I read Paper Towns by John Green in August 2014 which is a whole year ago, so this review won't comment much on how close the adaptation was because, to be honest, I can't remember specifics about the book, but I do know that the film was slightly disappointing and didn't have the same vibes as the book did.
John Green's characters are known for being pretentious and 'wise beyond their years,' but Paper Towns is perhaps the only book where this particular character type was played down. Sure, Margo had a lot of issues and the extravagant clues and Walt Whitman fixation are true to John Green's style but the traits that made Margo Margo, have all been removed in the movie. In the movie, Margo is a dulled-down less extreme, less interesting version of herself and that really disappointed me because it was one of the aspects that I loved about the book.
Cara's acting was great. I'm a big fan of Cara and when I first heard she was playing Margo, I knew she would be perfect as she already had that mysterious crazy-girl vibe about her. Similarly, Nat was the perfect Q. The nerdy awkwardness of Q's character was still very present in the movie and I think Nat personified this aspect flawlessly.
There were a few points in the movie that made me laugh, but I had hoped for more, in all honesty. I don't remember the book being particularly funny, but I do think it would have made the movie better to add some more humorous moments into the script.
And finally, I can't end this review without commenting on the ending. I don't remember how the book ended, I'll be honest. But I'm pretty sure Q's friends didn't leave him on the other side of the country, miles from home, on his own, with no car/plan to get home just because they didn't want to miss their high-school prom. And when Q eventually got home in time for prom - he danced with his friends as though nothing had even happened. This infuriated me and quite frankly, made no sense. If my friends had done that to me, there would be no way I'd be acting as though nothing had happened. As I said, I can't remember how the book ended but I don't remember being this angry at the book so I'm sure it must have had a better ending.
As a movie, I probably wouldn't watch this again by choice as it just wasn't anything special. Here's hoping Looking for Alaska will be better...