, and Radar, a more grounded classmate with a Wikipedia-like website that cracks some of Margo's clues. Their witty, hilarious banter lightens Quentin's quest, and provides rich fodder for the friends' culminating road-trip investigation.
Like that famous saying, it is Q's journey rather than the destination that matters most. Whether or not he finds Margo and her paper towns, Quentin discovers love and finds that it can be just as elusive and multifaceted and imperfect as Margo. With author John Green at the controls, the ride is always memorable.