I mean, is there any other way to read Paper Towns? Like all John Green books, Paper Towns can only be devoured whole. So if you’re planning to see the movie and haven’t read it yet, you’ve got plenty of time. But when the dust settles and the tear-soaked pages finally dry, where do you turn? You will inevitably look to An Abundance of Katherines, The Fault in Our Stars, and Looking for Alaska if you haven’t read them already—and they will not disappoint. After that, try these:
1. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
For me, John Green and Rainbow Rowell go hand in hand. Their books are equally fun, insightful, and moving. While Rowell’s most-loved book Eleanor & Park is also a fantastic choice, I highly recommend Attachments as your first post-Paper Townsread. The novel takes place as an often-hilarious email exchange between two work friends, Beth and Jennifer. They know someone is monitoring their work email, but they don’t know that the person reading them is falling for Beth. Thematically, it’s similar to Paper Towns in that Lincoln is learning about Beth little by little, through clues of sorts. It’s a quirky romance that somehow reads like a page-turning thriller—you will not be disappointed.
2. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
After the humor of Attachments, you may be prepared to dive back into the tearjerkers, and you should do so with Thirteen Reasons Why. High school student Clay Jenson is reeling from the suicide of his classmate and crush Hannah Baker when he finds a mysterious box full of cassette tapes on his doorstep. It’s Hannah, telling 13 different stories about her classmates that detail why she decided to commit suicide. Again, the theme is right there with Paper Towns. And yes, it makes an absolutely devastating read. But it’s ultimately a beautiful message about the importance of treating people with kindness.
3. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Even though the cover is a complete rip-off of Where’d You Go Bernadette?, Finding Audrey stands on its own as one of this summer’s breakout YA novels. After being traumatized by a bullying incident, 14-year-old Audrey develops an anxiety disorder and her parents resort to home-schooling, while Audrey hides behind her sunglasses and the walls of her house. On the road to recovery, Audrey meets her brother’s friend Linus, and a sweet friendship develops that helps Audrey get back to herself.
4. This Side of Home by Renee Watson
This Side of Home was Renee Watson’s first foray into Young Adult, and it immediately stood out as one of 2015’s must-reads in the category. The story centers on Maya, a young woman entering her senior year of high school and dealing with the rapid changes in her Portland neighborhood. As her hometown transforms from rough to “up-and-coming,” filled with coffee shops and boutiques, Maya feels like she is losing her home, while her twin sister is thrilled. Watson beautifully navigates the typical coming-of-age struggles with friends, dating, and going off to college alongside a poignant exploration of gentrification, identity, race, class, and culture.
5. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
If you’re missing the road trip part of Paper Towns, check out Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour. Amy is forced to transport her car from California to her mother’s new home in Connecticut, but ever since her father died in a car accident, she doesn’t feel so comfortable behind the wheel. Luckily Roger, a family friend whom she has known forever, offers to make the drive with her. As they travel across the country, you’ll experience their playlists, their travel journals, their menu options, and most importantly, all of the feels.
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