Review Post : The Racketeer

The Racketeer

The Racketeer

 Title : The Racketeer

 Author : John Grisham
 Publisher : Dell
 Pages :  400 Pages
 Year of Publication : 2012
 Language : English
 Genre(s) : Mystery, thriller,  suspense
 Bought from : Kinokuniya (Plaza Senayan)

 Synopsis and Cover Pic : Goodreads

Synopsis :
Given the importance of what they do, and the controversies that often surround them, and the violent people they sometimes confront, it is remarkable that in the history of this country only four active federal judges have been murdered.
Judge Raymond Fawcett has just become number five.
Who is the Racketeer? And what does he have to do with the judge’s untimely demise? His name, for the moment, is Malcolm Bannister. Job status? Former attorney. Current residence? The Federal Prison Camp near Frostburg, Maryland. On paper, Malcolm’s situation isn’t looking too good these days, but he’s got an ace up his sleeve. He knows who killed Judge Fawcett, and he knows why. The judge’s body was found in his remote lakeside cabin. There was no forced entry, no struggle, just two dead bodies: Judge Fawcett and his young secretary. And one large, state-of-the-art, extremely secure safe, opened and emptied. What was in the safe? The FBI would love to know. And Malcolm Bannister would love to tell them. But everything has a price—especially information as explosive as the sequence of events that led to Judge Fawcett’s death. And the Racketeer wasn’t born yesterday . . .
***

“A trial was a spectacle, a farce, a ridiculous way to search for the truth. But as I learned, the truth was not important. Perhaps in another era, a trial was an exercise in the presentations of facts, the search for truth, and the finding of justice. Now a trial is a contest in which one side will win and the other side will lose. Each side expects the other to bend the rules or to cheat, so neither side plays fair. The truth is lost in the melee.” P.84 

Malcolm Bannister, a 40-something guy. A former lawyer yet a Frostburg camp inmate, and became one due to his previous job involving him to trouble. And ever since then, he has lost two important things in his life : his career and his family. Only his old man, his sister, and his brother cared for him. But with 10 year sentence, he always thought his life was horrible. Until someday Malcolm heard the news about a Federal Judge, named Ray Fawcett, was killed along with his secretary as well as mistress. He knew something behind this murder, no, he knew someone behind this all. Who killed both of ‘em. And with this, Malcolm offered his knowledge to FBI, but with the exchange of his freedom and security after telling these all. In US, there’s a rule named Rule 35 which enables a freedom of an inmate if he/she can help the police and government (If I’m not mistaken). At first, FBI could hardly buy his offer, but for the sake of the case’ development, they decided to give Malcolm a try.

“It would be wrong to get the impression that Frostburg is filled with Bible-thumpers. It is not. It’s still a prison, and the majority of my fellow inmates would not be caught dead in a church service.” P.138

After signing some agreement, finally Malcolm stated what he knew. He told them that the murderer had been one of previous inmates in Frostburg, who was judged by the late Fawcett and felt resentful towards him. He was Quin Rucker. And without further ado, FBI searched for Quin and caught him while he’s doing his business. Further investigation was done, but for few hours Quin insisted he did not do what he was accused of. But the FBI investigator threatened to put his family in jail if he did not speak the truth (actually, speak things FBI believed was true) and he forcefully confessed to be the murderer and his confession was recorded in a video. And Malcolm finally could easily breath and embrace his freedom. But to protect him from any threats Quin’s family might do to him as Quin already figured out who told this thing, Malcolm entered the Witness Protection Program. He changed his identity, alter his face and look, and learnt to behave different than he usually did. He deleted Malcolm Bannister’s life and welcome Max Reed Baldwin, the new him, who’s never a lawyer nor an inmate, who lived his life in Florida. He would never be able to meet his father, his brother, his sister, even his son who lived with his ex-wife but he chose to keep going on. But the story didn’t end there! Quin kept denying the accusation and told his lawyer the FBI forced him to confess. He knew the man behind this scene and asked his brother to look for Malcolm Bannister. He was really sure Malcolm used Rule 35 and changed his identity. And it didn’t take a long time for his brother to find Malcolm, who’s now Max Reed Baldwin, in Florida, enjoying his life to the fullest. Hearing this through their devices, the FBI freaked out and called Max that Quin’s guys already found him. Max blamed the FBI and chose to move to other places without giving a notice to FBI. With his new identity, he made a virtual documentary movie company and acted as a famous director who earned many awards in the field. With this, he began his true mission! The mission to catch the real culprit in Judge Fawcett murder and to revenge FBI, who made Malcolm Bannister’s life horrible. Through the eye of Malcolm Bannister’s, readers are brought to know about life in a special camp/prison, behind the scene of FBI investigation who sometimes intimidates the accused that he/she’s cornered and forced to do what FBI told. We know further about US Law System and its apparatus and how they coordinated with each other. And I bet Grisham put what his view of US Law System, FBI, and US special camp in this book (Well, almost all authors do that hhi). I find it interesting, though, it helped me to think critically of my country’s.

