This first part of me finishing the book begins with us getting up to a new lead on where Margo maybe. Hopefully alive.
Review (with Spoilers)
The end of part 2 provides a bit of hope that perhaps, in the grand scheme of things, finally Q’s obsession with finding Margo will be solved. Either with him finding a dead body or else his dreams coming true and she acts like some stereotypical lost maiden who runs toward him and gives him a kiss. Either way, with Q’s attitude toward everyone, and obsession with finding Margo, getting on my nerves to no end, I’m unsure if I may look into other John Green books. Even if there is a movie planned.
Characters & Story
Chapter 22 basically is all about Ben. For with it seeming Lacey wasn’t just using him as a prank to get back at Q, and him going to a post-prom party and becoming popular with the jocks and everyone, Ben pretty much reinvents himself. His former persona as Bloody Ben seems replaced by him being the town’s new keg stand champion and generally a cool dude.
Meanwhile, Q is still a downer. However, he is someone Ben desperately needs since he is far too drunk to drive. Also, Radar is drunk and Ben badly wanted Q to be at the party so Angela, Radar’s girlfriend, wasn’t even considered an option. So, after some hemming and hawing, since being in Margo’s special place where there is no furniture or electricity is so great, he finally arrives at Becca’s party.
Thus leading him to confess to Chuck Parson he is the one who led to him having one eyebrow; him catching Becca and Jase have sex, in which he calls her Margo; and him sharing a tub with Lacey whose STD past was exposed. Which wasn’t all that bad for him since Lacey pretty much is the sole person he can talk to about Margo without you visually seeing someone rolling their eyes at her name being brought up. In fact, a drunk Lacey says Q has basically become her new best friend. Especially since Margo is either dead or gone and Becca revealed she had an STD. Something sweet of her to say, though he doesn’t believe her. But with their conversation being good, and presenting the idea Margo presented herself in different ways to different people, I think him just not understanding why Lacey is sticking around and acting so cool with them being his problem. Though it isn’t his only one. Ben superglues multiple beer cans on his hand to make an unmovable sword and is simply just a mess. One who wants to be naked under their robes for graduation, which Radar has agreed to and Q does as well eventually.
In chapter 23, as many times before, Q not getting the same excitement from his friends about a Margo development pisses him off. Especially when it comes to Ben since Q thinks because he needs Ben now, he should just pop over. Completely disregarding how drunk Ben was. However, being that Radar didn’t overdo it, and pretty much is the smartest and coolest person in the book, he has no problem getting to Q’s house in no time. Though don’t take this as Radar not being hung-over or sleepy. For between his drinking, and spending all night editing Omictionary’s entry on the Blue-spotted Angelfish, he is pretty tired.
However, he isn’t tired enough to be the person who points out how ridiculous Q’s expectations are. For whether it is expecting Ben to be like a puppy who comes whenever he calls, Radar to spend every last moment, and not just some of his time, on helping him find Margo, and just him generally acting like he is the only one who gives a damn about this chick, Radar is getting tired of Q’s BS. Especially since Margo is all he talks about and he never asks about him, much less Ben’s lives and relationships. And with Q being reminded that people have their own lives, he begins working on correcting his ways by asking Radar about Angela and accepting Ben is gonna be Ben.
Chapter 24 is pretty much the same stuff we have been hearing from Q since the beginning. However, after romanticizing Margo, and dreaming about being intimate with her, it seems he is starting to realize she is a person. Not some dream girl, but a person. One so complex that everyone has a different take on her and his is probably the least developed. At least in my opinion.
In Chapter 25, pretty much what happens is Lacey and Ben’s relationship becomes established and we meet some of Margo’s friends in the mini-mall, including Gus who was the security guard at the SunTrust building. They relay the information that the mini-mall has pretty much been Margo’s favorite spot for years, and she has known Gus since she was 13. Back when she was actively part of their adventures in which they would get into places like the mini-mall and while Gus and his boys explored, Margo would find a place to chill and write in a black notebook. Something which now has become an object of interest for the amount of clues it may have. Though with Lacey remembering its existence, she feels a bit guilty for never asking her what was in it.
For Chapter 26, Ben is more direct about Q setting aside the search for Margo since with there being a week to graduation, and who knows what may happen to their friendship afterwards, he just wants to really enjoy the indefinite time they have left together. So with Radar having a party, as his parents hunt Black Santa dolls, he lets his worries about Margo subside, somewhat, and enjoys the 20 person party. In which Lacey comes and not only does she publicly call Ben her boyfriend but they kiss. And oh, as much as I didn’t like Ben when this book started, I strangely feel so happy for him.
Though, as all this goes on, and conversations float around, Q sadly just goes through the motions. For he is still thinking about Margo. Though by the end of the chapter, he begins to have a new means of finding Margo. One dealing with the maps he found a few chapters back. He remembers there being plotted points on the map and with that thought, a new hope to finding Margo is born!
