A high school student, Q, is in search of his missing friend and finds a lot about himself along the way. Q is an average high school boy with a few friends and a crush on the most popular girl in school. He is definitely not one of the popular kids, but he is friends with Margo (the woman of interest). Being neighbors their entire lives, they have known each other since they were kids. Margo and Q's relationship consists of talking in school hallways occasionally, and small interactions outside of school. Their relationship changes one night when Margo asks Q to go on an adventure with her. Over the past year, Margo has been fighting with her popular friends. She is seeking revenge on them and wants Q's help. The two teens drive around all night seeking revenge on her ex-boyfriend, best friend, and others. Q begin to feel their relationship is blossoming, and when they break into Sea World as one last late night adventure, he is sure their friendship is becoming stronger.
Unfortunately, the next day at school, Margo is missing. At first everyone assumes she is sick and will come back, but as days pass without her reappearance, Q, his friends (Ben and Radar), and Lacey (Margo's best friend) begin to worry. They begin to snoop around and gather clues about where she may have gone. Each clue he finds takes him on a wild adventure. The first stop is a small mall where Q begins to think Margo may have killed herself. After searching more, he finds a map of New York and knows that Margo wants him to find her.
He sets up a small "base-camp" in a room at the mall where he has found some other clues. One day, while looking through all the evidence he has collected, he finds push pins on the wall of the room arranged in an odd pattern. Holding the map of New York up to the pins, he finds that they line up with places on the map. One of the places that catches his attention is a town called Algoe, NY. After researching with his friends, he finds that Algo is a fake town created by the map makers, but a mysterious note by the town's population puzzles him. The population says, "One until May 29th at noon". Q thinks for sure he has found her!
Q and all his friends head out on a road trip to find Margo. Once they reach Algo, they find an abandoned building with Margo inside. To Q's surprise, Margo is angry that they have found her. Along her journey, Margo changed. She discovered that she didn't want to be the popular girl at school anymore. She was tired of being what everyone wanted her to be. Although Q and all her friends missed the old Margo, they all learned that being yourself is more important that fitting in. Q and Margo have one final moment and share a kiss before he leaves. Though they both know their relationship will never be more and Margo will continue to travel on her own and be who she wants to be.
Best part of story, including ending:
This story accurately shows the struggle of teens finding themselves in an adult world. I love the adventure the novel takes the reader on and each character has something to relate to.
Best scene in story:
There is a scene in the beginning of the book when Q and Margo are on their revenge trip. They are inside an office building looking down at the town. Margo begins to talk about "paper people" in "paper towns" and Q is confused. Margo explains to him that people are not themselves. They go around every day and become what society wants them to be. They all become part of a paper chain of people acting the same. She believes that no one is unique and society makes us this way.
Opinion about the main character:
Q is a typical teenager that can be related to easily. He is determined and whole-hearted and an amazing character.