“I often wonder about their history. Who mined the gold? From which continent? Who minted it? How did it get into this country? And so on. But I know these questions will never be answered.” P. 350

First let’s talk about the characters. Here Malcolm Bannister a.k.a Max Reed Baldwin is the star. Almost everything in this book is explained through his perspective. Yeah, ‘almost’, because there are some parts in which he didn’t involve directly and those situations are described through third POV. We could see his subjective thought in every condition happening to him, which is undoubtedly suspicious towards FBI. In the beginning, I was sympathetic because seemingly he was a victim of FBI and the law system. But after he was set free, changed his identity, and finally known what he reported about Quin Rucker was not true, the sympathy gradually decreased. But still, I enjoyed to know what he’s been thinking, like it’s all unpredictable and brilliant. Even the FBI had no idea how to deal with the mess Max purposively created. His characterization was gradually revealed following the situations evolved and I finally could conclude how he was at the end of the story. In reality, I surely will not agree to how he solved problems, but it’s different when reading them through this book, like I think it’s funny hhi.

Others are also interesting, like Quin Rucker,the ‘victim’ of Bannister’s who just poured everything in his mind, ignoring the effect it could to him. I enjoyed reading his parts, and at the end, it’s also revealed he’s one of the mastermind along with Bannister! This story is really full of surprise! Victor Westlake was also a nice supporting character, a thoughtful and careful one. Actually his parts were only few but it’s stuck in my mind, because it always involved something funny, not meaningful though. Perhaps that is why I perceive this character is also interesting hhi.

The second one is the setting. I, and along with other readers, were brought to many places where Malcolm did his adventure; starting from Fostburg to Florida, and then to Miami, continute to Roanoke, then going to Jamaica, Virginia, and so forth (please note in mind that this is not the exact order, but these all are places in which the events took place). And before ending up with Vanessa, his friend’s sister , whom he had had a crush on ever since they met in the camp, Malcolm had a only-for-fun relationship with Eva while he was in Miami (not sure about this, I forget, sorry) and managed to flirt with other women lol. He definetly was more confident with his new look hhi.

Then if you asked me what’s the most special about this story, of course I would no doubt to say the plot! I think this is what those literature experts call the character-driven plot! The Racketeer, I mean, every characters and situations inside, are stirred by Malcolm. You know, especially the FBI was really only like a bunch of idiot puppets. It was really cool, in my opinion. Not all crime, mystery, and thriller authors can pull this kind of plot. So you already know for sure that I really had fun with this book and absolutely, this is one of my most recommended novel for you all, who love crime, thriller, suspense, mystery, law-themed books! No no no, not only for those kind, but also those who usually think this kind of books is not their cup of tea, because yeah, thriller, crime books usually are really serious and kinda boring.

But no, put aside that thought because you will have fun with this!! Trust me!! And I hope Indonesian publishers will translate this book to Bahasa so that people who enjoy reading in Bahasa can read this soon! =)) 

PS : I include this review as a part of my commitment in reading-along John Grisham’s books, hosted by Books to Share, under Mystery’s Books Club.

