Quentin Jacobsen has lived next to Margo Roth Spiegelman since they were two years old. In high school Margo is friends with the popular kids and Quentin is friends with the kids in the band. A few weeks before graduation Margo climbs into Quentin's window and asks for his help. He agrees and drives her around while she gets revenge on her now ex-boyfriend Jason, her former best friend Lacey and Becca who was sleeping with Jason. The next day Margo doesn't show up at school, but her presence is still there. On Saturday a detective and Margo's parents are asking Quentin when he last saw Margo. Margo has disappeared before and come back, but this time its not likely she'll come back. Quentin and his friends are able to get into Margo's room to look for clues where she could have gone. There are highlighted parts in the poem "Song to Myself" by Walt Whitman, which Quentin reads over and over to find out where Margo has gone. Eventually he finds an abandoned building where Margo stayed the few days after their late night adventure. From there they find a comment on a blog and that directs Quentin, Lacey, Ben, Radar to find a fictional town in New York where she might be. They then skip graduation, and head on a road trip to New York where they hope they will find Margo.
After the first few chapters Paper Towns seemed to be a retelling of Looking for Alaska, but as the story moved on it became its own entity. The bonds of friendship resonate throughout the whole book. John Green shows us that old friendships can waver, but if they are strong enough will not break. New friendships can be formed just by a single event, and those might work out for a long while.