Today we celebrate John Green’s 44th birthday, and what better way to do that than talk about all of the reasons why we appreciate the author so much!
Green’s first novel, Looking for Alaska, was released in 2005, and he has been on a continuous uphill climb through the ranks of YA literature ever since. Earlier this year, he released his first non-fiction book, The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet, which, given his success, is surprisingly only his sixth solo publication. Green has done so much not only for YA literature but also for the ever-expanding social media universe.
Join us in celebrating John Green and all the reasons why he is an icon.
He Brought Chronic Illness to Mainstream Media
Chronic illnesses and disabilities were often shunned in the media, keeping such readers from relating to novels written by and for abled individuals. However, The Fault in Our Stars brings to light both the realities and tragedies of living with a chronic illness. This particular book, in fact, is what launched Green’s career to platforms like film and television. What is now known as TFIOS portrays how people are not defined by their abilities or disabilities. We are all looking for the same things in life—happiness and love. Green based this story on internet blogger Esther Earl’s true life circumstances of living as a teenager with cancer. Many people appreciate the accuracy with which Hazel and Augustus’s stories are portrayed and how Green does not shy away from detailing the harsh realities of living with a chronic illness.
He Created Vidcon
Love it or hate it, VidCon did so much for the advancement of social media. In 2010, John and his brother Hank were taking full advantage of the newly popularized video website, YouTube. After exchanging video blogs and creating viral educational content for teenagers, the brothers decided to create a conference to provide a community to bloggers who were otherwise stuck in their rooms. The conference has had its ups and its downs, most recently being in the news for its rival TanaCon, which crashed and burned in an attempt to out-shine VidCon. While today’s VidCon is certainly not what it was a decade ago (TikTokers who make seconds-long content seem to be the main stars and social media influencers are treated like full-blown celebrities when they are, in truth, just regular people with a camera), we cannot deny the immense impact VidCon has had on the future of the internet.
He Doesn’t Feel The Need For Sequels
With Green’s capitulating success following The Fault in Our Stars, it’s a wonder why he chooses to write stand-alone novels over sequels that could continue the stories he knows his audience loves; however, that may just be part of his popularity. Instead of monopolizing off his audience just for the sake of it, Green takes the time to write individual stories that pack a great punch. This is surprising, considering how there are so many authors who extend their stories for no other reason than to get the most out of their fifteen minutes of fame. For as famous as John Green is, he only has five YA novels, one non-fiction novel, and two books written in collaboration with various authors. We have to appreciate that Green is meticulous, proving how much he loves writing as a craft.
He Writes Like A Teenager
This sounds odd, but let me explain: fans of John Green know that he has a very particular writing style. While he doesn’t literally write like a teenager (he wouldn’t have been published otherwise), he does write teenagers with accuracy. He uses their language, their physicalities, their thought processes. He doesn’t make teenagers speak or act like adults when they are very obviously not. His characters make mistakes, say the wrong thing, and hesitate because they don’t know any better. At a time in literature that was dominated by fantasy realms and post-apocalyptic worlds, Green wrote about the everyday tangible struggles of the average teen. He truly proved that writing about actuality wasn’t boring at all; in fact, it was exactly what everyone was longing for.
He Uses His Platform for Good
As an unofficial father of social media advancement, Green has used his platform for more than just boosting his fame. Instead of simply promoting his books and adaptations, he encourages education, social awareness, and empathy. He and Hank created CrashCourse and SciShow to provide educational videos to people who do not have equal access to education. He helped create The Foundation to Decrease World Suck and Project 4 Awesome, both of which promote awareness for different charities to help the world suck less. Green often speaks out against social injustices and encourages his followers to do the same. He calls himself a feminist. He is open about his struggle with mental illness. He even changed the life of one of our very own at Bookstr, whose story you can read here. As someone who took advantage of YouTube’s early beginnings, Green is an excellent example of an individual who uses his platform to change the world in any positive way possible.
How much do you love John Green? Let us know what your favorite books are of his and why in the comments below!
FEATURED IMAGE VIA THE NEW YORK TIMES