Mystery Book Club

Mystery Book Club

=) Rating : 5/5

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Review Post : Heist Society

Heist Society

Heist Society

 Title : Heist Society (Heist Society, #1)

 Author : Ally Carter
 Publisher : Disney-Hyperion
 Pages :  287 Pages
 Year of Publication : 2010 
 Language : English
 Genre(s) : Cozy mystery, adventure, Young-Adult, suspense
 Bought from :- (e-book was downloaded in a website)

 Synopsis and Cover Pic : Goodreads

Synopsis :

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat’s friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history–and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

***

Not many YA authors offer cozy mystery theme, as far as I’m concerned, particularly with a young girl as the lead character. Ally Carter, with her Heist Society series, has colored YA world with the theme and has given a new perspective that digging the teenage world through YA novels is not only from love, or triangle love. Well, actually this is not the first time for Carter. Her previous works in Gallagher Girls series which offered the same theme has gained much attention and also critical success.Okay, now let’s go dig this first part of Heist Society series : Heist Society!

This story stars Katarina Bishop, or Kat, a 16-year-old girl who was struggling to change her life. She had been a thief since she was only a kiddo, because she was coming from a thief-family. Her father, her late mother, her great uncle, her cousin, almost all her surroundings were thieves. But she really wanted to live like a normal girl, that’s why she chose to go to high school; and for reaching that goal, she broke some data in a junior high school so that she could fake her own data to be submitted to her targeted high school, Colgan. She pretended to be a young European immigrant.

But it turned out that her staying there didn’t take so long as her wish. There were some problems involving the head master’s car and school’s property, those two things were crashed together that they could not be identified what they were before becoming so broken. According to the record in CCTV, the culprit was a girl, and to be more particular, a girl with the same specifications as Kat. Kat’s being suspected and accused, and because she couldn’t prove her innocence, she had to step out of that dream school.

“If Kat had stayed at Colgan long enough, a teacher might have eventually told her what her family had been saying for generations : It’s okay to break the rules, but only sometimes, and only if you know them very, very well.”

And in the middle of nowhere, a rich yet naughty boy who happened to be her best friend, W.W. Hale the fifth a.k.a Hale picked her up and admitted he was the one who did that on purpose, to dismiss Kat from school. At first, Kat was angry, but not too much I figured because she just let things go so easily. She was still disappointed that she could not go to school, and confused of how to deal with her rest of family because she had made them so shocked she’s going to school and leaving family (theft) business, and now, she was going back. But yeah, she didn’t blame Hale so much, because Hale finally told her why.

Her father was in danger. He was accused of stealing five famous paintings from an Italian millionaire man, named Arturo Taccone. Her father was not the one doing that; he had been stealing another things in Paris at the time the paintings were stolen. But Taccone did not buy his story and haunted him. Kat then tried her best to save her father. She went to Paris to meet his father to ask for his explanation, but her coming quite confused her father because he expected Kat to study in Colgan. Kat didn’t feel ready to tell her dismissal and said that she was permitted with an excuse of being sick. Her father told her his alibi in Paris, which was supported by the Paris Interpol who had been following him ever since, even right then when they met up.

“The girls looked at him. When he spoke again, his voice was soft. “Arturo Taccone is in the business of evil.””

After explaining all things, Kat and her father went in different ways. But Kat ended up meeting with Taccone and she was threatened. Taccone said he still believed Kat’s father was the thief and he wanted his paintings back within 2 weeks, unless Kat wanted to see his father and people she most cared about suffer. No better options left, Kat chose to find the paintings even though she didn’t know anything. After some ‘researches’, he finally found out who the culprit was; a guy with an alias, a sacred alias that no random thieves will use it randomly due to its historical name value; Visily Romane.

