Skip Nav

Paper Towns Summary & Study Guide

How It All Goes Down

❶The revenge trip was fun, and so was discovering the first few clues about Margo's disappearance. This book gets you to think about the idea of a person and the actual being of a person.

From the SparkNotes Blog

At a Glance
by John Green
Plot Overview

As children, Quentin and Margo discovered a dead man's body; an event that binds them in ways they do not realize. As they grow up however, they grow apart. After this is explained in the prologue, Part I of the book sets up the main narrative by introducing the setting, Jefferson High in Orlando, Florida in the early s and introduces Quentin's good friends, Radar and Ben Starling, his fellow nerds. In contrast, Margo is the most popular girl in school who has an incredible reputation for her wild hijinks.

The plot takes off in Chapter 3 when Margo sneaks into Quentin's bedroom and asks him to help her execute an eleven-part plan, which largely involves taking revenge on her ex-boyfriend. Throughout the night, Quentin is exhilarated and his love for Margo is reenergized.

However, Margo has left him a series of clues as to her whereabouts. Part II is spent piecing together Margo's clues. Quentin pursues Margo with the help of his friends, but all the while, high school comes to an end. Quentin follows a string of false leads, which makes him increasingly reflective and leads him to gradually accept that he has made Margo into a magical non-person, a "paper girl" and that he loves someone who may not exist.

He eventually decides that the only way to ind Margo is to understand who she is. Eventually he figures out that a paper town is a false city on a map that cartographers once used to detect copycats. Margo had left for the paper town of Algoe, New York. Part III begins the night of graduation when Quentin grabs his friends to leave on an intense, twenty-one hour road trip from Orlando to upstate Agloe. When they reach Agloe, they find Margo in an old barn, writing.

After fighting furiously about Margo's apparent selfishness for leaving, Ben, Radar, and Lacey storm out. Quentin and Margo learn that they had idealized one another and love each other. However, they both realize with regret that their love was based in falsehood, in being a "paper boy" and a "paper girl. Quentin, however, does not give up on Margo. They admit their romantic affections for one another but realize that their values must inevitably lead them to separate futures.

Angry at her lack of gratitude, Radar, Ben, and Lacey leave the barn and spend the night at a motel. Quentin realizes the image he had of her was as fake as the one that she had been emitting to everyone else, and becomes furious at her for wasting his time. Margo argues that Quentin saved her for egotistical reasons; he wanted to be a knight in shining armor who saved the troubled girl.

Ultimately, Quentin accepts it was unfair for him to expect Margo to live up to his perfect image of her. After their deep conversation, Margo decides to go to New York City and asks Quentin to accompany her. Quentin wants to stay with her, but understands his home life and responsibilities prevents him from doing so. Margo promises to Quentin that she will keep contact with him. The novel is written in three parts. Each individual part is named for a specific metaphor used considerably in that section.

Each individual chapter within the first two parts is labeled with a number. However, the third part of the novel is divided into smaller sections.

Each section refers to the hour of the characters' road trip. Throughout the novel, the concept of paper towns is mentioned several times. As a former Orlando resident, John Green had seen and heard of many "paper towns". His first experience with a "paper town" occurred during his junior year of college while on a road trip. In South Dakota, he and his friend came across a paper town called Holen.

At the end of the novel, John Green states that the story of Agloe presented in the text is mostly true: But then people with these old Esso maps kept looking for it, and so someone built a store, making Agloe real. Paper Towns received mostly positive reviews. Publishers Weekly said, "the title, which refers to unbuilt subdivisions and copyright trap towns that appear on maps but don't exist, unintentionally underscores the novel's weakness: It also said the novel is "another teen pleasing read".

Though we only really see Margo for the first third of the book, the clues really create her character and give us the feeling she's a complex person. Finding out who Margo is through the things she left behind was a really great way to develop her character.

Rebecca Swain of Orlando Sentinel stated, " Paper Towns has convinced me that jaded adult readers need to start raiding the Teen's section at the bookstore.

Green, who grew up in Orlando and uses the city as a backdrop for the story, taps into the cadence of teenage life with sharp and funny writing, but transcends age with deeper insights. Philpot, editorial assistant of The Horn Book Guide, said, "the end breaks your heart, and yet it feels right". Robert Corwin of Arizona State University wrote, "some readers may find the author's use of language and sexual content objectionable.

On June 23, , Paper Towns was removed from the summer reading list for 13 year olds at Dr John Long Middle School in Pasco County, Florida after a parent complained to a board member that she disapproved of the book's sexual content. The National Coalition Against Censorship responded to the removal by calling for the book to be reinstated to the reading list.

In a letter to the district superintendent, the organization wrote, "No sound educational rationale for removing the book has been articulated, nor is it likely that one could be". Jake Schreier directed the film. Jaz Sinclair appeared in the film as Angela, Radar's girlfriend. The paperback edition of the novel was released on September 22, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the copyright traps added to maps, see phantom settlement.

This article is about the novel. For the film adaptation, see Paper Towns film. The two [1] first edition covers. Archived from the original on Retrieved June 20, Mudd ready to roll 'Paper ' ". Retrieved 14 March Retrieved May 21, Mystery Writers of America.

See a Problem?

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Paper Towns book summary & chapter summaries of Paper Towns novel.

Privacy FAQs

A short summary of John Green's Paper Towns. This free synopsis covers all the crucial plot points of Paper Towns.

About Our Ads

Paper Towns Summary & Study Guide Description. Paper Towns Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections. Paper Towns study guide contains a biography of John Green, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

Cookie Info

Complete summary of John Green's Paper Towns. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Paper Towns. Paper Towns Prologue summary. Brief summary of Prologue in Paper Towns book.