Why is John Green Deserving of our Praise?


I remember walking into a bookstore my freshman year of high school and feeling incredibly excited to purchase the most popular book at the time: The Fault in our Stars by John Green. I was particularly fascinated by this book due to the fact that all of my friends, including those who thought the idea of reading for fun was absurd, had read and enjoyed it. After buying the book, I remember reading it within 10 hours. I was officially hooked on the author.

Many students may know John Green by the “Crash Course” videos that have been played on many occasions in Ms. Fields’ history classes, his online Youtube channel “Vlogbrothers,” which he created with his brother Hank, or, most likely, by his New York Times bestselling books.

He has escalated in popularity in recent years due to works such as Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns. So why should you be a fan?

John Green’s characters are among the few in the young adult genre that have multiple dimensions. The characters, especially those who are female, have well-developed back stories instead of the classic “searching for a boy to make my life complete” take on the teenage years that many young adult novels put to use.

Don’t worry though, if you are a fan of that plot line, there is still some romance in his books to keep them interesting. In Paper Towns, protagonist Margo Roth Spiegelman is angry at her ex-boyfriend for cheating on her and despises the people in her town for being “paper” or boring and one-dimensional. Isn’t this pretty much what you just said he doesn’t do–searching for a boy to make my life complete?This provides a great metaphor for what John Green aims to do: to break the mold.

“I’m tired of adults telling teenagers that they aren’t smart, that they can’t read critically, that they aren’t thoughtful and I feel like that article made those arguments,” Green said in an interview with The Guardian.

Green’s novels are also known for being realistic. I’ve never seen a princess story in these books. The lives of the characters are far from perfect. The Fault in our Stars follows a girl with cancer, who spends most of her time on the couch watching America’s Next Top Model with her mom, until she is lucky enough to meet a nice guy in a support group.

In An Abundance of Katherines, a boy obsessed with anagrams has been dumped by many different girls and decides to take a road trip with his best friend to get away from it all. These stories follow plots that  could occur in real life. This makes the book much more interesting to teenagers.

An author cannot be found on the New York Times bestseller list four  times due to a fluke. The author must have stories that are extremely appealing to the demographic for which he is  writing. The author must make his  readers feel something inside that gives them at least a slightly different take on life.

An Amazon user named Helen summed up the feelings of many teens in our generation. She says, “Dear John Green, Thank you. Sincerely, A Young Adult.”