And here started Kat’s adventure in saving her father. She was helped by Hale, her best friend as well as her crush (I bet she had a crush on him!!), her sexy cousin, Gabrielle, the funny Bagshaw brothers, and the clumsy yet genius Simon. Well, I will not continue the summary. It will contain spoiler! =p

“Running a crew means delegating, knowing when to sit out and let others take the lead. Understanding what your best resources are and exactly how to use them.”

This is a funny, entertaining, and also giving you lessons. I am not confused with any descriptions there, I think Carter composited the novel proportionally; the setting descriptions, the way she introduced each characters there, the surprising part in the end, they are well arranged. If it’s not because I had to do some things else—and also be distracted by many things else—I would have kept reading the books until it finished. It was such a page turner!

Not to mention that Katarina’s character is one of a kind, at least for a 16-year-old girl. She was kinda boyish but independent, caring her father so much, even still loving and reminiscing memories of her mother. She was not defined by her relationship with boys; I am sure she loved Hale more than as her best friend or partner in crime, but she didn’t let her feeling swap her focus and keep being professional in the field—by ‘field’ I mean when they did a robbery. But she was too innocent, no, I think too ignorant about her feeling towards Hale. And for me, her characters are what I wish I had in my 16-year-old era hhi.

“The people she most cared about were depicted there in black-and-white and the message was clear : Arturo Taccon knew how to find the people and things that were important to her, and if Kat didn’t do the same, he wouldn’t be the only one to lose something she loved.”

“For the first time in Katarina Bishop’s life, she truly understood that a picture is worth a thousand words.”

And for Hale, maan, I really love this teenage boy! He’s cute , and based on Kat’s perception, I mean Carter’s description of Hale’s appearance through Kat’s, Hale is a handsome boy. And though he was rich, he was kinda lonely. That is why he had fun with Kat’s family, even joined their business kekeke. And I thought his first encounter with Kat was lovely; he caught Kat in the scene when she was about to steal his Monex’s painting lol. His calmness, cheerfulness, and brilliancy in solving problems are so lovable!!! He also cared for Kat so much. Though I was quite pissed in the beginning because he made Kat out from Colgan, then I found myself like this character. Hhi.

A little spoiler, at the end, Hale did something to help Kat gain back her place in Colgan. =)

“Hale looked at Gabrielle and gestured at Kat. “She’s adorable when she’s jealous.” Kat kicked his shin. “Hey! It had to be done, remember? And contrary to popular belief, I don’t know that many girls.” They both stared at him. “Okay, I don’t know that many girls who have your special skills.” Gabrielle batted her eyelashes. “Oh, you do know how to make a girl feel special.” But Kat… Kat felt like a fool.”

And for Taccone, he was horrible, I think. He liked Kat’s wit but enjoyed seeing her struggle to help her father. He was protected by two guards and I bet he couldn’t do anything unless his guards stood beside him all the time. He was a bad millionaire, enjoyed collecting paintings in a bad manner, and enjoyed games in which someone had to suffer. At the end, he ended up so bad. He deserved it hihi.

I had fun seeing other characters too. I was not fond of Gabrielle at first, but gradually I began to like her. Perhaps because she appeared to be so feminine and sexy and often teasing Kat by being close to Hale. Simon’s soooo cute!!! He was a cute nerd and I wanted to pinch him! Hihi. Two Bagshaw brothers are lovely, too. I really enjoyed reading this story!

“She didn’t protest as Hale slid his arm around her and pulled her to rest against his chest. It was somehow softer there than she remembered.”

I think Indonesian authors who focus on writing teenage literatures can try this genre. It’s so rare here in Indonesia to find teenage books with theme like Heist Society. Not that I support swindling or robbery by teenager, but the values inside this story, reflected by each characters’ decision and act are important for teenagers’ growth, in my opinion.

Still, don’t do robbery, kids! Lol.

I recommend this book for you who want to enjoy the light reading but still contain important messages. Like I said, Heist Society is entertaining and sending good messages for young teenage girl (particularly). 

