John Green. Youtube extraordinaire as well as acclaimed young adult novelist. He’s won countless awards for his books, and he’s currently working on The Fault in Our Stars movie. Every book he’s ever written has shown up on NPR’s Top 100 YA Books list. A list I’ve made my personal goal to read every book shown.
So far, I’ve read Looking for Alaska, The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I quickly devoured page after page of each book, hungrily looking for more. Still, whenever I heard people rave about his works, I took the high road. He isn’t that great. Sure, the books are good, but not anything extraordinary. I mean, they’re no Harry Potter. Or Catcher in the Rye. Overrated. Completely Overrated, I would think.
Yet, I had a secret. I loved reading his books. Every single one. I had some problems with them. During Looking for Alaska, I genuinely hated Alaska. I didn’t particularly think it was special. But I still couldn’t put it down. In The Fault in Our Stars, I felt tears prickling only once during his living funeral. Even then, I didn’t actually cry, but then again it takes a lot for me to cry about movies and books. Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a fabulous and different book, yet not on my list of favorites.
The one book I didn’t find anything wrong with is Paper Towns. If you ask me what my favorite book is (as most people do once they find out I’m an avid reader), I’ll tell you Catcher in the Rye, Paper Towns, and Perks of Being a Wallflower for standalone books. Any author that has a book on my slim selection of favorites should have a special place in my heart. Right?
Then, my world history teacher gave us some videos to watch. Crash Course: World History. Hosted by none other than John Green himself. He and Hank, his brother, make educational Youtube videos around 10 minutes long for a variety of subjects. J. Green usually does literature and history, while H. Green does science.
I knew he did Youtube, but I never bothered looking him up. My goal was to find every possible flaw in this author. Not to enjoy his Youtube videos. Well, I cracked.
I found his channel Vlogbrothers, and watched every single video John Green created. Every. Single. One.
I caved. My love for the brothers and the community they created grew. I felt smarter just wasting time on Youtube, which is a first. These two have made something beautiful. They engineered a fanbase by talking about books, learning, and opinions. And also, some videos on the less serious side.
The Greens started Project for Awesome, which encourages people to donate to charities. Not only that, they sell things where the profits go to charity. Some are strange, like getting John Green to record your voicemail. Some are normal, like a TFIOS movie poster.
They support their fans’ Etsy stores, and came up with an encouraging slogan: Don’t Forget to be Awesome. DFTBA. Doing all this in addition to being a famous author blows my mind.
How could I hate such a good guy? I absolutely love when authors connect with their fans. He isn’t reclusive and pretentious. He answers their questions, keeps them updated, and keeps them entertained.
Also, how can I dislike someone with the same interests as me? He’s a Potterhead, a Catcher in the Rye fan, a literature lover. It’s a rule: Potterheads cannot hate each other. Some of his favorite books are mine, too.
Now, I have a whole slew of emotions towards John Green. I like his person, but do I like his writing? I enjoy how educated and passionate he is about literature, but do I like his literature? John Green: great author or great person? Both?
All these thoughts have been running through my mind for weeks. I sometimes watch Crash Course videos for fun. Fun! I watch ten minute videos for school as entertainment. Crazy, I know! Can I continue to dislike someone I like so much? Answer: I can’t.
I’ve come to a conclusion. I like his personality, his videos, his opinions. I like his brother. I’m a self proclaimed Nerdfighter (Green’s fan-group). Paper Towns continues to have a place on my list of favorites. But… I still think most of his books– while good– are overrated. What can I say? Old habits die hard.