‘The thing about Margo Roth Speigelman is that really all I could ever do was let her talk, and then when she stopped talking encourage her to go on, due to the facts that 1. I was incontestably in love with her, and 2. she was absolutely unprecedented in every way, and 3. she never really asked me any questions…’
Quentin Jacobson has always loved Margo from afar. So when she climbs through his window to summon him on an all-night road trip of revenge he cannot help but follow. But the next morning, Q turns up at school and Margo doesn’t. She’s left clues to her disappearance, like a trail of breadcrumbs for Q to follow.
And everything leads to one unavoidable question.
This was the first John Green book I’ve read and because of how popular he is as an author and his massive fan base, I thought I should give one of his books a try. I chose this one because it was the one that my sister owned and therefore the easiest to get my hands on. After watching ‘A Fault in our Stars’ and building an opinion of John Green as someone who writes extremely emotional books, I was glad that this one wasn’t too heart-breaking. I really enjoyed the way that Green uses this book to question society and the way in which we live our lives, especially through his use of metaphors. A favourite theme of mine, and one of the main ones of the novel, was the invisible strings that are within us all that can get tighter and tighter. When discovering the body of a man who has committed suicide, Quentin describes how the strings within him had snapped. The writing Green uses is really beautiful, almost like poetry. One of my favourite lines from the book is this:
“I mean, at some point, you gotta stop looking up at the sky, or one of these days, you’ll be back down and see that you floated away, too”
I also really enjoyed how the book progressed and defied expectations. (*SPOILERS* I was annoyed at first with the way in which Q idolised and seemingly worshipped Margot and thought that the whole book was just going to become a boy chasing after a girl, like any other cliched teen romance. Therefore I was glad when it turned into a message of how it is dangerous to idolise people and expect too much of them because after all people are just people, they are all made of paper, and you have to read them and understand them rather than throwing your own story upon them.)
As a recent literature graduate, the only fault I can pick with the book is that there is a lot of analysis of literature, especially of Whitman poetry, for a reader who has spent the last three years of her life doing nothing but that. However this is a personal problem and not really an issue at all – it just brought back memories of late night study sessions hunched over a poem that I have stared at for hours without being able to make any sense of it.
HOOKABILITY: 7/10 – It took me a bit longer than usual to read this book, probably just because I had a lot going on but there were occasional places that dragged slightly. However the mystery of (*SPOILER* finding Margot) added to the book’s excitement and made me impatient to discover the answers to the puzzles left behind.
CHARACTERS: 9/10 – I really enjoyed the three main characters – Q, Radar and Ben – and their relationships within the text. I found them funny and they worked really well along side one another – they were all unique and easily distinguishable as characters, yet all were extremely believable just like three best friends you would find together in real life. The only character that I was frustrated at was Margot, but this was part of her creation as a dangerous person to be friends with, playing her games with the other characters, especially Q, who I just wanted her to leave him alone so he could get on with his life.
OVERALL EMOTION: 7/10 – The beginning of the book, where the characters find the body of the man who committed suicide (not really a spoiler – it happens on the first page), I found to be extremely emotional. The other part of the text which I suppose was meant to be emotional, the ending, I was just relieved by. I was happy that both Q and Margot had found a middle ground where they finally understood each other and appreciated each other as people rather than idols that they have created in their minds. I also found the book extremely funny, even laughing out loud on a few occasions.
Recommended if you like:
- Deep readings of modern day society
- Awkward teen characters
- Coming of age fiction
- Mystery and clues to be solved