Author Spotlight: John Green, Author of "The Fault in Our Stars"
Author John Green has been writing young adult novels since 2005, when he published his first book "Looking for Alaska," but it was the smash success of his #1 New York Times bestselling novel "The Fault in Our Stars" in early 2012 that cemented his mainstream status. Green's books have won the Michael L. Printz Award, Teen Book of the Year from the Children's Choice Book Awards and the mystery genre's prestigious Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery. Earlier this year, he and his brother Hank sold out New York City's Carnegie Hall for the one-year celebration of the release of "The Fault in Our Stars," thanks to his dedicated fan base. In addition to his books, it's Green's personal videos and blog posts that endear him to his "nerdfighters" (as he calls his fans).
With a forthcoming movie adaptation of "Fault" in the works, new readers are discovering Green's earlier novels such as "Paper Towns" and "An Abundance of Katherines"--emotionally resonant works populated by authentically quirky narrators and the enigmatic girls they love. Whether you're a diehard "nerdfighter" or have yet to pick up one of Green's novels, consider this list your guide to all things John Green--from the aforementioned titles to "Will Grayson, Will Grayson" and "Let It Snow," his collaborations with other YA greats.
Runaway hit: "The Fault in Our Stars"
While many readers have followed Green since "Looking for Alaska's" publication, "The Fault in Our Stars" has brought him the greatest acclaim. His tale of two ill teenagers finding love at a cancer support group resonated with readers of all ages. In many ways, it seemed as if Green had spent seven years working up to this book: He reworked much of his unfinished novel "The Sequel" into "The Fault in Our Stars," and made sure to sign all 150,000 copies of the first printing. Fox is set to begin production on the movie adaptation, starring "Divergent's" Shailene Woodley. Showing his involvement with and support for the project, Green provides frequent updates on his blog.
Book that put him on the map: "Looking for Alaska"
No pun intended! Although Green stresses that the novel is "really and truly fictional," he has said that he drew from his experiences at boarding school for this story of Miles "Pudge" Halter and the eponymous Alaska Young. "Alaska" won the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award but has also been banned several times because of a two-page sex scene. In a response video titled "I Am Not a Pornographer," Green explained that his intent was actually to show how unfulfilling sex without emotion can be.
Experimental book: "Will Grayson, Will Grayson"
Green teamed up with YA author David Levithan before "Looking for Alaska" was published, to write this book about two teenagers who share the same name but little else. Green wrote the odd-numbered chapters about shy Will Grayson, whose attempts to go through life unnoticed are complicated by his large, flamboyant friend Tiny Cooper. Levithan took on the even-numbered chapters and told the story of "will grayson" (as the character prefers writing his own name), a gay teen who has nothing good going for him except his online relationship with a boy named Isaac. In another standout moment for Green, "Will Grayson, Will Grayson" was the first book for young readers starring gay characters to debut on the New York Times bestseller list.
Crossover success: "Paper Towns"
While "Paper Towns" is YA, it caught the attention of the Edgar Awards--one of the mystery genre's most prestigious honors--nabbing Best Young Adult Mystery in 2009. In a clever nod to the multifaceted personality of the book's character Margo Roth Spiegelman, Green's publisher decided to release two covers. As Green explained in his video "Paper Towns-tacular," he wanted to communicate how the character of Margo Roth Spiegelman "is radically misapprehended by all of the people around her." The dual covers--of Margo looking both sweet and sullen--highlight two of the many sides of yet another of Green's enigmatic and compelling female characters.
Under-the-radar book: "An Abundance of Katherines"
Green fans who joined the ranks of Green's "nerdfighters" with the sensation of "The Fault in Our Stars" may be less aware of "An Abundance of Katherines," his novel published in 2006. Protagonist Colin is a former child prodigy obsessed with anagrams and puzzled by his tendency to date--and be dumped by--girls exclusively named Katherine. He embarks on a road trip to prove a mathematical theorem that he hopes will win him the right girl. Green's publisher was so impressed with fan-made covers for "Fault" that they held a contest in 2011 for fans to submit their cover designs for a redesigned "Katherine" paperback in early 2012.
Ensemble book: "Let It Snow"
In 2008, Green collaborated with Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle on this collection of three intertwining holiday-themed novellas. While each tale focuses on a different teen who has gotten caught in a city-wide snowstorm, common elements unite the novellas: the titular storm, a band of cheerleaders and a boy named Jeb searching for his girlfriend Addie. Each character's attempt to find his/her friends or crush in the snow impacts characters from other stories and ultimately brings everyone together.