Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Paper Towns by John Green

"The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle."

For Quinton Jacobsen, his miracle was that he lived next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman in the Jefferson Park subdivision in Orlando, Florida. To Q, "she was the most fantastically gorgeous creature that God had ever created." Living next door to one another since the age of two, Margo and Quinton were childhood best friends. At the age of nine, the two of them found a dead body in the neighborhood park. Margo spent the day investigating why the man committed suicide. She always loved mysteries and to Quinton, Margo was always a mystery.

The longest day of Quinton's life was May 5. School is dwindling down with thoughts of prom, graduation and college on everyone's mind. Even though they continue to live next door to one another, Margo has become an enigma to Quinton. Popular with friends and a steady boyfriend, she rarely talks with him. He is just fine with routine. So when just before midnight, Margo opened Quinton's bedroom window, dressed all in black, his life drastically changes.

Margo needs his car. Technically it is his mom's minivan but Quinton was given a key to it for his sixteenth birthday. And she needs him to drive it. She has eleven things she needs to do that night and for five of them she needs a getaway man. Reluctant at first, Margo reassures him that they won't be committing any felonies. After getting caught by her father and sneaking out again, she meets Quinton in the van and they are off.

After a shopping trip for an assortment of several unusual items when purchased all together at midnight, Margo explains her plan to right some wrongs. It turns out that her boyfriend of several months was cheating on her with her best friend and no one told her. Her plan is to get back at all of those who have wronged her and to make up to the one who was brave enough to break the bad news to her. Quinton and Margo make a whirlwind, late night trip through Orlando getting revenge. At the end of the night, Margo whispers to Quinton, "I. Will. Miss. Hanging. Out. With. You."

Exhausted but quite proud of himself later that day at school, Quinton notices that Margo didn't come to school. That afternoon, he notices her car missing from the driveway next door and her window shade is open. Quinton knows that once again, Margo Roth Spiegelman has disappeared. Forty- eight hours after their night around Orlando, the Spiegelmans and a police detective are at the Jacobsen's house. Since Margo is eighteen, legally an adult and has runaway before, her parents are washing their hands of their daughter. In the past, she has left clues to her whereabouts that are difficult to decipher. Her parents are just going to pretend that she has already left for college. Quinton does tell the detective in private about their night when asked.

After the Spiegelmans and the detective leave, Quinton notices that the detective is searching Margo's room. Her curtain has been lowered and Quinton spots the poster of Woody Guthrie taped to the back that wasn't there before. With the assistance of his two friends, Quinton waits until Margo's parents leave to go next door. They bribe Margo's little sister to let them into her bedroom. Quinton is determined to find out where Margo went.

Why did Margo leave after her night with Quinton? Where did she disappear to? Will she return home? Or will Quinton ever get the answers he is looking for? What impact will having Margo in his life have on Quinton?

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