Parents' Guide to

Paper Towns

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Edgy, compelling teen angst mystery.

Paper Towns Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 23 parent reviews

age 15+


There's a great disconnect here. Who would believe a girl could be "cool" if at age 13 she was hanging out with several older boys, hanging out in abandoned buildings, and running away from home? There's no way this girl would be graduating from high school like a normal teenager. This book is nothing but a teenage male fantasy filled with lots of talk about their genitalia and the hopes of using it. Although the references to Whitman are useful, nothing about this book is enlightening. I couldn't stop myself from laughing at parts, but I actually felt a bit dirty when I finished it. It was obviously written to become a movie, and it has shades of "The Hangover" in it. This book isn't for kids unless you really don't care what they put in their heads.

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
1 person found this helpful.
age 14+

The pros outweigh the cons

I loved almost everything in this book. My favorite John Green novel of this, TFIOS, and, LFA, also the most appropriate. I have considered buying the book and whiting out all of the swear words, and if you're a parent that is going to read this before your child, I recomend doing that. Nothing graphic about adultery, but references to it are, for me, to common. If someone is smart enough to not pull the pranks or illegally get drunk, like in the story, then those parts will be no problem.

This title has:

Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (23):
Kids say (105):

The key to author John Green's success is his books' vivid and engaging characters, both major and secondary, who are trying to figure it all out. With his third book, Green seems to be developing a specialty: thoughtful, talky stories about smart but clueless high school boys trying to figure out girls, love, and life while dealing with a crisis and a road trip. Margo is AWOL for much of the book, and Quentin is obsessively trying to figure out what happened to her -- so it's his supportive friends who provide the reader with the humor and pure joie de vivre that makes the book fun as well as thoughtful. Quentin's two best friends are characters in both meanings of the word: Both are band geeks; Ben is obsessed with prom, thrilled to have a date, and likes to think of himself as retro-cool (he refers to girls as "honeybunnies," and Quentin is unable to convince him that it's not cool, it's just dorky). Radar is a fanatical editor of a Wikipedia-like site, and his parents have the world's second-largest collection of Black Santas. Together with Quentin, they're a pretty sweet group of teens, and readers will enjoy their journey -- and conversations.

Book Details

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