Book Shelf: A Review of the John Green Collection

Hear ye! Hear ye! I have officially finished the John Green Collection – including his collaboration works.

I’m quite shocked myself. It’s just that in between my “heavy” reads, I need to put a light easy read book. And, Green’s books, well-situated at the bookstore and my tumblr dashboard just became an easy choice.

So, I’d like to share what I think of his books. Ranked from most to least liked, here goes:

1. The Fault in Our Stars

This book is such a best seller that a movie adaptation is gonna come out soon! And, I gotta agree – it’s quite something. TFIOS is about two kids, Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters, who met each other in Cancer Support Group and the only silver lining in their situations is falling in love with each other. They, especially Augustus, had an enviable but likeable personality and their self-sacrificing loving relationship was something even adults wish to have. The plot is kinda like the “A Walk to Remember” for the current generation so it’s definitely a hear-wrenching tear-jerker too. I liked that their story started over reading a book and that there wasn’t much mind games but they were there for each other, even at such a  tender age. Their story isn’t simple, isn’t nice and isn’t all sunshine and flowers, but it’s beautiful. Add it to your reading list and let these cancer fighters show you how true love can be.

“Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”


2. Paper Towns

PaperTowns2009_6AThe story between Quentin Jacobsen and Margo Roth Spiegelman is my second favourite! I like the clue-finding adventure, that Q took the chance and started doing something he normally wouldn’t, and Margo’s spontaneity and quirkiness. The night they sneaked out sounded like a really awesome date! So, I’m not surprised how confused Q must have been to realised that Margo disappeared. That said, I think it was really sweet that Margo left him clues and that Q actually pursued them. I kinda wished I had my own map and clues to follow their adventures or at least secret places to hide in. It was at this point where I realised how Green’s plot “timeline” goes – the story, twist (someone leaves/disappears/meets) and the story trajectory is now forever changed. The most clever thing I liked about Paper Towns was the way in which Green linked a lot of  the character’s feelings and emotions with literature and poetry (Whitman, Plath, Melville), helping to enhance our understanding of them. I googled a fair bit while reading this. Heh!

“It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.”


3. Will Grayson Will Grayson



Just fyi, Green’s Will Grayson is the one on odd number chapters with proper capitalisation. This was the last book I read from Green’s collection – mostly because I wasn’t sure what to expect from a cryptic, sci-fi looking book cover. But, I surprisingly liked it. Well, honestly, I feel like the story was centred around Tiny Cooper as opposed to the the Will Grayson’s – And I think this worked really well as far as collaboration goes. Without Tiny, the characters might just have been flat and cliched but this wasn’t the case. I imagine Tiny Cooper, described as “the world’s largest person who is really, really gay” and “the world’s gayest person who is really, really large” being the main planet while the other characters are moons revolving around him. It was easy to do so too – Tiny had a cheerful, sunshine-y albeit melodramatic disposition that easily gravitates readers towards him. And since the story was written from his best friend and special friend’s perspective, it was fresh un-self-centred viewpoint that also shed a light about their friendship and love. Plus, I like the “grand gesture” at the end! Last but not the least, I liked that the book was mature enough to present gays honestly and naturally, especially since their main target audience are young adults. Do have a read!

“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.”


4. Looking for Alaska

looking-for-alaska-cover-abookandashortlatte.wordpress.com_2This is apparently Green’s first published booked but unfortunately, only number 4 on my list. I liked Miles Halter, his hobby of memorising people’s last words and his search for “The Great Perhaps.” In fact, he reminds me of Holden Caulfield – meeting great friends, struggling withe expectations, finding himself through new adventures, and (quite predictably) falling in love with a girl. Everything is great and engaging – even the rather intellectual exchanges amongst the teenagers were thought provoking. And, when things took a turn midway through the book, it shook things up. At first I thought, “wow, that’s a good twist!” Plus, I like a good road trip! But as we trudge through the rest of the book with Miles’s emotional and sentimental thoughts, Alaska Young started to seem like an annoying self-entitled girl. Yet, after all is said and done, I’m just glad that Miles stepped out of his comfort zone and was able to understand himself better than before.

“So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.”


5. Let It Snow

Three different holiday romance stories infused into one book, this is a super light and easy read perfect for Christmas season – especially if it’s cold and snowy outside. The stories are The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson, A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle by John Green, and The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle during a huge snow storm in Gracetown. And, I think the stories arranged by – good, alright, and okaaaaay… Green’s story, the second one, was about how Tobin and his friends enduring a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow after finding out that fourteen cheerleaders were. Again, cool friendship, witty exchanges but, at this point, I learnt how Green likes having the indescript guy fall for the girl-next-door so the ending was no surprise.

“Once you think a thought, it is extremely difficult to unthink it.”


6. The Abundance of Katherines

 I’m sad to say that I didn’t really like this book. Plus, it took me so long to finish it illustrating how disengaging it was for me.  Colin Singleton seemed interesting at first – after all, he is a child prodigy who obsessively does anagrams, draws diagrams and is trying to formulate theorem about love. However, reading a whole novel about dumped by 19 Katherines (which seemed peculiar to begin with) and trying to find a theorem about it got old real fast. I just felt like I was reading the diary of a needy geeky sulky emotional teenage boy rant and rumble about being dumped and finding difficulty moving on – such a downer! Even his best friend Hassan’s carefree attitude, witty side jokes and summer fling seemed more interesting. I won’t suggest my friends to read it.

“That’s who you really like. The people you can think out loud in front of.”


Okay. So that’s what I think. I’ve read some of the books a while back so apologies if I missed out on a few things.

To know more about John Green, you can find his website here or watch his youtube videos here.


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