Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns by John Green
Paper Towns by John Green

by John Green
Dutton Books
305 pages
Reviewed by Heather F.

What do you when the most amazing girl in your whole school, in your whole world, suddenly pops up at your window and dares you to go out on a night of fun, revenge, breaking and entering… all in all, a life-altering night on the town? Why, you GO of course. That’s just what Quentin Jacobsen does when the incomparable Margo Roth Speigelman, childhood best friend and perpetual crush, comes to his window late one night and takes him out on the town. When the morning comes, Quentin believes he may just have a chance…only to find Margo has skipped town and no one knows where she’s gone. What follows is a life-altering search for Margo that takes Quentin and his friends Ben, and Radar on a quest for the truth about Margo Roth Spiegelman.

I found John Green’s writing to be fresh and original. His prose definitely reminded me of several teenagers I know and doesn’t feel dated. Quentin and his buddies Ben and Radar are hilarious, witty and felt very true-to-life. Genuine interactions, complex characters, and funny dialogue made this a great way to start my reading year.

The ending didn’t quite go the way this romantic-at-heart reader may have liked, but the English major inside my head appreciated the deviation from expectation. The ending was unexpected; and perfect to me.

Gosh, isn't he cute??
Gosh, isn't he cute??

In general, this book comes highly recommended for the story, the remarkable characters and the fantastic writing skill executed here.

John Green has various haunts, all of which are ‘made of awesome’:

Sparks Fly Up – His Blog
Nerdfighters – His vlog with brother Hank

Also reviewed by:

| Melissa the Book Nut | 47 Books | Thoughts of Joy |  Teen Book Review | bookshelves of doom |

Happy Birthday!

I have had a fantastic birthday!  Thank you, all of you with your 74 entries (new record for my blog!), for entering my birthday contest and for all the book recommendations!  My wishlist OVERFLOWS with goodies I can’t wait to get my hands on.  Congratulations to…

Nancy, aka Bookfool

My super-duper special method of picking winners, aka my daughter, drew your name tonight!  I’ll be emailing soon to find out your book choice!

Thank you, everyone, for playing and I hope you keep reading!

It's My Party…

31 is coming up fast!
31 is coming up fast!

and I’ll giveaway a book if I want to!

Yes, my birthday is next Friday (31, OMG!) and in the spirit of all things presents!, I’m going to give away one of the 4 books I’ve read so far this year – your choice.  (Let’s recap, Paper Towns, An Abundance of Katherines, Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft and Just Listen; all highly recommended.) So here’s what you do:

1 – Leave me a comment and make sure I know how to get in contact with you.

2 – Tell me the best book you read last year.

3 – For an extra entry, mention this giveaway on your blog or twitter or both. But sure you let me know you did it though!  If you would like to follow me on twitter, friend me: 

So you can get up to 3 entries!  I’ll announce the winner on my birthday, January 23rd.

This One is Mine

This One is Mine by Maria Semple
This One is Mine by Maria Semple

This One is Mine
By Maria Semple

Published by Little, Brown and Company, December 2008

When it was offered to me for review, it was mentioned that Maria Semple had written for Arrested Development and Mad About You. I loved both those shows, especially Mad About You, so I thought for sure I would love this book. This One is Mine is a very tongue-in-cheek, scabrous and witty look at Hollywood and the people who live there.
Violet Parry has it all; an extremely rich and adoring husband rock-and-roll manager David, an adorable toddler Dot, the perfect house, garden, life…yet she is desperately unhappy. David expects so much of Violet, but rarely gives any of himself in return. A chance encounter with a handsome stranger, Teddy; a sexy, small-time bass player in a Rolling Stones cover band makes Violet feel alive again. Soon, she’s risking everything, and I mean everything, for the chance to live life as she always imagined.

Also involved is David’s scarily uptight and slightly crazy sister Sally. Sally is a neurotic, diabetic ballerina with her eyes set on getting herself a rich husband – before he gets rich. Enter Jeremy, the ESPN super-sportscaster who is well on his way to fame and fortune, who speedily falls into her trap. But all is not happily-ever-after, for either couple. And David and Jeremy have a few surprises in store for Violet and Sally.

It was very well written. I absolute despised the characters, but despite that, I could not put it down. It was like watching a train-wreck, I couldn’t look away! And despite the character’s utter lack of morality and, in some cases, humanity, I actually came to care about what happened to them.

To me, that is the work of a master.

Like I said, I hated the characters. But I was supposed to. There were very few redeeming qualities about them for most of the book. Sally was my least favorite. The only one who seemed to take any responsibilities seriously was David. I had a very hard time coming to terms with these characters and had to think hard about them before I began to understand them, their actions and what the author was going for here. This book was more of a workout than I was expecting. But it was a good workout, one that left me much more appreciative of the book once I finished it.

If you liked Arrested Development, Seinfeld, and Mad About You, you will probably enjoy this book. Semple is a fantastic writer who has a very dry wit. It is hard to make a reader feel sympathy for such rich yet crazy, foolish people, but she managed to make me feel it for these four.

