Two John Green Books. A review.

I recently read two John Green books, Paper Towns and Turtles All The Way Down. For those of you who don’t know, Green is a top-selling writer of literate young adult (YA) novels with a flair for smart, sassy characters and quirky humour.

Paper Towns features straight-laced Quentin Jacobsen (Q), who has lived most of his teenaged life next door to the high spirited and unreachable wild child Margo Roth Spiegelman. When they were nine they discovered a dead body, and although they run in different social circles now, they share a bond over that event. Margo decides to let Q to be her driver on an amazing night of payback, then promptly disappears. Whilst her parents are unconcerned, Q and his friends follow a trail of deliberate clues (including a Walt Whitman poem) attempting to find out what happened to Margo.

Paper Towns is a fast-paced mystery and road trip that touches on the reality and unreality of suburban life, the facade of personality and the lengths people go to find their real selves.

Turtles All The Way Down is Green’s latest novel. It features terminally anxious Aza and overwhelmingly exuberant Star Wars fan fic writer Daisy as two teens who decide to pursue a missing businessman on the run from police, in the hope of claiming the reward. Aza used to be friends with the businessman’s son, Davis, and reuniting with him ignites a love complicated by her anxiety issues.

Turtles All The Way Down is about friendship, loyalty, first love, the incredible difficulty of living with mental illness and coming to terms with profound loss.

Green’s books are always humorous, well written and paced. He’s a smart writer, utilising his precocious teen characters to tell love stories with deeper meanings than most average YA lit. Often (at least in the three novels I’ve read so far) his leads tend to be very similar—unusually smart, funny, quirky, well-read middle class teens with a significant issue and loving parent/s—but his stories are so engaging I can overlook it.

I love that Green’s books are short. I can knock them over quickly in between uni texts and other, more weighty tomes. He is not an ‘overwriter’ (yes, Stephen King—I love your writing but your books can drag at times) by any means.

I have another couple of Green’s books on order. I guess that makes me a fan.

7 thoughts on “Two John Green Books. A review.

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      1. I’ve only read Looking for Alaska and I’m already eager to read more of them (time’s a big issue). So thank you for your reviews. They’ll help me chose my reading order. Alaska’s great, although the Katherines have a more intriguing title. Go read Katherines, so we all can tease you about not yet reading Alaska 🙂

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  1. Hi Steve, I like Greens books also. It upset me when he said the Fault in the Stars character was not based on a real life story when it was. The Alaska book which I still need to read was banned in schools and I wondered why. I follow that genre of writing though I’m not that age. I find the writing fascinating and would love to write some in this genre myself. Thanks for your feedback on two I was looking at ” I started a new blog, rileystillwaits, my Irish name and Native American name, I’m Choctaw and Blackfoot , you wouldn’t know it looking at me . I’m the image of my Father but he is all dark but his piercing blue eyes. He’s gone now . Thanks for reading “

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Riley, thanks for reading. Those are some interesting points you’ve raised. YA contemporary is an exciting genre and Green is certainly a master of that style. It’s not easy to capture the authentic teen voice. Good luck with your writing 🙂

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