Paper Towns by John Green Book Review

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,

But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,

And filter and fibre your blood.

Song of Myself, Walt Whitman

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Paper Towns is a theme-heavy novel, one of John Green’s gifts. I won’t go on and on about my extreme fondness for this author, as previously stated in my review of The Fault in Our Stars.  As he has written many novels, there’s bound to be disappointment. Nobody’s perfect, after all. And everyone has different tastes and different expectations.

I was not disappointed by Paper Towns. It met all my expectations, though never exceeded them. The writing is witty; the characters are perfectly flawed and rounded; and the themes remain obvious, yet redemptive. But there is something repetitive and tiring about this novel. The story isn’t new or riveting. It’s a basic cautionary tale for naive teenagers in love.

There’s a lot of mystery in Paper Towns. What is a paper town? Why does Margo recruit Quentin’s help? Where does Margo go? The biggest mystery of all—who is Margo?

The main character, Quentin, is determined to solve these mysteries. He’s especially determined because he has been in love with Margo since they were kids. Or rather, he has been in love with the idea of Margo. Enter caution sign #1.)  Infatuation is not love.

The antagonist, Margo, is self-centered, vengeful, confused, mentally unstable, and kind of a jerk. Enter caution sign #2.) Some people aren’t ready to be loved.

In the end, lessons are learned the hard way, as most of us experience as teenagers (and as grown-ups).  If young adult readers use their intellect to connect with their hearts when reading this novel, they could save themselves a great deal of heartbreak. Alas, human nature is hard to fight.

But I shall be good health to you nevertheless…

 

I adored the use of some of my favorite artists to beef up the themes of Paper Towns. Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Woody Guthrie, Billy Bragg, and Bob Dylan all get a shout-out.

Paper Towns is divided into three sections: Part One- The Strings, Part Two- The Grass, and Part Three- The Vessel. I love how John Green brings this all into play thematically.

“If you choose the strings, then you’re imagining a world in which you can become irreparably broken. If you choose the grass, you’re saying we are all infinitely connected…The metaphors have implications. Do you know what I mean?”

You’ll have to read Paper Towns to discover the meanings…and choose one for yourself.

John Green’s Author Page on Amazon

Paper Towns on Goodreads

John Green’s Webpage

Here’s Where The Story Ends

“Here’s Where The Story Ends”

People I know, places I go
Make me feel tongue tied
I can see how, people look down
They’re on the insideHere’s where the story ends

People I see, weary of me
Showing my good side
I can see how, people look down
I’m on the outside

Here’s, where the story ends
Ooh here’s, where the story ends

It’s that little souvenir, of a terrible year
Which makes my eyes feel sore
Oh I never should have said, the books that you read
Were all I loved you for
It’s that little souvenir, of a terrible year
Which makes me wonder why
And it’s the memories of the shed, that make me turn red
Surprise, surprise, surprise

Crazy I know, places I go
Make me feel so tired
I can see how people look down
I’m on the outside

Here’s, where the story ends
Ooh here’s, where the story ends

It’s that little souvenir, of a terrible year
Which makes my eyes feel sore
And who ever would’ve thought, the books that you brought
Were all I loved you for
Oh the devil in me said, go down to the shed
I know where I belong
But the only thing I ever really wanted to say
Was wrong, was wrong, was wrong

It’s that little souvenir, of a colorful year
Which makes me smile inside
So I cynically, cynically say, the world is that way
Surprise, surprise, surprise, surprise, surprise

Here’s, where the story ends
Ooh here’s, where the story ends

Writer(s): David Gavurin, David Richard Gavurin, Harriet Ella Wheeler
Copyright: Warner/Chappell Music Ltd.

What’s A Cinnamon?

She proceeded to write the word compassion on the chalkboard, trying not to make the chalk squeak.

Some of the children narrowed their eyes and it was clear to Zoe they could not read.  Even the pompous boy with glasses was silent.  He crossed his arms in front of his chest and looked defiant.

“This is pronounced ‘kuhm—pash—uhn,’” Zoe explained, sounding out each syllable.

“What’s that?” said a little girl in pigtails.

“It’s a synonym for love,” Zoe explained.

A small child in footed pajamas, who was no older than four shouted out, “What’s love?”  The child beside him shouted too. “What’s a cinnamon?”