Check out the live interview with Maria Semple on Blog Talk Radio which took place on December 17th! There is also a reading guide available. You can read more about her at her website. 

Over at Estella’s Revenge, we are giving away 5 brand new copies, complete with tattoos!  So go enter today!

Graphic Novel Challenge

Graphic Novel Challenge
Graphic Novels Challenge

I missed out on this challenge last year, which was silly because it will (I think) be so easy for me! There are 4 levels of participation. I think I’m going to go for a Masters, because there are so many GN I want to read this year.

Give graphic novels a shot! This challenge is very flexible: choose a level of participation:

Minor: Read 6
Major: Read 12
Masters: Read 18
Doctorate: Read 24

Here is a tentative list of what I want to read.

Sin City (at least the first one, we have all of them)
Locke & Key
Fable 1-12 (9, 10, 11)
Marvel 1602
Jack of Fables 1-5
Maus I and II
American Born Chinese

I finished Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft, while I was out sick yesterday. My review of that is forthcoming – I have a little catching up to do!

2009 reads

125. Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
124. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
123. Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain, Read by Carolyn McCormick
122. The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson
121. Ivy and Bean: Doomed to Dance by Annie Barrows
120. The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
119. The Foundling by Georgette Heyer
118. Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows
117. Liar by Justine Larbalestier
116. Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
115. Fledgling by Octavia Butler
114. Nothing But Ghosts by Beth Kephart
113. Peter & Max by Bill Willingham
112. In a Perfect World by Laura Kasischke
111. Heartsick by Chelsea Cain, Read by Carolyn McCormick
110. When the Whistle Blows by Fran Cannon Slayton
109. Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange
108. The Neil Gaiman Audio Collection written and read by Neil Gaiman
107. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher, Read by James Marsters
106. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
105. Push by Adam Freeman and Marc Bernadin
104. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
103.. Chicken with Plums by Marjane Satrapi
102. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
101. The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
100. The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl
99. Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown by Maud Hart Lovelace
98. Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill by Maud Hart Lovelace
97. Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace
96. 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
95. The Tear Collector by Patrick Jones
94. Rampant by Diane Peterfreund
93. Goldengrove by Francine Prose
92. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
91. Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
90. Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace
89. French Milk by Lucy Knisley
88. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
87. Wonderland by Tommy Kovac, Illustrated by Sonny Liew
86. Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella
85. Willow by Julia Hoban
84. Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble
83. The Good Neighbors: Book One – Kin by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh
82. Impossible by Nancy Werlin
81. Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi
80. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
79. My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme, Read by Kimberly Farr
78. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
77. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
76. Killer Bunny Hill by Denise Robbins
75. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzgerald
74. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
73. Fables: Volume 12 – The Dark Ages by Bill Willingham
72. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Read by Carolyn McCormick
71. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
70. Mare’s War by Tanita S. Davis
69. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
68. Britten and Brulightly by Hannah Berry
67. Storm Front: The Harry Dresden Files #1 by Jim Butcher, Read by James Marsters
66. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
65. The Patron Saint of Used Cars and Second Chances by Mark Millhone
64. Fire by Kristin Cashore
63. The Sweet, Far Thing by Libba Bray, Read by Josephine Bailey
62. Atherton: The House of Power by Patrick Carman
61. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
60. The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman
59. The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand
58. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald
57. The Last Exit to Normal by Michael Harmon
56. The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer
55. As You Like It by William Shakespeare
54. My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger
53. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
52. The Mystery of the Fool and the Vanisher by David and Ruth Ellwand
51. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
50. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
49. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
48. Rebel Angels by Libba Bray, Read by Josephine Bailey
47. Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
46. Wings by Aprilynne Pike
45. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
44. Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs
43. Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughn
42. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
41. The Arrival by Shaun Tan
40. The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer
39. The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine
38. The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
37. Tales From Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan
36. Janes in Love by Cecil Castellucci and James Rigg
35. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, Read by Josephine Bailey
34. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, Read by the author
33. The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg
32. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
31. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
30. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
29. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
28. Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman, Read by the author
27. Beastly by Alex Flinn
26. Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr
25. Anatole by Eve Titus
24. Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
23. Hunted: A House of Night Novel by PC and Kristin Cast
22. Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman
21. As Shadows Fade by Colleen Gleason
20. Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly
19. Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Read by the author
18. Coraline by Neil Gaiman, Read by the author
17. The Host by Stephenie Meyer, Read by Kate Reading
16. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
15. Midas Mouse by David and Ruth Ellwand
14. Drood by Dan Simmons
13. Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
12. The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson and Beth Krommes
11. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Read by the author
10. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
9. Fables: Vol. 11 – War and Pieces by Bill Willingham
8. Fables: Vol. 10 – The Good Prince by Bill Willingham
7. Fables: Vol. 9 – Sons of Empire by Bill Willingham
6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
5. Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon, Read by Davina Porter
4. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
3. Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill
2. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
1. Paper Towns by John Green