John Green is Overrated

Originally posted on Opinionated Duck

John Green is overrated.

Not a bad writer, not a hideous storyteller, not a terrible man, just overrated.

It pains me to say it because, despite the repetitiveness of his books (eg: the similarities between Margo [Paper Towns] and Alaska [Looking for Alaska]), John Green is still one of my favourite storytellers. He tells story’s that have moved thousands to tears and tells of journeys that the average teenager such as myself can only dream of embarking on. His metaphors are on point and – as a writer and an adorer of quotes – I am envious of his skill when it comes to creating memorable quotes.

“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
― John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars

“It’s a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing.”
― John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars

Who couldn’t love John Green? He’s good at what he does, he actively calls himself a “nerd”, and he sticks up for the underdog. That being said, I am a teenager and the thing John Green does most well is connecting with his audience. He understands teenagers and their emotions – it’s not at all hard in most cases, seeing that every adult has once experienced teenage years – and knows all the right things to say and write to translate teenager’s emotions into words. Upon reading them, it strikes a chord. Unfortunately, there are many people who do not love John Green. Not in the slightest. In fact, there are people that are probably spitting at me as they read this, insulted that I hold the writer with such high prestige, and feel as if he is manipulating the feelings of teenagers and using what these people might refer to as “cheap” or “cheesy” metaphors and scenes to insult the intelligence of teenagers.

Whilst he may have teenagers like:

He has many other readers all like:

However, despite this, you cannot say that John Green is bad at what he does: his aim is to connect with a teenage audience through his books, as a teenager, I can say that he is successful at this in more ways than one. Of course, I cannot speak for all teenagers, but I don’t need to: read the reviews from teenagers yourself. That being said, I’d hate to put any adults off of Green’s books because they are not – in the slightest – only suitable for teenagers.

“When adults say, “Teenagers think they are invincible” with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”
― John GreenLooking for Alaska

Upon reading The Fault In Our Starsthe first book written by John Green that I ever read, I was made uncomfortable by his somewhat ‘casual’ writing tone. Later, this became something that I admired Green for and I realised that it was part of the reason that I was so engrossed in the book so quickly. It became one of the reasons I was so easily connected with his characters and one of the reasons that I was drowning in my own tears for days after putting the book down.

“Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than about the stories and people we’re quoting.”
― John Green

“That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfeast cereals based on color instead of taste.”
― John GreenPaper Towns

Here I am, singing John Green’s praise after just stating that the author is overrated. Talk about contradiction. Nevertheless, I stand by my word. As much as I adore and admire John Green, there are so many other young adult writers that develop their plots in the same way – or even better – than Green, who allow their words to flow just as, if not more, naturally, and who have moved me to tears in the same way yet have not gained the recognition that they so rightly deserve.

John Green is amazing. His words have touched many in ways I cannot possibly fathom, but this does not detract from the fact that John Green is not the best writer or the best storyteller despite so many reviews and opinions that he is.

What do you think of the writer? Overrated or not? Have you read his books? What did you think? Let me know in the comments alongside any other thoughts you might have.


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