Zoe smiled down at the little one.

Treating others how you would like to be treated.”

“I knew that!” yelled the self-proclaimed smart kid.

The Red Cloak, Chapter 8, The Synonym for Love

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Monster by Paramore

Monster Lyrics

You were my conscience
So solid, now you’re like water
And we started drowning
Not like we’d sink any farther
But I let my heart go
It’s somewhere down at the bottom
But I’ll get a new one
And come back for the hope that you’ve stolen

I’ll stop the whole world
I’ll stop the whole world… from turning into a monster
Eating us alive
Don’t you ever wonder how we survived
Now that you’re gone
The world is ours

I’m only human
I’ve got a skeleton in me
But I’m not the villain
Despite what you’re always preaching
Call me a traitor
I’m just collecting your victims
And they’re getting stronger
I hear them calling
(They’re calling)

I’ll stop the whole world
I’ll stop the whole world… from turning into a monster
Eating us alive
Don’t you ever wonder how we survived
But now that you’re gone
The world is ours

When you find a strength and solutions
But I like the tension
And not always knowing the answers
Well you’re gonna lose it… You’re gonna lose it

I’ll stop the whole world
I’ll stop the whole world… from turning into a monster
Eating us alive
Don’t you ever wonder how we survived
Now that you’re gone
The world

I’ll stop the whole world
I’ll stop the whole world… from turning into a monster
Eating us alive
Don’t you ever wonder how we survived
Now that you’re gone
The world is ours

Songwriters
WILLIAMS, HAYLEY / YORK, TAYLOR

Published by
Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Read more: Paramore – Monster Lyrics | MetroLyrics

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Bian Chang Mo Ji

Ainsling watched as Aaliyah wrote down the memorized phrase, “Bian chang mo ji.”

Ellen Cheng read it, paused from her knitting, and looked thoughtful.  She then drew some Chinese characters.  It looked very complex.

“That’s beautiful,” Ainsling commented.

“Thanks,” said Ellen.  “This is the way to write this idiom in simplified Chinese.”

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“An idiom?” Ainsling asked.

“An idiom is like a proverb.  Written Chinese languages aren’t words, but pictures.  The phrase ‘bian chang mo ji’ can be interpreted different ways, depending on the context.  The literal translation is, ‘not even the longest whip can reach everywhere.’”

“Seriously?  What’s that supposed to mean? ” Aaliyah asked.

“It could also be interpreted this way, ‘beyond the reach of one’s power,’ or ‘too far away to be able to help.’  It depends on the situation and circumstances.  It’s a very old saying.  The Guardian didn’t explain it?”

“No, the Guardian didn’t

The Red Cloak, Chapter Three, The Correct Gauge

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Upside Down by Jack Johnson

“Upside Down”

Who’s to say
What’s impossible
Well they forgot
This world keeps spinning
And with each new day
I can feel a change in everything
And as the surface breaks reflections fade
But in some ways they remain the same
And as my mind begins to spread its wings
There’s no stopping curiosity

I want to turn the whole thing upside down
I’ll find the things they say just can’t be found
I’ll share this love I find with everyone
We’ll sing and dance to Mother Nature’s songs
I don’t want this feeling to go away

Who’s to say
I can’t do everything
Well I can try
And as I roll along I begin to find
Things aren’t always just what they seem

I want to turn the whole thing upside down
I’ll find the things they say just can’t be found
I’ll share this love I find with everyone
We’ll sing and dance to Mother Nature’s songs
This world keeps spinning and there’s no time to waste
Well it all keeps spinning spinning round and round and

Upside down
Who’s to say what’s impossible and can’t be found
I don’t want this feeling to go away

Please don’t go away
Please don’t go away
Please don’t go away
Is this how it’s supposed to be
Is this how it’s supposed to be

(Lyrics from AZ Lyrics)

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Adopt a Dolphin- WWF

WWF Adopt a Species Program

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The Baiji, the Yangtze River Dolphin, is functionally extinct. Don’t let this happen to other animals around the world. WWF has a fundraising program to adopt an endangered animal of your choice. Consider this  fun and educational way to make a difference!

Give The Baiji to a child and educate them about extinction and caring for the planet. It’s the only one we have. 

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