#58 TRENDING IN Books & Writing 🔥

The Wonders and Works of John Green: a Literary Dissection

Books & Writing

May 10, 2023

A deep dive into the ins and outs of the critically acclaimed New York Times best selling author, with an ongoing career filled with philanthropic work and advocacy for social causes—John Green.

I can most definitely recall The Fault in Our Stars being a raging hit in middle school, of course, including the movie adaptation. Although truthfully, I didn’t give John Green a second look until I hit high school. Little did I know, a world of new (groundbreaking) YA-lit would unravel before my eyes.

The Green novel that I resonated with off the bat, Looking for Alaska, caught my attention during a time when I needed it most. The novel, a devotion to relationships, vulnerability, and cultural understandings behind the standards of young women and sensitive men, shifts all singular thoughts you ever thought you had to become concepts with a trillion words following. Not to mention, Looking for Alaska is Green’s first ever publication, and even being a new author, he embodies the uttermost experience and credibility.

It goes without saying that our teenage years are the most determining, as we learn to connect and understand how to interact with our surrounding world at large. Relationships, how we craft them, how they will inevitably un-craft.

Although inside of a whole lot of mushy-gushy YA literature lies a particularly interesting aspect, connecting with a specific moment in time, one you may even be experiencing in that moment. That’s the thing about John Green—he will find that specific feeling you thought solely belonged to you, and throw it on a page with an essence of absolute brilliance.

Finding connection within a character who is ultimately damaged and lost, although completely capable of feeling and being loved, is a gateway to YA literature as a whole. Which is exactly how Green went about crafting his first ever protagonist, Alaska. Between her ever-changing mechanisms, undeniably free spirit, and intellectualistic personality, she's a character made to elicit familiarity for the youth. Essentially, a beginning which reverberated and hit the ballpark for his future as a YA author.

Green’s diehard dedication to capturing captivating moments of a teenage life, along with his loyalty to kindness, empathy, and understanding creates a great culmination of guiding the youth through reading.

Not only has Green committed his talent to novels, but has released a number of podcasts and essay collections, all putting the cherry on top of his artistry behind writing with superlative consideration of what it’s like to be human during youth agony. A despairing message in itself, which teens aspire to hear, that life goes on, regardless of the suffering, and the relationships we shape become the undergoing motivation for all else. Including his continual devotion to charitable causes, enlarging his capacity for love and loss further.

So, even if you’re a bit late to the John Green party, there’s endless time to start. Begin your personal expedition now with each of his published works.


Looking for Alaska

John Green

Looking for Alaska follows a teenage boy, Miles Halter “Pudge,” who enrolls in a boarding school in Alabama on a quest for a “Great Perhaps.” He later encounters the beautiful, mysterious, self-destructive Alaska Young, whom he swiftly falls in love with. A depiction of grief, loss, and imagining humanity in complex manners, a societal defiance of the ideology of a concept between young girls and sensitive men. Pudge’s failure to understand the depths behind Alaska’s underlying battles fills his idea of her was solely beautiful and jaw-dropping, telling a tale of irreversible consequences and the impact two souls can have on each other.

An Abundance of Katherines

John Green

Colin Singleton, a teen prodigy, has been dumped by 19 girls, every single one of them named Katherine. Colin is determined to find his path in life without Katherine and discovers the reasons behind why there’s a continual pattern in his relationships. Colin leaves for a no-destination road trip with his best friend, Hassan, to prove his mathematical theorem behind romantic outcomes.

As they embark on their journey, they come across Lindsey Lee Wells as Colin reconsiders his objectives behind romance. In a nuance of self-discovery, relationships, and meaning, John Green crafts yet another blazing YA text.

Paper Towns

John Green

Quentin Jacobsen “Q” embarks on a chase with his lifelong nextdoor neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelmen, a girl he’s thought about since he was a little boy. Paper Towns reflects on big feelings, how assumptions eventually come back to bite you. Green created the novel in response to miscommunication on the purpose behind Alaska. Following her disappearance, Quentin sets off on a week-long adventure to find Spiegelmen, as she leaves behind clues and hidden mysteries for him to follow.