PS : But I happened to regret that in my teenage year, I didn’t read many YA-cozy mystery stories like this. Ever since I was in junior high school, I have been reading detective, crime, and mystery novels. At that time, I still didn’t know much about YA novels and I thought there were only stories about teenage love. But I was mistaken!! Well, I enjoy reading romance but teenage love is too fishy, I reckon. T.T

=)

Rating : 4/5

Review Post : Gone Girl

Gone Girl

Gone Girl

Gone Girl

 Title : Gone Girl

 Author : Gyllian Flynn
 Publisher : Phoenix Fiction UK (UK Version)
 Pages :  466 Pages
 Year of Publication : 2012 (in Great Britain)
 Language : English
 Genre(s) : Mystery, Thriller, Romance
 Bought from : I borrowed this one from my sister =)

 Synopsis and Cover Pic : Goodreads

Synopsis :

Who are you? What have we done to each other?

These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they weren’t made by him. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone.

So what did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife?

***

Okay, I don’t know how to explain my opinion about this novel. I’m having, you know, a love-hate feeling towards this. I 
really want to express it in the shorter form but once I start writing, I can’t stop it. So here I am babblering and I hope 
you are interested enough to read =)

The premise of this novel is nothing new for me . It is about a man, Nick Dunne, a young-retired journalist, whose wife, Amy Elliot Dunne was gone missing from home while he was away, and suspected that she was kidnapped considering a mess that occured in their home. But the police and other people around Firstly, this reminded me of Paper Towns with quite similar premise and plot. Even the character of the female leads is in a certain way indifferent. I almost gave up to read this because it was quite boring in the beginning, thinking I’d better go for another novel more worth of the attention. But I thought it was a shame to drop this and give up. And it turned out I didn’t regret my decision. Facts revealed in the middle, about Amy. About who she actually was and what she was actually thinking. What she was actually planning to her husband. She, in fact, was not the sweet amazing Amy everyone’d been thinking of. She was a really freakin…okay, you know, when I knew this I was really pissed!!!! Fckin pissed! I gave my sympathy to her in the beginning , like she really wanted to delight Nick but it just didn’t work out, and Nick had a secret young mistress. But that feeling towards her directly dissolved and shifted towards Nick after knowing she ran away and made it look like her husband killed him on purpose to make Nick suffer and be accused of the murder which never happened.

“The way some women change fashion regularly, I change personalities. What persona feels good, what’s coveted, what’s au courant? I think most people do this, they just don’t admit it, or else they settle on one persona because they’re too lazy or stupid to pull off switch.” p.250

I know I shouldn’t have been like this for a fictional character but you know that feeling right, outraged towards persons in the novel who you know do not exist but you just keep feeling pissed because of who they are? That’s exactly what I was feeling back then. Fiuh. Well, I tried not to tell you a complete story, I do not want to spoil anything, but just a little hint, Amy is like a woman version of the TV-Version Sherlock– A high functioning sociopath. 

Really, what she did to her husband is really surprisingly horrible. Okay, I started being subjective and emotional..

Now that you read half of this, it may seem to you that this is a dark-love story, but it’s not. Flynn packed it 
with so many humors, shown throught the thought of the two main characters. SHe definitely annoyingly shocked and amazed me with the real Amy. She suceeded in making me curious of where the story headed and in the end, well, it’s quite unpredictably predictable. Okay, it’s confusing but when you read and finish with it, you might know what I’m trying to say…or you might not. Try not to be more confused lol.

Anyway, I have no favorite character in this story. Nick got my symphaty but the fact that he cheated was just too much to be ignored. But if I were asked who the most sane one is among all insane ones in this story, I would say Go, Nick’s little sister. She was cool, you know. I like her, but not enough to declare her my favorite.

“You just want an excuse to stay… You two, you’re fucking addicted to each other. You are literally going to be a nuclear family, you do know that? You will explode. You will fucking detonate. You really think you can possibly do this for, what, the next eighteen years? You don’t think she’ll kill you?” p.460

Because this novel was written to describe two perspectives from two main characters, it emphasized more of how Nick and Amy thought about each others, and also about some people involved in their marriage life. That is why it’s not too detailed in describing things, places, and other setting elements. It’s okay for me, and it’s not cheesy at all.

