Check out our list of wonderful quotes from John Green’s book, Paper Towns, which is adapted into a movie showing on July 24, 2015. Enjoy!
The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightning, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a small nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.
My head was level with hers as we stared at each other from opposite sides of the glass. I don’t remember how it ended—if I went to bed or she did. In my memory, it doesn’t end. We just stay there, looking at each other, forever.
High school is neither a democracy nor a dictatorship – nor, contrary to popular belief, an anarchic state. High school is a divine-right monarchy. And when the queen goes on vacation, things change.
It was nice—in the dark and the quiet, with no possibility of me saying anything to screw it up, and her eyes looking back, like there was something in me worth seeing.
“Tonight, darling, we are going to right a lot of wrongs. And we are going to wrong some rights. The first shall be last; the last shall be first; the meek shall do some earth-inheriting. But before we can radically reshape the world, we need to shop.”
“I’m starting to realize that people lack good mirrors. It’s so hard for anyone to show us how we look, and so hard for us to show anyone how we feel.”
“But isn’t it also that on some fundamental level we find it difficult to understand that other people are human beings in the same way that we are? We idealize them as gods or dismiss them as animals.”
Margo always loved mysteries. And in everything that came afterward, I could never stop thinking that maybe she loved mysteries so much that she became one.
“Did you know that for pretty much the entire history of the human species, the average life span was less than thirty years? You could count on ten years or so of real adulthood, right? There was no planning for retirement. There was no planning for a career. There was no planning. No time for planning. No time for a future. But then the life spans started getting longer, and people started having more and more future, and so they spent more time thinking about it. About the future. And now life has become the future. Every moment of your life is lived for the future—you go to high school so you can go to college so you can get a good job so you can get a nice house so you can afford to send your kids to college so they can get a good job so they can get a nice house so they can afford to send their kids to college.”
“That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people would want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfast cereals based on color instead of taste. It’s the next exit, by the way. But I’m not pretty, not close up anyway. Generally, the closer people get to me the less hot they find me.”
“When you say nasty things about people, you should never say the true ones, because you can’t really fully and honestly take those back, you know? I mean, there are highlights. And there are streaks. And then there are skunk stripes.”
“Everything’s uglier close up,” she said. “Not you,” I answered before thinking better of it.
“Here’s what’s not beautiful about it: from here, you can’t see the rust or the cracked paint or whatever, but you can tell what the place really is. You see how fake it all is. It’s not even hard enough to be made out of plastic. It’s a paper town. I mean look at it, Q: look at all those cul-de-sacs, those streets that turn in on themselves, all the houses that were built to fall apart. All those paper people living in their paper houses, burning the future to stay warm. All the paper kids drinking beer some bum bought for them at the paper convenience store. Everyone demented with the mania of owning things. All the things paper-thin and paper-frail. And all the people, too. I’ve lived here for eighteen years and I have never once in my life come across anyone who cares about anything that matters.”
I always felt like you had to be important to have enemies. Example: Historically, Germany has had more enemies than Luxembourg. Margo Roth Spiegelman was Germany. And Great Britain. And the United States. And czarist Russia. Me, I’m Luxembourg. Just sitting around, tending sheep, and yodeling.
“I didn’t need you, you idiot. I picked you. And then you picked me back.” Now she looked at me. “And that’s like a promise. At least for tonight. In sickness and in health. In good times and in bad. For richer, for poorer. Till dawn do us part.”
Her lips were so close to me that I could feel her smile.
Only now, after all this lost time, did I realize how terribly I had misunderstood both her game and the prize for winning it.
Talking to a drunk person was like talking to an extremely happy, severely brain-damaged three-year-old.
Peeing is like a good book in that it is very, very hard to stop once you start the pleasure isn’t in doing the thing; the pleasure is in planning it.>
“It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.”
What a treacherous thing it is to believe that a person is more than a person.
“But then again, if you don’t imagine, nothing ever happens at all.”
“I’m not saying that everything is survivable. Just that everything except the last thing is.”