The Fault in Our Stars

John Green

Partially known for its popularity in the movie adaptation, The Fault in Our Stars filled rooms everywhere in 2012 and years to follow. A heart-shattering love between two cancer patients, Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace Lancaster, leaves a mark not only on your mind, but on your heart.

Filled with poetic narration on the disparity of inevitable death and heartbreak, The Fault in Our Stars commemorates a celebration of life that’s unlike any other. The most eye-catching aspect being Green’s inspiration behind the novel is his time spent as chaplain at Ohio’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital, including his friendship with Esther Earl, the novel dedicated to her passing.

Turtles All the Way Down

John Green

Green has been openly vocal about his struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), anxiety, depression, and how they affect his daily life as a writer. Turtles all All the Way Down specifically highlights his battle with OCD through protagonist Aza Holmes. A high school sophomore, Aza’s struggle with balancing friendships, relationships, and a constant personal obsession with infection calls for teenagers who struggle with similar mental health issues.

Turtles is not only a calling for those burdened with a mental health battle, but also for those who are not. Essentially, Turtles All the Way Down is for everyone.


The Anthropocene Reviewed

John Green

Based on his podcast, holding the same title, a review of aspects of a human-centered planet, including the Taco Bell breakfast menu and the Indianapolis 500. The reviews are filled with complexities behind personal anecdotes, history, and philosophy. Each and every essay makes a unique mark on each reader’s point in time. The Anthropocene Review covers the natural world, the beauty of humanity, and the glorious musings behind connection.

Additional Podcasts:

Anthropocene Reviewed (Podcast Version)

John Green

Holding many of the same concepts behind the novel, Anthropocene Reviewed (Podcast Version) reflects on different aspects of a human-centered planet on a five-star scale. With an incredibly nostalgic tone, Green creates a sense of whimsical nostalgia that reverberates in connecting with his audience. The podcast reflects on the complications on the planet, and how the people on it can evidently destroy it.

Dear Hank & John

John and Hank Green

In a collaboration as brothers, the Green's join in discussing heartfelt and humorous dynamics in day-to-day life. While most podcasts today tend to hold a serious demeanor, Dear Hank & John is a great way to question life without feeling under the weather mentally. If you're ever in the mood for something fun, although slightly educational, Dear Hank & John is the one for you.


Will Grayson, Will Grayson

John Green and David Levithan

When two boys, both named Will Grayson, cross paths on a cold night in Chicago, a future of uncertainty arises between them. One is an offensive lineman and the other a musical theater enthusiast. In dealing with love, friendship, identity, and acceptance, the two battle the high school experience as they attend an epic high school musical.

Wise (groundbreaking) words by Green:

"The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive." — Looking for Alaska

“The marks humans leave are too often scars.” — The Fault in Our Stars

"We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken." — Looking for Alaska

“What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.” — Paper Towns

"The thing about a spiral is, if you follow it inward, it never actually ends. It just keeps tightening, infinitely." — Turtles All the Way Down

"Art is where what we survive survives." — The Anthropocene Reviewed

"Actually, the problem is that I can’t lose my mind...It’s inescapable." — Turtles All the Way Down

"Sometimes you lose a battle. But mischief always wins the war." — Looking for Alaska

Teenagers are striving for stories that do not whisper, but talk to them.

John Green’s stories are screaming.

Gabriella Montez

Writer since May, 2023 · 3 published articles

Gabriella is a rising writer from Massachusetts who loves all things written, from fantasy fiction to poetry. When she's not writing or reading, Gabriella spends her spare time drawing, running and playing soccer. She's a part of her high school's independent newspaper, The Spectrum. With passion for all literary involvement, Gabriella's work is eye-catching for all young readers.