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.

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