By Adventures in Obsessive Reading 

Paper Towns

Author: John Green
Page Count: 305
Rating: A
Keywords: Senior Year, Mystery, Crush, the one that got away, male POV
Genre: Contemporary YA
Younger Readers: some crude language but should be fine for younger readers

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs 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 the girl he thought he knew…

Review:

The great and wonderful Margo was probably my least favorite character in this entire book! She came across as shallow and toxic but this doesn’t mean that I did not absolutely love this book. Once the story was just Radar, Ben, Lacey, and Quentin I was obsessed. There were sentimental moments but what I really enjoyed was the humor. Not many books make me laugh out loud, but this one certainly did. You will understand this if you have read it: black Santas and the road trip crash. These are two of my absolute favorite moments. Yes, I was angry at Margo for most of the book and still was not a huge fan of hers by the end but the mystery element she introduced was entertaining and kept the story moving and gave it greater depth than if it had simply been a funny book. An added bonus? This book had a good ending and wrapped up nicely. I hate when a book ends in a frustrating way.

I recommend this to everyone! Check it out!

The Portable Veblen

Author: Elizabeth Mckenzie
Page Count: 413
Rating: C
Keywords: Squirrels, Identity, Crisis, Pharmaceutical Sales, Murder, Veterans
Genre: Fiction
Younger Readers: This is written for adults. Sex, drugs, drinking, murder, and mental illness are all present.

I am completely unsure how to review this book. Simultaneously, I love and hate this novel. To be fair to those wanting to read it, I will do my best to explain this confusion.

The novel started off just as quirky and adorable as the cover. There really are squirrels present throughout the book. I enjoyed reading from the perspective of the ever-distracted Veblen as she stumbles through life. Her inner monologue and quirks are entertaining to encounter as well as uniquely endearing. Her quirkiness is similar to that of Zooey Deschanel’s Jess in the television series New Girl, but with darker undertones. 

I cannot stand Paul through 90% of this book. Initially, his devotion to Veblen is endearing and there is hope for their future. However, his inner thoughts and flashbacks constantly create a severe dislike for the man. His morals and actions are equally disdainful and he is just barely able to redeem himself, somewhat, by the end of the tale. 

Much of the middle portion of this book is filled with rather dark material. Veblen and Paul’s families are introduced. Each make up an interesting study of mental health and dysfunctional family dynamics. These interactions are often uncomfortable, tense, and overly emotional. Each character experienced abuse, emotional for one character and neglect for the other, as they were growing up and this is revealed through flashbacks. 

The final quarter of this book saved it for me. All of the oddities of the first 75% of the book come together to create a sudden and massive action sequence. There is even an unexpected happily ever after. For some this ending will be underdeveloped and far too sudden. However, it does wrap up the story well enough. 

Read at your own risk. It certainly had a negative effect on my mood while I was reading it. However, thinking back on the story I have much fonder emotions for it now.

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