Know the man behind massively successful books such as The Fault In Our Stars and Paper Towns – American author John Green. He has written five solo novels and a few books with other authors.
Aside from writing novels, he’s also a well-known YouTube personality. He launched the VlogBrothers channel in 2007 with his brother, Hank. Since then, they’ve launched projects such as Project for Awesome and the online series Crash Course, where they teach history, science, literature, and other topics.
Critics credits Green’s novels and his subsequent rise to fame in creating a huge shift in the young adult fiction market. One critic coined the term “GreenLit”, which refers to young adult novels that have sharp dialogue, defective authority figures, occasional boozing, unrequited crushes, and one or more heartbreaking twists.
Now, let us explore all of his solo books and their word counts.
Quentin “Q” Jacobsen has been pining for Margo Roth Spiegelman, his neighbour and childhood friend, ever since they were kids. But they’re different—Q is basically a pariah, and Margo is very popular. When Margo goes to him one night to ask for help to exact revenge on the people she thinks hurt her, he agrees. He thinks that this act will rekindle their friendship—and start a romance. However, he finds out that Margo has been missing since they return home after the revenge.
With the help of his friends Ben and Radar, and Margo’s friend Lacey, they decipher the clues Margo left to find her. They go on a roadtrip and end up in Agloe, a “paper town”. They try to bring Margo back, but she doesn’t want to. The gang go back at least in time for their high school graduation.
The concept of “paper town” occurred to Green while on a road trip back in college. He and his friends came across a paper town, a town map makers invent to protect them against copyright infringement.
Paper Towns consists of 81,739 words.
“That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfeast cereals based on color instead of taste.”
“When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out.”
“Here’s what’s not beautiful about it: from here, you can’t see the rust or the cracked paint or whatever, but you can tell what the place really is. You can see how fake it all is. It’s not even hard enough to be made out of plastic. It’s a paper town. I mean, look at it, Q: look at all those culs-de-sac, those streets that turn in on themselves, all the houses that were built to fall apart. All those paper people living in their paper houses, burning the future to stay warm. All the paper kids drinking beer some bum bought for them at the paper convenience store. Everyone demented with the mania of owning things. All the things paper-thin and paper-frail. And all the people, too. I’ve lived here for eighteen years and I have never once in my life come across anyone who cares about anything that matters.”
An Abundance Of Katherines
After being dumped by his 19th girlfriend—every one of them named Katherine—Colin Singleton decides to go on a road trip to find his “Eureka moment”. With his best friend Hassan, they drive from Chicago to Gutshot, Tennessee and visit the supposed resting place of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. They meet Lindsey Lee Wells. Soon enough, they are employed by Lindsey’s mother, Hollis. She wants them to interview all current adult residents and create an oral history of the town.
Colin doesn’t find his “Eureka moment”, but learns more about life and friendships, and finds a new girlfriend, but not named Katherine.
An Abundance of Katherines has 61,412 words.
“Do you ever wonder whether people would like you more or less if they could see inside you? But I always wonder about that. If people could see me the way I see myself—if they could live in my memories—would anyone, anyone, love me?”
“You matter as much as the things that matter to you. And I got so backwards trying to matter to him. All this time, there were real things to care about: real, good people who care about me, and this place. It’s so easy to get stuck. You just get caught in being something, being special or cool or whatever, to the point where you don’t even know why you need it; you just think you do.”
“There’s some people in this world who you can just love and love and love no matter what.”
Looking For Alaska
Miles “Pudge” Halter, a teenager obsessed with last words, go to a boarding high school where he meets Chip “The Colonel” Martin, Takumi Hikohito, and Alaska Young. With them, he gets caught up with prank wars, Calculus lessons, and typical teenage shenanigans. However, with the unexpected and unfortunate death of Alaska, Miles and his friends have to deal with grief.
The novel has the themes of coming of age, hope, grief, and the search for meaning.
This award-winning novel has 69,023 words.
“When adults say, “Teenagers think they are invincible” with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are… Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”
“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.”
“We need never be hopeless because we can never be irreparably broken.”
The Fault In Our Stars
This novel’s title is inspired by Act 1, Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s Julius Ceasar, where Cassius says to Brutus: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
The book is inspired by Esther Earl, a 16-year-old girl who died from thyroid cancer. She became Green’s friend when they met in a Harry Potter convention in 2009.
The story introduces Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16-year-old girl with thyroid cancer that has affected her lungs. She is forced by her parents to attend a support group for kids with cancer. There, she meets Augustus Waters. They strike up a friendship and then fall in love. However, life—and death—throws us curveballs when we least expect it.
The Fault in Our Stars has 65,752 words.
“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world…but you do have some say in who hurts you.”
“Some people don’t understand the promises they’re making when they make them,” I said. “Right, of course. But you keep the promise anyway. That’s what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway.”
“It’s a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing.”
Turtles All The Way Down
Turtles All The Way Down is the latest John Green novel, published in 2017. The book’s protagonist is Aza Holmes, a high school student with anxiety and OCD. The novel explores her relationships with friends and a love interest, her grieving the loss of her father, and her search for fugitive billionaire.
This book, according to Green, is quite personal to him despite the fictional qualities of it, as this novel is his ”first attempt to write directly about the kind of mental illness that has affected my life since childhood.”
The novel has 62,868 words.
“We never really talked much or even looked at each other, but it didn’t matter because we were looking at the same sky together, which is maybe even more intimate than eye contact anyway. I mean, anybody can look at you. It’s quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.”
“You’re both the fire and the water that extinguishes it… You are somebody’s something, but you are also your you.”
“The worst part of being truly alone is you think about all the times you wished that everyone would just leave you be. Then they do, and you are left being, and you turn out to be terrible company.”
Novels of John Green have touched a lot of hearts and made teenagers feel like they’re understood. Because of this, they have a lot of impact on pop culture and more importantly, in people’s lives. So what are you waiting for? Laugh, cry, and fall in love with John Green books.