I first discovered the magic of John Green as a sixteen-year-old navigating the treacherous waters of trying to memorize facts about pilgrims crossing the Atlantic. I wondered whether the characters of my 6.4-pound AP United States History textbook were more anxious than I was or would they be relieved that they were not this chick. Luckily, my teacher gave her students the green light to watch Crash Course, a YouTube channel where “John Green teaches you the history of the United States in 47 episodes!” as a supplementary study tool. I soon became hooked on his witty humor, colorful illustrations, and sharp yet dorky personality. He was undoubtedly a genius, but he was also a human who liked to have fun with it. His vivacious take on the sh*t fest that is so often a trademark of Advanced Placement curriculum soothed my panicky, paranoid brain, allowing it to relax and concentrate. I would often stay up late in my Hollister shorty shorts inhaling these instructional videos about people who would probably pass out at the sight my ankles, much less my knees, laughing from his quirkiness but also learning a great deal.
Eventually, Shailene Woodley would star alongside Ansel Elgort in a film adaptation of a different type of work by John Green, and I would discover his prowess for writing novels about youth who were not hyperprivileged, hypersexualized alcoholic burnouts (looking at you, J.D. Salinger), but intelligent, sensitive, complex, real humans. They did not have to be 30 years old to be taken seriously as dynamic and multifaceted. After loving The Fault in Our Stars, I eventually inhaled Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska, two novels that authentically highlight adolescent mental health struggles and victories. Green’s latest work, Turtles All the Way Down, parallels Looking for Alaska as a type of semiautobiographical story of Green’s personal adversities; his exigence stems from his lifelong journey with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and severe anxiety. Turtles All the Way Down comes out October 10th for the United States.
Here are 10 iconic John Green tidbits to celebrate his newest masterpiece:
“I wanted to be one of those people who have streaks to maintain, who scorch the ground with their intensity. But for now, at least I knew such people, and they needed me, just like comets need tails.”
“That's always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they're pretty. It's like picking your breakfast cereals based on color instead of taste.”
"I am," he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. "I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you.”