“Until Nick, I’d never really felt like a person, because I was always a product. Amazing Amy has to be brilliant, creative, kind, thoughtful, witty, and happy.” p.252

This story teaches me that not all things can happen like the way we hope. It’s a mind trap for Amy, and for me, and anyone else. Even Amy was willing to lie to herself, to anyone, about who she really was to be able to make everything under her control. And being brilliant can get us anywhere, but not everywhere. There must be flaws in our brilliant plan. Again, it occured to Amy, so we do not need to be too confident and proud of it. And the last, be ourselves. Not everyone can take us for granted, for who we really are, but there must be someone, some people, who will. So I learn not to pretend, not to mention to lie to everyone to gain their attention and symphathy.

“Nick loved me…But he didn’t love me, me. Nick loved a girl who doesn’t exist. I was pretending, the way I often did, pretending to have a personality…” p.250

This is the most uncomprehensive and subjective review I’ve ever written (Have I ever been not? Lol). Despite making me bored in the threshold, I like this book and I recommend it to you! Enjoy it and please, for women, do not be an Amy!

Cheerio!!

“But my point was, do something. Whatever it is, do something. Make the most of the situation. Don’t sit and wait for me to fix everything for you.” p.203

PS : I like this quote. Though the context is different, but it pushes me to maximize everything I have, in every situation and not to wait for another people to get help.

 

By the way, this novel is adapted to movie, starring Ben Affleck as Nick  Dunne and Rosamund Pike as Amy Elliot Dune. This is directed by David Fincher (the one who also directed The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo, Panic Room, and The Social Network) and will be out this October. The casts are interesting! Can’t wait to see how they will portray the characters. But I heard there will be something different in the ending. Or will it be totally different? Well, we just can wait and see.

=)

Rating : 4/5

Book Review : Paper Towns

Paper Towns

Paper Towns

Paper Towns
Title : Paper Towns  
Author : John Green
Publisher : Speak
Pages : 305 Pages
Year of Publication : 2009 (First published in 2008)
Language : English
Genre(s) : Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Adventure
Bought from : Books and Beyond (SunPlaza)
Synopsis and Cover Pic : Goodreads
Synopsis :
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows.After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.
***
Of five John Green’s books that were displayed in the bookstores, I chose to read Paper Towns first. Actually I was more curious about The Fault in Our Stars, since this has gotten so famous that the movie adaptation was made and gonna be aired around July 2014. But the book was about 0.99 cent more expensive than Paper Towns so I thought I just tried the later. Yeah, money talked. Lol.I did not expect too much for the first time of reading Green’s But the title itself quite made me wonder when reading the prologue, like what is paper town? Does it has anything to do with the ‘me’ (who is Q, the main character as well as narrator of the story)? or Margo? And it pushed me towards the next page.

“The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightning, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a smal nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this : out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.” Q

I can say I enjoyed reading this novel. Green’s writing style seems to suit my taste, to the point, detailed about the setting, but entertaining. I also love the jokes in this books, told by some characters in this books. It’s so teenagers.

The story itself is interesting, the ideas, the characters, settings. Quentin or Q, as the main character as well as narrator of the story, was shown as a boy who was comfortable with his own life, a good boy to his parents and never made a trouble. Perhaps, the flaw in his life was being bullied by Chuck Parson ever since they knew each other. Also, he had this secret feeling with his childhood friend as well as neighbor, Margo. But he always thought she’s beyond his reach, even though they used to be so close until age 9, because she appeared to be so sociable, popular, but adventurous. She was completely different and in a different world with him. Eventually, an event got him close again with her, which made him able to know her more. But when he thought they could be like they used to be, Margo suddenly disappeared. Only leaving him some clues, which led to the title of this book, Paper Towns.

