Today I am going to rank every fictional novel by John Green. I say fictional because his latest release: The Anthropocene Reviewed, is non-fiction. I’m not really interested in checking it out. I’m also not going to mention Let It Snow, as it’s an anthology written with other authors. If you didn’t know, John is the king of contemporary. He has had three of his books adapted to screen, making readers worldwide ugly-cry with his stories. I love reading what he puts out. Without further ado, from my most to least favourite (this is going to get controversial) let’s get into it!
1.) PAPER TOWNS
I bet you didn’t expect to see Paper Towns in first place! This is my favourite John Green book for a couple of reasons. It is a coming-of-age story, centered on Quentin Jacobson and his enigmatic neighbour, Margo Roth Spiegelman. After taking him on all-night adventure through their hometown, Margo suddenly disappears – leaving behind cryptic clues for Quentin to decipher. Firstly, despite the fact that Quentin is a teenage boy, I’ve never related more to a fictional character. He reminded me so much of my younger self, I instantly connected to him. He’s a very nostalgic person that romanticises people and situations. That was me all over. Secondly, Paper Towns has one of my favourite quotes from a novel ever: “what a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.” It basically means that when the rose-coloured glasses come down, we see that the person in front of us is just a human being and not some magical solution to all of our problems. I am guilty of viewing people in the past the way Quentin viewed Margo. Admittedly, he learnt that lesson a lot faster than I did. Finally, this is not a love story. It’s a tale about friendship. When Quentin begins to see Margo for the flawed adolescent that she is, he returns to the people who stuck by him since the beginning – his friends. I absolutely ADORE the film adaptation. The scene below gets me every single time. He refers to his besties as his miracle. UGH! I don’t think another book of Johns’ will top this one.
2.) THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
I’m guessing The Fault In Our Stars is most people’s favourite John Green book and trust me, I understand why. If you didn’t sob like a lunatic by the end, did you actually read it? It follows Hazel Grace Lancaster, a teenager with terminal cancer. At a patient support group, she meets the charming Augustus Waters – a boy in remission. He instantly falls in love at first sight and shows Hazel how to make the most of the remaining time she has left. Unlike Paper Towns, this is 100% a love story. I remember going to see the film adaptation in cinemas and hearing people audibly break down, myself included. The ending is beyond heartbreaking. If you think you know how things are going to go…trust me, you don’t. It was so beautifully written and touching. Unfortunately, it’s far too sad for me to re-visit. I mentally cannot cope.
3.) LOOKING FOR ALASKA
Looking for Alaska was guilty of the ‘manic pixie dream girl’ trope but I loved it anyway. You could say Paper Towns was as well but I believe Quentin broke down that barrier and ultimately let his friends save him over a girl. I cannot say the same for Miles Halter, who is the protagonist in this story. One summer, he leaves his home behind and attends a boarding school where he meets a young girl named Alaska. She’s beautiful, quirky and very troubled. It doesn’t take long before Miles falls head over heels, desperate to win her heart. Despite their chemistry, she is tormented by her own inner demons and unable to be vulnerable with another person. When she disappears, Miles fights to learn a harrowing truth: is Alaska dead or just gone? This book was adapted into a mini-series and it was honestly perfection. My husband enjoyed it too and YA television shows aren’t normally his thing. I would almost recommend it over the novel. Is that a crime?
4.) WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON
In fourth place, we have Will Grayson, Will Grayson. This story was co-written with David Levithan. It follows two teenagers, both called Will Grayson. Through a strange twist of fate, they meet one evening and discover that while they share the same name, their lives are polar opposites. Together, they navigate their own personal struggles and form a bond that is everlasting. It’s a heartwarming book. I really liked it. I don’t have much more to say. It’s less well known than the first three novels I mentioned above but still worth checking out.
5.) TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN
In fifth place, we have his newest YA novel: Turtles All The Way Down. It follows the story of Aza Holmes, a teenager suffering with intrusive thoughts and OCD, particularly where germs are concerned. While grieving the loss of her dad, she finds herself bonding with the son of a billionaire, whose own father is a fugitive. Together, they search for him and discover a lot about themselves along the way. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this book. It was very weak in comparison to some of his other works. It didn’t give off the same magic and I struggled to finish it. It’s a shame because I also have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (more about that here) but I didn’t really relate to Aza as a main character. I also don’t like the title. For some reason it bothered me. Apparently a film adaptation is coming but I probably won’t watch it.
6.) AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES
Last but not least, we have An Abundance of Katherines. It follows Colin Singleton, a child prodigy living in Chicago, who has only ever dated girls named Katherine. After being dumped by Katherine #19, he longs to matter and feel whole again. He uses his smarts to create an unbreakable formula that will ensure he and his future partner remain together forever. However, numbers can only take you so far in the game of love. I found Colin as a protoganist quite infuriating. Furthermore, the story lacked the heart and soul I’m used to with a John Green book. I had no choice but to rank it sixth.
Thank you so much for reading! How would you rank his works? Do you agree with my list?
Peace & Love xoxo