6. Let it Snow
"There is always the risk. Something is good and good and good and good, and then all at once it gets awkward."
While this book isn't bad literature, it isn't the type of novel that will stick with you. It's great in December with a cup of hot chocolate, but there's no lasting impact. John Green's writing is easy to spot amidst the two other talented writers, as his style is very marked, and you'll feel all the appropriate emotions one tends to feel when reading something he has written.
5. Will Grayson, Will Grayson
"Maybe there's something you're afraid to say, or someone you're afraid to love, or somewhere you're afraid to go. It's gonna hurt. It's gonna hurt because it matters."
It pains me to have to put this fantastic book so comparatively low on the list, but every book needs a spot, and this one gets #5. Immediately after finishing this book, I was satisfied-maybe it was because he teamed up with another author, David Levithan, but for once John Green actually gave us a sort of happy ending. The two main characters share a name, but lead very different lives. It's a little like The Parent Trap, with a coincidental meeting and a lot of mischief, but ultimately it deals with the issue of identity in a very complex way. And of course, there's a lot to be said for Tiny, a character of John Green's who stuck with me in such a way I mistakenly remembered this book as being all about him.
4. An Abundance of Katherines
"What's the point of living if you don't at least try to do something remarkable?"
I like this book, simply, because it is 1. fun, 2. an adventure, 3. a rom-com in novel format, and 4. cute. It is cute. It contains adorable math. A formula for relationships? Yes, please. I was apprehensive to pick it up at first, cringing at the thought of reading about a teenage boy's failing love life, but I shouldn't have worried. If you want to read something that will make you feel good, go for this. Go for this because it is quirky and loveable and if it was a puppy it would be a pug wobbling through a meadow and licking its nose. You will not be disappointed.
3. Paper Towns
"What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person."
The characters in this book are imperfect. They are selfish and childish and make rash, immature decisions. They think they are in love and they do things in the name of it. In short, they are teenagers. It's a little infuriating to see a boy so infatuated with a girl who is so toxic she's making him insane even when she's gone-but it's also addicting. I ended up rooting for Q, this clumsy idiot who looked past every one of Margot's flaws and saw an imaginary sweetness in her heart. The end was a car crash in more ways than one, but if I ever want to read something that has the perfect balance of adrenaline and reflectiveness, I open this book to the road trip sequence, and stop reading once the reality of their situation hits.
2. The Fault in Our Stars
"My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations."
Oh NO. WHY isn't this beautiful gift to humanity at the top of the list?! Because I wrote it, and I decided that while romance is lovely, I found this book to be just a little more young adult than the one that took #1. While I, too, love Augustus Waters with all my heart and bawled my eyes out at the end...it's the one John Green book I haven't re-read. It's a great book the first go-around...it leaves you breathless and heartbroken and it feels like ending a relationship. But it's not the type of book you can leaf through again, at least in my experience. There's nothing to be re-discovered in its chapters, only because there is so much to take in the first time.
1. Looking for Alaska
"The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive."
Here is the book I highlight and underline and open again and again. I can hate all of its characters, and love them just as purely. Nobody is a nerd or a jock or a beauty queen: they don't fit into these neat little categories. I can cringe at their choices and then realize why they made them. It's pathetic to admit, but the first time I read it, I didn't realize what was going to happen, what "Before" and "After" meant. But I love reading it now, knowing what it all means. It's raw and makes me think about my own moral system and my own Great Perhaps. It doesn't have to be about loving or hating Alaska, or Pudge, or anyone. It can just be about getting lost in the story, because the story's that good.