The searching of Margo didn’t only involve Q alone. Two Q’s best friends, Ben and Radar, and also Margo’s besties and later became Ben’s girlfriend, Lacey, joined Q’s journey. I really like Q, Ben, and Radar’s friendship. Each of them has different character. Ben’s somewhat silly, quite obsessed to have a prom date, often talking about ‘balls’, but fun to get along with. While Radar’s a genius in technology, smart, able to give way out to problems, though he can be dramatic when talking about his parents’ obsession. At first they two had different opinions with Q about Margo’s leaving. Q even happened to have an argument with Ben. But the fight didn’t last long and finally, they voluntarily joined Q and skip school graduation. With Lacey.

“You know your problem, Quentin? You keep expecting people not to be themselves. I mean, I could hate you for being massively unpuctual and for never being interested in anything other than Margo Roth Spiegelman, and for, like, never asking me about how it’s going with my girlfriend — but I don’t give a shit, man, because you’re you…I’m too obsessed with a reference web site to answer my phone sometimes when my friends call, or my girlfriend. That’s okay, too. That’s me. You like me anyway. And I like you. You’re funny, and you’re smart, and you may show up late, but you always show up eventually.” Radar

Though Q and Margo are the centre of this story, I prefer Radar and Ben. Radar is so nice and wise as a friend, and quite useful too in technology Lol. He is matured enough in dealing with people though he can be so absorbed when being around his reference website. He is also a good listener and good advisor. While Ben, though he is quite childish and silly, but he could cheer his friends up and a kind that would apologize once he knows he is wrong. And though appear ignorant, he can become the savior of his friends! Just read the book and you will see!

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I wasn’t thinking about none of y’all. I. Wanted. To. Save. My. Ass.” Ben (he said this in one of my favorite scene in this book. So funny Lol)
The characters that are so unpleasant to see is Margo’s parents. I am really grateful that I have parents that are happy to have me around though I make troubles so often. 

Well, the process of finding Margo finally makes Q realize that she may not be who she is known as all these times. Their previous conversation and the clues about paper town(s) helps Q not only finding where Margo is, but also getting close to understand who the real Margo is.

“I didn’t really look down and think about how everything was made of paper. I looked down and thought about how I was made of paper. I was the flimsy-foldable person, not everyone else. And here’s the thing about it. People love the idea of a paper girl. They always have. And the worst thing is that I loved it, too. I cultivated it, you know?” Margo

John Green through Paper Towns is kinda telling us that sometimes people can be mistaken in judging others. They may appear too unreachable for us, because of their status, their unique hobbies that differ from us, or the different peers each of us join. Even I myself often think that people that seem to be so sociable and obnoxious never feel lonely or hurt. Yeah, that makes us forget that they are also a human, who, like us, can also feel facing this world alone. 

Sometimes they become like what we think because we make them to. 

“Margo Roth Spiegelman was a person, too. And I had never quite thought of her that way, not really; it was a failure of all my previous imaginings. All along– not only since she left, but for a decade before– I had been imagining her without listening, without knowing she made as poor a window as I did. And so I could not imagine her as a person who could feel fear, who could feel isolated in a roomful of people, who could be shy about her record collection because it was too personal to share. Someone who might read travel books to escape having to live in the town that so many people escape to. Someone who–because no one thought she was a person– had no one to really talk to.” Q

Also, it’s good to realize the capacity we have to support the one we love, like Q towards Margo. He really loves Margo but he knows who he is and who she is, finally. And that makes him feel sure if he could stay with Margo or not.

“I can’t be you. You can’t be me. You can imagine another well– but never quite perfectly, you know?…”
Well, despite all the goods, I happened to feel so bored in the middle of the story and I was like ‘when will this Margo show up? When will this Q finally find her?’ And after all the enjoyment I got, the ending pissed me off. Quite. It’s not that disappointing actually, but It left me hanging, wondering about the conclusion. I kinda figure it out but still, I want Green to make sure it is like what I am thinking of. 

Yeah, but still, this book is worth your penny. =)

PS : I am sorry if my English is not so good and probably quite difficult to understand.

Rating : 4/5

“When did we see each other face to face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out”