Posted by JainaL on Saturday, Nov 8, 2008 - 3:52 PM

nerdfighters.jpgOMG! I can't believe that it's November already!! You know that we are merely DAYS away from our NERDFIGHTER event at Bedford Middle School? That's right, this Wednesday night, brothers John and Hank Green will be in Westport. The event starts at 7, but arrive early to get a good seat. There will be a book signing afterward. In other Nerdfighting news:

Some Fairfield County Nerdfighters have made their own YouTube channel, that is way too awesome not to hype.

Also, it occurred to me that I never posted my pal Emma-Jean Weinstein's review of John's new book Paper Towns. I asked her to do it last summer when I had a super-special advance copy of the book and was waiting until the book was actually released to put her review on my blog. So, here it is:


After reading John Green’s Looking for Alaska, I doubted it could be outdone. While his following novel, An Abundance of Katherines, was enjoyable I just wasn’t as partial to it as I was to the raw humor, honesty and emotion of Alaska. Alaska was a book I kept at hand, always laying somewhat ragged on my bedroom floor covered with notes and markings, perhaps a couple teardrops remained on the worn pages from a particularly emotional read. It was my staple book, one I would always open after a bad fight or just an emotional evening. I knew I would probably always enjoy all of Green’s future works, but nothing would compare to the sentiment I held for Alaska.

Then I read Paper Towns.

Paper Towns had all of the aspects of Alaska that I held so dear, but it’s slightly more captivating and, to some extent, more relatable (at least for a kid who goes to public school in suburbia). The main character, Quinton is a kid most high school students know; he’s just kind of there. Just breathing oxygen, but not doing much else intriguing. Yet, the girl he claims he’s been in love with since childhood, his next-door neighbor Margo Roth Spiegelman, is a lot more than there. She overwhelms with her presence and reputation. On a night when Margo decides to take Q on an all-night adventure that includes getting revenge on both of their rivals and breaking into Sea World, Q wakes fantasizing a perfect future he will have with Margo, thinking their bonding experience the night before has changed everything. However, she disappears and leaves only a ridiculous series of clues as to her whereabouts, nearly impossible to solve.

Now, it must be said that my reading of Paper Towns was extraordinarily biased. Throughout the year of 2007, Green took part in a video blog with his brother, Hank, where they posted a four minute video on alternate weekdays, essentially chronicling their year through “nerdtastic” witticisms. They gained quite a following (me included) and continue the “vlogs”, no longer daily, but weekly in the year of 2008.

I don’t know many authors, or any, for that matter and have never had the experience of reading the novel of someone I’ve known. But this came pretty darn close. After having someone tell you about his day or his thoughts for four minutes every other day, he morphs into a friend rather than a stranger. While reading the book, his voice and opinions felt strangely familiar and comforting.

Even if you’ve never heard of a nerdfighter, you will not be disappointed by Paper Towns. Even if you’re no longer a teenager, I doubt it will be hard to remember being extraordinarily disenfranchised, feeling like you’re living in a Paper Town. At a time when we’re feeling lost about who we are and who we’re surrounded by, Paper Towns will give you comfort. John Green always has the capability of reminding you that you’re never alone; along with the ability to get teenagers who’ve never read a poem willingly, to buy the complete works of Walt Whitman (which I did).

I went to meet John’s brother, Hank, just days ago with a bunch of other Nerdfighters, and brought the copy of Paper Towns I was borrowing to be signed by, not John, but Hank and another YA author who was there, Maureen Johnson. Hank called John during the gathering and I got a chance to talk to him. I asked if it would be acceptable if I circulated the Advanced Copy.

“Of course! Tell Hank to read some of it!” he responded, enthusiastically. I then threw the book to Hank while we all sat in a circle in Union Square and he read one of the best sections aloud to us. He proceeded to carry the book around with him the rest of the night absentmindedly while we wandered through the city, commenting on the many pink post-its marking my favorite parts, and later signed it amusedly with a messy, yet endearing signature. I can’t help but feel that this copy of the book now has a little special magic of it’s own, that it has, perhaps, been nerdfightingly blessed. And frankly, although I didn’t think it was possible, it makes me adore the book even a little bit more.


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