John Green? John Green.
November 21, 2017
Surely you have heard of John Green.
Maybe you have seen his name written across a copy of The Fault In Our Stars, or perhaps you’re familiar with his Crash Course videos featured on Youtube. Regardless of how or where or when you became aware of John Green and the sum of his accomplishments, this author (/vlogger/producer/editor/actor/screenwriter) cannot be reduced to a single profession, nor to a single success.
In total, Green has authored five novels of his own: The Fault In Our Stars, An Abundance Of Katherines, Paper Towns, Looking For Alaska, and the recently published Turtles All The Way Down. Additionally, he co-authored Will Grayson, Will Grayson alongside David Levithan and Rodrigo Corral.
Beyond these New York Times best-sellers, ⅖ of Green’s stories had made their way to the silver screen. The infamous TFIOS (or, The Fault In Our Stars) gained popularity with its Hollywood counterpart starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. Following this production, Paper Towns was brought to life quite similarly, with Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne at the head of its execution.
You may be wondering, what makes John Green stand out among other authors?
Put simply, while Green possesses an unmatchable imagination in terms of plot, I believe his true talent lays in his ability to build and to develop distinctive characters throughout each of his novels.
As a fan of Green myself, I find that I have grown accustomed to the way in which he shapes his characters. One is more different than the next, for nobody is near the same in Green’s world. It is interesting and, in effect, compelling to a reader to journey through a story with such contrast in voice, in dialogue, and in written thought. Green purposely constructs his characters with odd hobbies and abnormal passions, as well as with quirky personalities and awkward dispositions. In other words, reading a John Green book is like venturing with your socially-awkward, slightly-nerdy, yet extremely-lovable best friend.
The following is a brief overview of each of his first four novels:
Looking For Alaska:
A heart-wrenching tale in the least, Looking For Alaska follows teen Miles Halter in his search for the “Great Perhaps.” His dreadful, colorless life is immediately reversed with his admission to Culver Creek, a boarding school well known for its clever antics. Upon his arrival, Miles is befriended by “The Colonel,” of whom immediately grants him the nickname “Pudge” as a start to a lasting friendship. Though, most important of all is Alaska, a girl that Pudge finds to be entirely irresistible… though he wishes that weren’t the case.
An Abundance Of Katherines:
Have you ever been in a relationship? Several relationships? Do you find yourself drawn to a single “type?”
Colin Singleton, a faded child prodigy and professional anagramer, certainly has a type: girls whose names are “Katherine” with a capital “K.” At seventeen years old, Colin is up to K-19 (that is, Katherine #19), though finds himself heartbroken when she decides to call it quits. In an effort to relieve himself of the tormenting pain, Colin and his hilarious friend Hassan set out on a roadtrip. Dwelling on his Katherine-filled past more often than not, Colin attempts to formulate an equation to predict any and all future relationships. Will Colin find a solution, rename himself a rightful genius, and win back Katherine the 19th? Or, perhaps, Colin will discover the real missing piece to his overly-complicated, fairly-unnecessary, ridiculous equation (hint: it’s not another Katherine).
Quentin Jacobsen has a crush he is sure will never truly go away. Having loved his neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman, for as long as he could remember, Quentin is also sure that she will likely never feel the same. The two are distant and always have been, even despite their close proximity. Margo belongs to a different social class in the high school hierarchy, where Quentin is comfortable several steps below her.
So, when Margo climbs through his bedroom window with an agenda for trouble, he is quick to take the offer. Soon enough, her vengeance brings her far beyond Quentin’s bedroom window, and she becomes a sort of mystery in herself. Will Quentin crack the code, and uncover the real face beneath the pretty-girl mask? Is she who he had expected her to be all along? Does she want him to find her? Does Margo even intend for him to find her?
The Fault in Our Stars:
Likely John Green’s most popular and most successful fiction, TFIOS is filled to the brim with heartache and with pain, with love and with affection. Hazel Grace Lancaster, the voice of it all, is met with a miracle regarding her deadly condition: her tumor has shrunk significantly. Still cursed with the grueling touch of Cancer, Hazel Grace struggles to lead a life of a Cancer patient rather than that of a popular teenage girl (as she had done so easily before her diagnosis). Her mother pushes her to find others with similar troubles, but Hazel is reluctant to the idea.
Though, when Hazel Grace does indeed take her mother’s advice and attends a Cancer Support Group meeting, she accidentally bumps into the extremely attractive, metaphorical Augustus Waters. Soon enough, Gus breaks the monotony in her life, and Hazel Grace Lancaster is forced to watch as her story is completely rewritten… again.
It is difficult to grasp the essence of Green’s stylistic writing in only short summaries of his work. Though, each novel in its entirety offers a realistically-relatable, socially-altering, emotionally-driven experience, complete with a cast of characters so unique that they are inevitably unforgettable.
Hopefully, if you have not yet read a John Green masterpiece, or if you have not read all of John Green’s masterpieces, you now feel inclined to do so.
Though, I warn you, each is its own emotional rollercoaster, so I would keep a box of tissues nearby.