We all hear rumblings about great books, and occasionally, we pick one up at the store intending to read what the hubbub’s all about. It’s a common occurrence with me, and just like you, my life gets busy and the book goes unread. The Fault in our Stars was first in the back of my mind, and then marked on my To-Read list. A few years later, I made the purchase. It’s been calling my name from my bookshelf for at least three or four years now. (And no, I’ve refused to watch the movie until I the book was read. More on that later…) So why John? I’ve neglected this book long enough and hear so many others that have read his books. I just wanted to see for myself.
I received a flavor of who John Green is when I read The Fault in Our Stars Author’s Note:
“Neither novels nor their readers benefit from attempts to divine whether any facts hide inside a story. Such efforts attack the very idea that made-up stories can matter, which is sort of the foundational assumption of our species.” (Green, Author’s Note, The Fault in Our Stars)
Through these words, I was able to share a moment with him, mask off. Young Adult fiction matters. Sharing moments with fictional characters matters. Would his books swallow me into the characters’ worlds?
The following brief synopsis can be found on the Penguin Random House website:
"Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist names Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be rewritten."
Personally, I loved the intelligence behind each very real teen character. They are not dumbed down in any way. I loved the depth of their conversations and the way Hazel reflected on her feelings about Gus vs. the compassion behind her illness. I loved the the interesting language choices and syntax.
But, I honestly did not find the power of this story or its themes in the book trailer, which is really more of a teaser. The characters do not appear to be afflicted by anything, which is not an accurate portrayal of their battles. But I'll let you be the judge.
I am one that prefers to read the book before watching any consequential movie that might be birthed from its loins. So yes, the book was first for me. But there is also a movie for this title.
How is it that John Green was able to touch upon this fiction subject from an inside perspective? Who is this man behind the mask?
According to an interview with Business Insider, John read a lot about cancer and interviewed cancer patients, families, and doctors. He believes that cancer or illness should not define an individual. (Amen, John!)
You can find a lot of information about John on his very own website. This guy is creative and active on many fronts! Just to give you a flavor of who John is, let’s shoot for a few of the fun
Facts. (Because really, doesn’t life need more fun?)
- In addition to being a #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Printz Prize winner, and Edgar Award Winner, in addition to many other writing accolades, John is or has been a podcaster, philanthropist, publishing assistant, production editor, father, husband, and much more. His books have been printed in more than 55 languages, 24 million+ are in print and 3 have turned into movies. What?! Unreal. To read John’s bio, visit HERE.
- After committing to a “no text” policy with his brother, they communicated via YouTube instead! Their vlogging community, termed as ‘nerdfighters’, attempt to diminish the ‘worldwide level of suck’. Even the word choice for his community and mission are statements! (Just like in The Fault in Our Stars.)
- One of their informational vlogs is called Mental Floss: Scatterbrains. Again, how cool is that name? In the videos, John introduces each topic, is followed by a colleague that shares information on the topic for three minutes, and then John conducts a series of pass or fail experiments. There is additional information following. I particularly like this one on Coffee Hacks and Life Facts.
All around, John seems to be one interesting guy! (Or in the language of Mental Floss: “PASS!”)
To read an excerpt, synopsis, or varied reviews, click the cover images below.
After reading The Fault in Our Stars, you'll find that characters Hazel and Augustus have unanswered questions for the author of their favorite book. While their questions may go unanswered, it's comforting to know there's a place we can turn with our own questions: John’s FAQ page!
As if that’s not enough, educators have something to look forward to as well:
INSTRUCTIONAL GUIDES to all of John’s books! Plus, this Prestwick House blog post focuses exclusively on The Fault in our Stars' teaching points.
The question remains…
Which book will you start with? Or if you've already started, which is your favorite and why?
Business Insider. (2014). [Web Resource]. Why ‘The fault in our stars’ author wrote a book
about cancer. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/why-john-green-wrote-
GIPFY. [Web Resource]. Disney crying alice in wonderland. Retrieved from https://giphy.com/gifs/disney-crying-alice-in-wonderland-
Green, J. (2012). The fault in our stars. New York, NY: Penguin.
Huff Post. (2014). [Web Resource]. All the differences between ‘the fault in our stars’ book &
movie. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/06/the-fault-in-our-
John Green. [Web Resource]. Retrieved from http://www.johngreenbooks.com
My Dream Came True! (2014). [Web Resource]. I met john green! Retrieved from
New York Times. (2017). John green tells a story of emotional pain and crippling axiety. His
Penguin Random House. [n.d.] [Web Resource]. An educator’s guide to the works of John Green.
Retrieved from http://www.penguin.com/static/images/yr/pdf/JohnGreen_Guide_june
Penguin Random House. [Image Resource]. An abundance of katherines. Retrieved from
Penguin Random House. [Image Resource]. Looking for alaska. Retrieved from
Penguin Random House. [Image Resource]. Paper towns. Retrieved from
Penguin Random House. [Image Resource]. Turtles all the way down. Retrieved from
Penguin Random House. [Image Resource]. Will grayson, Will grayson. Retrieved from
Penguin Random House. [Image Resource]. The fault in our stars. Retrieved from
Prestwick House. [n.d.] [Web Resource]. How to teach the fault in our stars.
Retrieved from https://www.prestwickhouse.com/blog/post/2014/06/ how-to-teach-the-
YouTube. (2018). [Video Resource]. Coffee facts and life hacks! Mental floss: Scatterbrained.
Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXyOkWpturM&t=360s
YouTube. (2012). [Video Resource]. The fault in our stars, john green. Retrieved from
YouTube. (2014). [Video Resource]. The fault in our stars extended official hd trailer. Retrieved