From Our Readers

How I Discovered the Genius of John Green

One day, I was searching for nerd jokes (just because) when I came upon a series of vlogs starting with a little thing called “Brotherhood 2.0.” Since then, I have been obsessed with John and Hank Green. But then the most amazing thing happened. As a watched the videos, I discovered that John Green was a YA author!

I am obsessed with reading YA fiction. I can just picture myself 80 years old still reading books meant for teenagers. Immediately after finding out about his amazing career, I bought Looking for Alaska. And that was just the beginning.

It tells the story of Miles Halter (aka Pudge) who goes off to a boarding school. There, he meets the Colonel who is funny, witty and makes me literally laugh out loud (you know like when your reading in public and your sudden outburst makes everyone stare at you like you are suddenly turning purple or something). Just every day conversation between the characters had me smiling like an idiot.
 This book captivated me by the first chapter. It was so funny, the characters so real, the story so involved. I literally could not put it down and found myself waking up the next morning with the book still in my hand. I was fascinated by Pudge, in love with the Colonel, and wanted to spend all my time getting to know Alaska. I wanted to live with them, go to school with them, prank with them (or even be pranked by them). I wanted to laugh with them, joke with them, drink with them and cry with them.
Looking for Alaska was the book that made me start my habit of underlining random lines and passages that I love (a habit which my friends hate since they always borrow my books). There are so many parts that are just so, to put it simply, quote-worthy. “The snow may be falling in the winter of my discontent, but at least I’ve got sarcastic company.” “If people were rain, I was a drizzle and she was a hurricane.” Even if you have never heard of the book you quite possible could have seen this quote all over the internet. I probably had, I just wasn’t paying enough attention. There were also so many things I just want to talk about that no one would understand. Strawberry Hill, white flowers, last words, the Great Perhaps and (most importantly) the labyrinth.

Bottom line, I could not believe I hadn’t known about John Green and this amazing book. And the most exhilarating part, I knew there was more. My next stop was Paper Towns followed by An Abundance of Katherines which gave me a whole new collection of things to talk about.

John Green’s writing is so clear while full of tangents. So real while still a once-in-a-lifetime kind of story. So sophisticated while being understandable with the exact right amount of swearing and teenage thoughts. It was everything I look for in a writer. But my favorite part of his novels is how his stories aren’t all the same. Some YA authors such as Sarah Dessen (whom I love and have read every one of her books) have stories that I tend to get mixed up. But his novels all have defining characteristics that set them apart. My next ventures will be The Fault in Our Stars and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (which was co-written by David Levithan, whom I also love).

If you’re already a fan of John Green, I hope this has reminded you of some of the most interesting aspects of these novels. If you aren’t, pick up one of these books and soon you’ll have an experience that will leave your mind overflowing with excitement just like the rest of us.

You can read more from Kristen O’Connor on her blog and follow her on Twitter.

Feature image via.

  • Jhube Veradio

    John Green is an amazing author! TFIOS is so emotional, and I’m so glad you’re reading it. You will love it!

  • Jessica Jeffers

    I was assigned Looking for Alaska for a children’s lit class in grad school and it absolutely destroyed me. Alaska was the first character I found in a book that I could completely identify with and I didn’t find her until I was 25. I’ve loved everything else he’s written, and I read The Fault in Our Stars in one five-hour sitting. His characters are smart, funny, and insightful. I kind of wish there was a way that John Green could be my best friend.

  • Tedi Smith

    John Green’s books are amazing. Paper Towns is literally one of the few books that left me laughing out loud. It’s literally perfect.
    The amount of angst he ties into his characters is impeccable. Literally, anyone and everyone can identify somehow with either a character, or the setting of the stories he tells.

    John Green is amazing.

  • Amy Wahl

    In order to pass my literature class for my Masters program in library science, you had to do a book talk as a character from a book. I dressed up as a ninja and did mine as Margo Roth Spieglman. Most fun assignment ever.

  • Hope Lariscy

    I LOVE JOHN GREEN. all of his books are freaking fantastic, but my favorite has to be “The Fault in Our Stars.” there are sooo many quote worthy i have the entire book is highlighted!

  • Catherine Bruno

    Looking For Alaska is one of my favorites! I love his books. The Fault in Our Stars is my next read by him.

  • Sherri McDonald

    Nerdfighters!! XD

  • Ariel Coriaty

    Haven’t gotten Fault in Our Stars yet but everything else by him is just so amazing. I’ve read all them all multiple times.

  • Caitlin Quinn

    LOVED Will Grayson, Will Grayson!

  • Megan Kelly

    I didn’t like Looking for Alaska, I couldn’t finish it I will though because I adore John Green. I really liked Paper Towns and the Fault in Our Stars is of of my favorite books ever. I seriously cried through the last third of it! I’m going to try and read Looking for Alaska again ( I kind of wish it had been my first John Green book so my expectations weren’t so high :/

  • Ellen Findley

    DFTBA, my friends! DFTBA!

  • Taylor Madison Russell

    Nerdfighters on Hello Giggs! :)

  • Ashley Clobes

    I fell in love with Looking for Alaska. It was like hitting the biggest brick wall. I have such a tattered copy that’s like my Bible. John Green is such an inspiration and I would probably equally fall in love with him just like his books.
    As much as I love Looking for Alaska I was not as enthralled by his latest book- The Fault in Our Stars. Paper Towns was nice but will never live up to his first work.

  • Taylor Spear

    great books for sure. never cried so much as I have reading The Fault in Our Stars

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