About the Book

Book Protagonist: Quentin Jacobsen
Publication Date: 2008
Genre: Romance, Teen and Young Adult


Paper Towns

By John Green

As with all John Green books, 'Paper Towns' features a wide variety of interesting quotes.

Part of the joy of Green’s writing is his ability to be able to write from such a gleefully profound perspective in such a way that young characters seem like modern-day philosophers.

Paper Towns Quotes


What a treacherous thing it is to believe that a person is more than a person.

Having discovered that the Margo he had fallen for didn’t really exist and having been “called out” for obsessing over the fictional version of Margo this is a very heartfelt, visceral response from Q.

That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people would want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfast cereals based on color instead of taste.

This is a great quote from ‘Paper Towns’ to explore the idea of superficial attraction. Despite having propagated an image for herself, Margo finds it irritating when people are attracted to others based solely on their looks.

Margo always loved mysteries. And in everything that came afterward, I could never stop thinking that maybe she loved mysteries so much that she became one.

What is great about this line is that readers don’t really know if Margo does love mysteries. Does she? Or does the version of Margo created in Q’s head love mysteries? Are they the same person?

New Beginnings

It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.

What Green does so well is writing lines of dialogue that sound natural but are still interesting. This quote about fresh starts is an example of this. The idea is that sometimes trying something new is scary.

Tonight, darling, we are going to right a lot of wrongs. And we are going to wrong some rights. The first shall be last; the last shall be first; the meek shall do some earth-inheriting. But before we can radically reshape the world, we need to shop.

This dialogue serves as a wonderful introduction to Margo’s character or at least the character she has created for herself. She is funny and enigmatic here, and it instantly draws the reader in.


I usually got a ride to school with my best friend, Ben Starling, but Ben had gone to school on time, making him useless to me.

This line is great because it suggests a lot about both the character of Q and how he depends on Ben’s unreliability. It’s also very funny.

By the way, did you notice that Jase says ‘bro’? I’ve totally brought bro back. Just with the sheer force of my own awesomeness.

This quote sums up Ben beautifully. He is not one of the cool kids, but he really believes deep down that he can be. Most of the things he does are done with one eye on his reputation, and the reason he wants to improve that reputation is to be successful with women.

The good news is that we will be stopping. The bad news is that it won’t be for another four hours and thirty minutes.

Radar can be quite literal at times. He loves order and is insistent on sticking to deadlines. This line sums him up wonderfully. Of course, in many ways, he is a foil to Ben who is far more impulsive.

This is exciting! We’re like under-provisioned pioneers! I wish we had more money, though.

Lacey carries a reputation as being a bit of an airhead. However, far from being shallow, she is intelligent and shows a lot of emotional depth. She is considerate, smart, and funny. However, she does have ditsy moments, which make her all the more endearing.


What is the deeper meaning of “paper towns?”

The deeper meaning is the nature of the “town.” If it’s paper, it’s fake and uninteresting in Margo’s view.

Are paper towns a real thing?

Yes. Paper towns are towns, cities, or other settlements that mapmakers add to their maps so they know if their work is being copied.

What is the message in Paper Towns?

The books main theme is what it’s like to be young and the importance of friendship and kindness.

Lee-James Bovey
About Lee-James Bovey
Lee-James, a.k.a. LJ, has been a Book Analysis team member since it was first created. During the day, he's an English Teacher. During the night, he provides in-depth analysis and summary of books.
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