Thus leading to, in chapter 27, early on a Saturday morning, Q setting out to get all his friends ready for another adventure! He starts with Radar, who as usual is on Omictionary, who had a good night since Angela slept over. I mean, he didn’t have sex with her, but they likely cuddled and enjoyed themselves. And with Ben being unavailable, Radar is given the ride to the mini-mall to talk about Angela, how he is falling in love, and deal with Q basically not listening for, as you guessed it, he is thinking about this map and it leading to Margo. Making me wonder when I was in High School, as well as Middle School, did I obsess over my crushes like this? For really, Q is on the level right now where I’m feeling not just annoyed, but wondering how will he be played when the movie comes around? Though considering there is so much that could be cut without consequence in the book, I may like the movie better all things considered. Even though the girl who they cast for Margo, Cara Delevinge, who looks like she could be Ella Fanning’s sister, looks absolutely nothing like Margo in my head.
Still, as Q pieces together the map to try to figure out where Margo maybe, he figures out that likely she is planning a one-woman road trip. Though in Ben’s mind, pretty much he paints Margo as someone who is probably hiding out in Orlando and just loving the idea of being the center of attention. Something which Q doesn’t respond to for with the map points, and a site to help him map routes where pins used to be, he barely is participating in Ben talking bad about Margo, and Lacey defending her.
In chapter 28 it is the last week of school and that means finals and nude under robe graduation! Also, we are provided some information about Radar like him getting a full ride to Dartmouth, him being a software developer in his spare time, and Ben figuring out that, despite Margo skipping finals, that if she drove from Orlando to New York, to Chicago to LA, and back to Orlando, she would make it just in time for graduation. Supporting Radar’s theory, not noted in the last chapter, that she may just show up for graduation. Though this chapter only mentions the end of the finals and not graduation, so once Q no longer has to worry about his final tests and papers, naturally, all his thoughts go back to Margo. Who honestly I am so sick of referring to that it is giving me a headache.
For chapter 29, we learn Q is given a car as a graduation day present. Though not just any type of car, his parents give him his own minivan. An odd decision to say the least, but it does come in handy for what’s to come. For one, a cooler is placed in the trunk for Lacey’s post-graduation party, which helps Radar out since his parents finding beer would probably lead to a big blow up. One which on graduation day, with him planning to be naked with his bros, wouldn’t be great to have.
Though with what Q has planned, it seems they are going to be angry regardless. You see, Radar had developed this plug-in, in his spare time, which allows people to quickly look through articles on omictionary which would give a few sentences about a topic you are looking for, as well as similar topics with briefs included. The idea was if someone was looking for something specific, but didn’t know the exact details needed to find what they were looking for, this plugin would help speed things up.
Take for example Q’s search using the zip code for Catskill Park, NY. It comes up with a handful of responses like: Woodstock, with a brief one sentence overview; Lake Katrine; The Catskill Park; Roscoe, NY; and then Agloe, NY. A place known as a “Paper Town.” Though things get really interesting when, in the comment section of the talk page Q finds: “FYI, whoever Edits this-the Population of Agloe will actually be one until May 29th at Noon” (Green 194). Now, due to Q knowing how Margo loves to use random capitalization in the middle of the sentence since she thinks it’s unfair it is usually only in the beginning, he knows it’s her. So with an exact location, a new car, and a serious injection of hope, he is ready to go! Thing is, it is graduation day and I’m sure Q’s parents want to see him get his diploma. Never mind he has all the beers for Lacey’s party, which I’m unsure how Radar even got since last I checked he is not 21. That thought aside, Ben isn’t much for Q skipping graduation due to Margo, but with it seemingly only 1-2 days before the 29th, he has to go! But to not burn bridges he heads to the school is all but ready to dump the bears with whoever arrives first and leave. However, what happens instead is Ben, Lacey, and Radar decide to join him. For, one, it is a 20+ hour trip which Q couldn’t possibly do alone; two, Q is relying on Google Maps for directions, which Radar thinks is mad since it won’t account for traffic; and three, since there is always the chance of this being their last big hoorah, why not have a road trip? Especially since with Margo being a consistent topic in their lives for a month, who wouldn’t want to see if she is alive and OK? I must admit, though, I found it odd there was 0 explanation why Angela didn’t come. I mean, I know she hasn’t really evolved past being Radar’s girlfriend, but come on!
“Leaving feels good and pure only when you leave something important, something that mattered to you.”
— Paper Towns: Chapter 29 – Page 193
“On some fundamental level we find it difficult to understand that other people are human beings the same way we are. We idealize them as gods or dismiss them as animals.”
— Paper Towns: Chapter 24 – Page 164
Things To Note
I’m going to try to finish the rest of the book tonight, but don’t hold me to it since truly Q and Margo are giving me a headache, and while I already finished the book and have notes, with this crazy format, I make things far more difficult than if I just did one chapter a week, or really organized this into one paragraph per chapter.