Author Spotlight: John Green
Young-adult author and YouTube star John Green didn’t always dream of becoming famous. But now that he has immense power of an internet army on his hands, he intends to use it to speak in behalf of those who feel unheard.
John Green was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, but he and his family moved all over different parts of the United States before settling in Orlando, Florida. In 2000, he completed his degree, a double major in English and religious studies. He’d originally intended to become an Episcopal priest, but decided against it after working in a children’s hospital.
Instead, Green moved to Chicago and worked as a publishing assistant and production editor for Booklist. While in Chicago, he worked on his first novel, Looking for Alaska. He also wrote for The New York Times Book Review and Chicago’s public radio station, WBEZ. After living in Chicago, he moved to New York City where he lived for two years.
Looking for Alaska, published in 2005, is a teen romance inspired by his life in Birmingham, Alabama. It tells the story of a young boy in Culver Creek Preparatory High School who is in search of “The Great Perhaps,” as it is described by Rabelais, after being sheltered for years. There, he meets an enigmatic young woman named Alaska, whom he believes is the answer to his quest.
Green’s second novel is An Abundance of Katherines, published in 2006. The novel is about a boy who has dated and has repeatedly been dumped by nineteen women all named Katherine. From this experience, he creates a mathematical theory on relationships.
In 2008, Green partnered with Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle for Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances. The book is a combination of three novellas, which are all intertwined.
That same year, Green published another novel called Paper Towns. This road-trip novel is about a small-town boy named Quentin Jacobs and his admiration for Margo Roth Spiegelman, a firecracker of a young woman. One night, she takes him on the adventure of his life, which makes him fall harder for her.
The year 2010 saw another collaboration, this time with fellow YA writer David Levithan, on a novel called Will Grayson, Will Grayson. The novel is about two boys both named Will Grayson, who both live in Chicago, as they cross paths for the first time.
The Fault in Our Stars, John Green’s last and most popular novel, wasn’t published until 2012. It tells the story of Hazel, a teen who’s been living with cancer for years. While in a support group for other teens living with cancer, she meets Augustus Waters, a cancer survivor who shows her how to live infinity within numbered days.
Green originally planned to write another novel, but announced that he will not be continuing because of the immense pressure he felt after the success of The Fault in our Stars. By this point, Green had already caused a massive shift in the YA market, causing the trend to go from dystopian fiction to hard-hitting and highly emotional slice-of-life stories.
Other than his novels, Green is also popular for being one half of the Vlogbrothers. He and his brother, Hank, launched a vlog (video blog) series in 2007 called Brotherhood 2.0, where they ceased all forms of communication with one another—no calls, no texts, no emails—for a year. The only way they would talk to each other was via a video blog which they posted on YouTube. The project skyrocketed them to popularity as they talked about many issues of the youth. The brothers also created a community and called themselves nerdfighters. The community aimed to fight for intellectualism and to “decrease the overall worldwide level of suck.” Their online popularity have caused them to advocate for many causes, most notably bullying. With their channel, they were also able to found Project for Awesome (P4A), a yearly initiative which allows the members of the nerdfighter community to raise money for a charity or nonprofit organization of their choice.
Although Green is not writing anymore, he continues to create more videos with his brother Hank and for eleven other webshows available on YouTube.
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