There's something about teenagers I find wholly obnoxious. Maybe it's the undeserved attitude of self righteousness. Maybe it's the insistence that no-one understands them. Maybe it's the belief that everything they are doing right now individually, is more vitally important than anything else that other people are achieving. Maybe it's the intensity with which they go about their daily lives. Maybe it's their penchant for obsession and over philosophical analysation of every situation they find themselves in. Well heads up guys: the world is a pretty big place. There are seven billion of us sharing this atmosphere and we've all been teenagers. There's nothing mystical about being sixteen, seventeen or eighteen. And believe me, these are not the most important years of your life. These are in fact, your final years of being able to make a giant cock-up and it having next to no consequence in your later life. So guys, instead of moping, why not enjoy this freedom. I can assure you, only at 17 will you be able to drive 1100 miles, surviving on your parents money to search for some girl you don't even know. Only at 17 will you have to time to wander around an abandoned mini-mall staring at the walls and noticing the way the starlight plays out across the dusty floor. Only at 17 will you have the energy to stay up drinking until 5am and have friends with enough time, loyalty and stupidity to arrive to scrape you off the floor and pick a glued-on beer can off your hand. So hey - here's an idea: quit being so hard done by. Go to fucking school, enjoy your friends and your goddam free time and be super grateful that your parents will pay for college and a pissing car and stop trying to find more meaning than there is your fucking "paper" life. Because the meaning will come, my friends. Having only 17 years of experience at life is not the time to be searching for it.
Of course, I don't refer to every teenage alive. There are some people who have struggled. And I acknowledge and respect that. But the people who work their damn asses off, the people who have to fight to get what they want, the people who pull themselves up out of a toxic situation and make changes off their own backs are generally not the kind of people who drive around, using their parents gas to explore abandoned subdivisions and then create some deep and philosophical meaning for their actions. No these are the people who just live their goddam life. Who achieve something, who are down to earth and realistic and switched on and who get shit done.
Sadly Paper Towns by John Green is about the first kind of teenager.
Quentin is your average high school kid, middle of the road in the pecking order with a few good friends, average grades and loving parents. He has had a crush on his next door neighbour, Margo Roth Spieglman forever and when she disappears following a whirlwind night of pranks and hi-jinks on which she insists Quentin (nicknamed Q) accompanies her, Q is left puzzled, hurt and afraid for her safety. He discovers clues she left, breadcrumb style just days before she vanished and with the help of his friends Ben, Radar and Lacey he sets out to discover her whereabouts, along the way realising that she wasn't the girl he thought he knew.