Nah, it’s not.
Margo Roth Spiegelman is a legend. So much that people usually say her full name in awe “Margo Roth Spiegelman” and then end with “Can you believe it?” She’s been known to travel three days with a circus and getting into a club by pretending to be the bassist’s girlfriend, to name a few. Quentin, on the other hand, is not a legend. He’s just her neighbor. He’s rather quiet, likes routine, has two nerdy best friends and some solid plans for the future.
One day, when Margo finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her, she enrolls Quentin for her night of fun and revenge, and then disappears the next day. Quentin starts looking for her, following her many clues. Because – you guessed it – he’s hopelessly in love with her, even though he doesn’t really know her.
It’s a nice book with quick pace, it reads well. I liked the characters, all except for the (in)famous Margo. I liked her at the beginning, for being a fun loving person talking about “caring for more important stuff than just being a paper person living in a paper town.” But then she started to annoy me because she proved to be pretty selfish, and quite inconsiderate of others. I especially liked Quentin, though, for his engaging narration, for the fact that he’s down-to-earth and has some distance to himself and the world around him – and for learning to have distance to Margo herself.
The book is not too original in its messages, but it does give some important ones. That everybody has problems, bigger or smaller, that people wear masks every day, that we sometimes fear things that are not to be feared, and that it’s great to overcome those fears. I think these were already talked about in other publications; I also think that if you’ve read one book by John Green, you can more or less know what to expect in another one. I don’t consider it a flow, however. For me John Green touches important problems profoundly, and each of his books is meant to teach something, and make you think.
The book is also not too realistic, but I basically don’t care. It doesn’t always have to be. It was fun to read, even though I knew more than half of the things there were almost impossible in real life.
Besides, the novel some sort of a “road novel,” which is always a plus. Also in this case.
I also watched the movie this book was based on, and when I came back from the cinema, my friend asked me what the movie was about. At first, I wasn’t sure what to tell her, so I just said something like “A girl runs away from home, and a boy is looking for her.” Of course, it’s about that, but if I had another chance to explain what the book is about I’d say “It’s about the fact that people are often different than we perceive them to be, and about learning to see them for who they are, not for who we imagine.”
Or maybe I would just say “It’s about growing up.”