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Culture > Entertainment

The Genius That John Green Is

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

I am proud to say that I have read every single book John Green has written. The way that John Green writes is fun, airy and complex. He has a way of talking about serious issues in a not-serious way. This makes it easy to grasp concepts that are very intense and difficult. For example, The Fault In Our Stars is about teenagers falling in love while having terminal cancer. I normally wouldn’t pick up a book about cancer to read, but John Green goes about these topics in a way that is entertaining while also educating the readers on other people’s experiences. 

Here are Green’s eight books he’s written from 2005-2021. 

Looking For Alaska (2005) 

The mere fact that this was Green’s first published work is astonishing. Looking For Alaska is about a teenage boy nicknamed Fudge heading to a boarding school. This kid is obsessed with ‘last words’ and feels his life has been uneventful. He meets a girl named Alaska at school whose life has been everything but uneventful. The duo gets catapulted onto a winding road of uncertainty in their high school years. Looking For Alaska has won countless awards and is even in some high school curriculums. There is a one-season Hulu show based on Green’s book, and I think it does a good job of capturing the essence of the story. 

An Abundance of Katherines (2006)

This is one of Green’s books that I hadn’t heard of until I set out on the adventure of reading all of his works. An Abundance of Katherines follows teenage boy Collin and his best friend Hassan. Collin has dated 19 girls named Katherine in his past, and each one has ended negatively. He is also a former child prodigy who is in search of a scientific explanation of why his relationships have ended this way and how his future relationships will play out. An Abundance of Katherines has also won Green a number of awards. This was such a fun and interesting book and I wish to see it adapted for the big screen at some point. 

Let It Snow (2008) 

Let It Snow is technically an anthology because it is a collection of 3 completely independent stories. However, they do exist in the same universe. Only the second story of the three was written by Green, and it is titled “A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle.” This story follows three teenagers who are at home watching movies when they are enticed to come to the Waffle House because they were informed there was a group of cheerleaders there. Green writes about their trek to the Waffle House in a snowstorm and the troubles the best friends go through along the way. I read this during Christmas time over winter break and it was a fun, short, casual read. Let It Snow was created into a film by Netflix in 2019. I have not watched it but when winter comes around again I will partaking in the movie.

Paper Towns (2008) 

I believe this is another one of Green’s most popular books/movie adaptations. Paper Towns is about a boy, Q who has an infatuation with his mysterious neighbor, Margo. One day, Margo goes missing and Q finds a trail of clues that Margo left. The book follows Q on this journey to find Margo and all the crazy and weird adventures she puts him through. This is another one of Green’s books that has given him many awards. Similar to Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns is used for academic purposes in many different curriculums. Paper Towns was made into a movie in 2015 starring Cara Delevinge and Nat Wolff. 

Will Grayson, Will Grayson (2010)

Green co-wrote this book with David Levithan. Green loves stories about people with the same name as we see in An Abundance of Katherines. Two boys, both named Will Grayson, will meet and take different paths but will stay connected. This random event will alter their lives, and while their stories are different, they may eventually come together. Green and Levithan decided to divide the writing of this book in half. So, Green took one Will Grayson, and Levithan took the other. All of the odd numbered chapters are written by Green from one of the Will’s perspectives while Levithan wrote all the even numbered chapters from the other Will’s perspectives. This is the first LGBTQ+ story to ever make The New York Times Children’s Best Sellers list. I think Green should be proud of this accomplishment even though it was a long time coming. 

The Fault In Our Stars (2012) 

This is Green’s most popular book and the first book of his I read. I’m sure we all know what this heart-wrenching and beautiful book entails. Augustus and Hazel are just two teenagers who are recovering from a terminal diagnosis. They are navigating this scary world together and taking it one day at a time or one Make-A-Wish trip at a time. They were alone before they met each other and developed a love that is incomparable to any other feeling. The movie adaptation starring Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley caught the hearts of millions. I remember my entire family being at my house and I was huddled in my room crying while finishing The Fault In Our Stars. Then when I went to theaters to see the film, there was not a dry eye in sight. Green created one of the most heartfelt and intriguing stories I have ever read, and it hit me when I was only 10. If we can talk about Green winning awards for his books, we cannot leave out The Fault In Our Stars. It hit almost every #1 list and was every book club’s pick of the month. 

Turtles All The Way Down (2017) 

This Green book is being made into a movie that will come out in early May of 2024. The book Turtles All the Way Down is about Aza, a high school girl living with OCD and anxiety. She is on a quest to earn the reward for finding her billionaire neighbor while becoming rather close to said billionaire’s son. Aza and her best friend Daisy go through this hunt together and overcome many challenges. Green has spoken about how this is the first book he’s written that comes directly from his own personal experience. The book is still fiction, but Green grabbed aspects of his childhood and put them into Turtles All The Way Down. 

The Anthropocene Reviewed (2021) 

This is the book I read most recently, and the most recent book of Green’s I read. This is my first and only nonfiction book, and it is also the first nonfiction book I read for pleasure and not for school. Each chapter of The Anthropocene Reviewed is about a different topic that Green rates on a 5-star scale. The overarching theme of the book is how humans have shaped our planet. Some chapters are about Diet Dr Pepper, and some are about the stock market. Green writes about his own personal life while trying to keep an unbiased point of view on these topics. This book is such a fun read because you are reading a completely different story every couple of pages. 

Green’s stories have a way of affecting me that no other author has been successful at. He finds a way to depict characters in a way that everyone can relate to them in some way. Even if that character is a child prodigy, a desperate boy in love, or a group of friends stuck in a Waffle House. Thank you, John Green, for creating these characters and these stories for so many of us to enjoy. 

Lily McPherson

CU Boulder '24

Lily is a new member here at HCCU! She has joined the team as a writer as well as a social media team member this Fall. Her role is to help oversee the socials as well as create content. Lily is a senior at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is majoring in Sociology with a minor in Women and Gender Studies and a certificate in Social Innovation. Lily is also a part of Phi Alpha Delta which is the pre-law fraternity at CU. She also volunteers for the CU Restorative Justice program as a community representative. Lastly, Lily is one of the team managers for the CU Women's Basketball Team. Lily loves to consume anything pop culture. Whether it be films, books, music, or even TikTok. She is currently reading the first Percy Jackson book "The Lighting Thief”. Lily’s favorite film is the 2019 version of “Little Women”. She also loves to spend time with her family who all live back in the Midwest as well as her dog M&M! Lily spends any time outside of academics spending time with her friends whether it be playing basketball at the rec, hammocking in the mountains, or participating in game night.