by John Green
Here’s a book you can give to young men and women in equal measure. For girls, it will give them a rare glimpse into male obsession. For guys, it’s a male bonding experience with some great pranks. For all teens, the story offers a strong dose of detective work and high adventure--a road trip, in fact. Quentin (“Q”) Jacobsen hits the road with his buddies in search of Margo Roth Spiegelman. Q has lived next door to Margo since they were two, in their Jefferson Park subdivision of Orlando, Fla. He has been in love with her since they were nine. On May 5, just before their graduation from high school, Q spends a night with Margo that changes his life (not for sexual reasons, but for revenge-seeking reasons). The next day, Margo disappears, and Q realizes he has no idea who she really is or where she might have gone. Margo does, however, leave behind a string of clues. The first is a Woody Guthrie poster taped to the back of her window shade that only Q can see from his bedroom window. Subsequent clues lead Q to Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. In her copy, Margo has highlighted lines from "Song of Myself," which provide yet more clues. Other cool facts unfold. For instance, what is a paper town? Agloe, N.Y., is a paper town, a fictional town created by cartographers that serves as a “copyright trap.” Q sets aside the girl of his invention and, with the help of his best friends, Ben and Radar, goes to great lengths to connect the clues and to piece together a picture of the real Margo Roth Spiegelman. Green combines the themes of growing up and seeing things as they are in his strongest book so far. His legion fans call themselves nerdfighters, and your teen may want to join their ranks.