Out of all the John Green books I have read, I found this one the most intriguing. It has such a marvelous and well-thought plot and extremely realistic characters. It contains enough cliché to help you keep reading but not cringe in a this-is-so-super-cheesy way.
So the book starts with an amazing and unexpected prologue in which a young Q and Margo find an unknown dead body sprawled beneath a tree on a typical sunny day in Florida. Honestly, after reading Let it Snow, TFiOS and Will Grayson Will Grayson, An Abundance of Katherines, I didn’t really expect John to include anything about murder in his books. Maybe that surprise was probably the reason I liked this book so much.
Now about the characters: I found Quentin Jacobsen a very unique character. I don’t think his personality had been copied from any other book by John Green. Although there might have been some aspects that were the same like his unconditional attraction toward an unreachable and highly fascinating girl and the fact that he was one of the very less popular people in his High School . Other than that, he had a pretty nice sketch.
Margo Roth Spiegelman; the captivating and enthralling girl who also happens to be a very rebellious teenager with very many secrets reminds me a lot of Alaska Young from Looking For Alaska. Both of them are unrealistically attractive according to Q or Miles’s vision and both of them have secrets and a kind of split personality. The only notable difference between the two characters is that they come from different backgrounds. While Margo has a rich but entirely loving family, Alaska comes from a broken HOME. Both the girls in the two stories seek adventure and break rules and are teenage rebels.
Then there are Q’s two best friends: Ben Starling who is a little sexist – in the society failed yet again in educating young men to respect women kind of way – and funny guy; and Marcus ‘Radar’ Lincoln whose parents are obsessed with collecting black Santas. Both the characters are hilarious and although I’d prefer Radar over Ben, I find both of them equally unique and interesting.
Lacey, whose Margo’s so called best friend who apparently always hints that Margo is a bit too curvy, turns out to be nice and also very unexpectedly starts going out with Ben. Lacey is sketched as the typical cheer-leader type (but not that mean) going to be queen the of prom girl.
What the book lacked in characters, it made up for in the plot and various quotes that I love to death. I absolutely loved how Margo so intricately develops plans for her to escape her home in order to seek adventure and nor a ‘papery life’ like everyone else. The logistics of the plans are also decoded by Margo at the end of the book.
I absolutely loved how this book ended. I wouldn’t have ever guessed that Margo didn’t want Q to find her at all. She wanted to escape the life she used to live and the life her parents wanted her to have. She didn’t want to be another paper person going about in a paper town and only thinking about the future . She wanted to enjoy the now, the present. That whole sentiment Margo had was very intriguing to me and I might have a had a tiny epiphany while reading the book.
I loved how John described the life of various people as connected just like the roots of grass. How we all affect each other and how we all ultimately get buried in grass from which we had originated.
“It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.”