My Literary Heroes #2: John Green

“My Literary Heroes” is a series that will focus on the people who influenced my reading and writing habits. My heroes are authors that I admire, characters that inspire me, or friends and family who just can’t say no to me while we’re in a bookstore. These are the people who helped shape me into the bookworm that I am today!

If you’re familiar with the YA genre, then you’ve likely heard of John Green and/or read one of his books. I first came across John Green in 2013 when I read The Fault In Our Stars. And like most people, I was a mess after finishing it.

FIOS reaction

But I loved Green’s writing style, so I sought out his other books. And I’m so glad that I did. I believe TFIOS is the best book he has written so far, but his other books are still phenomenal. And out of the YA authors that I read, he has influenced my personal writing style the most.

Things I love about John Green:

  • His main characters and their flaws: Out of the six books that he has authored or co-authored, I’ve read TFIOSLooking for Alaska, and An Abundance of Katherines. Being a teenager is hard. Actually, being a person is hard! We’re constantly wrestling with seemingly conflicted emotions and thoughts. We can feel valued and worthless in matter of seconds. We all desire things (materially, emotionally, psychologically) and our desires impact our lives in ways both imaginable and unimaginable. John Green captures this in his main characters. Think of Colin Singleton, a child prodigy who feels like he will never have a Eureka moment. Or Miles, ‘Pudge’ Halter who goes to a boarding school seeking a Great Perhaps. These characters all want for something and their great emotional hunger drives the story.
  • His writing style is simply beautiful: If you’ve read any of Green’s books, then you likely have a line that just really resonated with you. I think my favorite line so far comes from TFIOS:

FIOS stars quote

  • The girls: I try to stay away from romance novels, especially YA romance novels. I think a large part of my reluctance to read romance novels comes from the treatment and portrayal of women in the stories. It might be an oversimplification, but it seems like a lot of female characters are boring or worse, act like damsels in distress. It’s pretty cringe inducing. But Green doesn’t treat the females in his novels like doe-eyed damsels. They all have personalities and they’re all extremely intelligent. They don’t wait around for love to find them. They’re role models for girls and women of today.
  • He makes literary fiction fun!: When I think of literary fiction, I think of those dry novels, plays and short stories I had to read in my high school English classes. And when I applied to my Creative Writing program, I was worried that people wouldn’t get my stories because they weren’t “serious” literary fiction. Truthfully, literary fiction intimidated me; I just didn’t get the point of certain stories. John Green changed that for me. He made me realize that you can have a fun tale and still do a serious psychological study of humanity. There are parts in his books where I openly laugh, but by the end, I feel as though I’ve not only learned something about the world, but I’ve learned something about myself.

So John Green, I doubt you will ever read this, but I do want you to know that I love your stories and the way you tell them. I feel an attachment to your characters and I care deeply about the struggles that they endure. You bring people to life on the page, which seems easy, but in reality is hard for a lot of writers, myself included. You made me love realistic, literary fiction. You helped shaped me into the writer that I am today. I can only hope to inspire other future writers, like you have inspired me!


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