Article by Jaewon Hong
You have probably heard of John Green one way or another. While John Green is known mostly for the best seller The Fault in our Stars, he has also written many other successful books like Looking for Alaska, and Paper Towns. He is also known for his YouTube ventures such as CrashCourse, an educational channel, and VlogBrothers, a channel containing entertaining vlogs.
John Green was born on August 24, 1977 in Indianapolis, Indiana but grew up mostly in Orlando, Florida. He attended a boarding school in Alabama called the Indian Springs School, which was used as an inspiration for the setting of Looking for Alaska. After graduating from Kenyon College in 2000, he worked at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. While he initially intended to be an Episcopal Priest, his experience working with children suffering diseases inspired him to become an author and to write The Fault in Our Stars, which is a story about teenagers named Hazel and Augustus both of whom have cancer. He won the Printz award for both Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, and in 2014, he was included in the Time magazine’s list of The 100 Most influential People in the World.
In his career, John Green has written six books: Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances, Paper Towns, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, The Fault in Our Stars. I would rank these books as follows (1 being the best):
- Looking for Alaska
- The Fault in Our Stars
- Paper Towns
- An Abundance of Katherines
- Will Grayson, Will Grayson
- Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances
While many people believe that The Fault in Our Stars is the best book, I believe that Looking for Alaska is better: the reason being that, Looking for Alaska was more action packed and had more funny jokes. For example, in Looking for Alaska, Miles and his friends play a prank on the teacher involving fireworks, which makes the teacher chase after them. Both books have a similar plot as they are both about two teenagers falling in love. However, in Looking for Alaska the love is more one-sided. In both books, one of the lovers dies. In Looking for Alaska, Alaska dies, while in The Fault in our Stars, Augustus dies. Still, the main characters of both books feel like they have found an answer to life at the end of the book.
In two of John Green’s books, one of the lovers die. In the other four, they live (presumably) “happily ever after”, except in the case of Paper Towns. While, Margo, the lover of the main character Quentin, does not die, she does not end up with Quentin; instead, Quentin realizes that Margo is not the all-compassing goddess that he once thought she was and decides to go his own way. This is, however, still a happy ending as the main character has realized that Margo was not the person he once thought she was. I placed this book as third, as this book faces reality and how, sometimes, love blinds people to not see what they should see.
Abundance of Katherines is another good book by John Green. The book revolves around Colin, a child-prodigy with an IQ of over 200. So far, he has had relationships with nineteen Katherines and every single time, Katherine dumped him. Colin, with his high IQ, created an equation to predict the curve of any relationships based on the several factors of the personalities of the two people, called “The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability”. Sometime after creating this equation, Colin gets into a relationship with Lindsey, a girl he meets on later into the book. With his equation, he figures that Lindsey will dump him after four days. It turns out that Lindsey does not dump Colin and that Colin’s theorem can only shed light on why a relationship failed after the relationship ends, not how relationships will turn out in the future. Abundance of Katherines shows that you cannot predict how a relationship will turn out, and sometimes, it is you who has to change, not the person you love. Colin keeps going through Katherines until he can find the “perfect” Katherine, but what he instead finds is Lindsey, and after he changes himself so that he is more self-preserving, he is able to make the relationship succeed.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson is also another good book by John Green. It is the first LGBT themed young adult novel to make The New York Times children’s best seller. This book explores two relationships at the same time; one with Will Grayson I and Jane Turner and one with Will Grayson II and Tiny Cooper. I like this book because many authors are afraid to write LGBT themed novels out of fear that they will be condemned by the public. According to Pew Research Center, 37% of Americans still oppose gay marriage (Mitchell). However, John Green (with his co-author, David Levithan), was not afraid to publish such a book. Will Grayson, Will Grayson also explores the themes of self-preservation and how you should not look down on yourself.
Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances was written by three authors: John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle. The reason I placed it last was because I felt like the part written by John Green was too unrealistic. While it was undoubtedly funny, the part John Green wrote did not particularly signify a message or a theme and was made primarily to entertain the reader just like any other romance book. The only theme that would be evident in this book would be trust in your friends and do not take unnecessary risks.
All in all, John Green’s books are good books to check out whether you are looking for romance, a funny read, or a deep meaning in life. John Green is one of the greatest writers of the 21st century and will continue to have an impact on future readers.
Mitchell, Travis. “Changing Attitudes on Gay Marriage.” Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project. N.p., 12 May 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2017. <http://www.pewforum.org/2016/05/12/changing-attitudes-on-gay-marriage/>.
Trice, Katy. “The John Green Formula.” Odyssey. N.p., 01 Aug. 2016. Web. 10 May 2017. <https://www.theodysseyonline.com/john-green-formula>.