Day of Debate: On John Green


This is a feature my brother came up with— wherein we tackle certain topics on books, young adult or not, and give you guys the low down on our opinions of them (which, mind you, generally differ). I’ll be encoding our conversation, and if you guys have any opinions of your own on the topic, or on the heated discussion, feel free to once again make my day and comment!

My brother is seventeen, a college sophomore, approximately one year and two days older. His name is Juan (that’s pronounced like the number, one), and he’s my best friend. No matter what anyone else says.


Jasmine: Hi there! Been a long time coming, hasn’t it?

Juan: Ahh yes, hello.

Jasmine: So! I’m on the beam when it comes to the fact that this bro-sis tandem has been elsewhere for quite the sustained period of time. Apart from busy schedules, we haven’t been in actual debate for the past few episodes, and I was thinking that maybe you guys would’ve wanted us to revert back to ye olde bilateral grilling. And here were are! So brudda, tell us more about today’s material.

Juan: For this week’s feature, we give center stage to the one man who’s managed to capture the hearts of many a lovestruck teenager with his irreproachable writing and his bittersweet titles! We’re having a debate on… you guessed it! Me.

Jasmine: *taps toe on the ground repeatedly*

Juan: All right, all right. We’re here for an argument on John Green, and whether or not he’s worthier than Peter Blue.

Jasmine: … For how much longer must I persist through your terrible punch lines

Juan: I KID, I KID! In point of fact, we’re having a debate on the various facets of this critically acclaimed, best-selling author, which of course subsumes the exceptional writing style, the controvertible plot, and the raw emotions to his books, as well as the book we think he deserves the most credit for. And since we’re on the topic of comeuppance, we might as well talk about whether or not he deserves his million count Twitter following. We’re not debating however, on whether or not he’s a good author, because this is apparently an established fact. In addition, I wouldn’t want to displease and find you guys at my heels, screaming bloody murder. So yeah! Let’s get to it.

Jasmine: Alrighty then, first things first—what do you think of his writing?

Juan: It was passable. Could be better, in my opinion. Hazel and Augustus for example, protagonists to what is arguably his masterpiece, The Fault In Our Stars, could have done better by talking their age, which, if I’m not mistaken, was in fact closer to eighteen than to thirty-eight. Believe me, they could’ve gotten Haruki Murakami bamboozled and scratching his head in no time with the words they used to form their versions of ‘coherent sentences’. Basically, he needs to portray a bit better. Damn straight these characters didn’t sound realistic.

Jasmine: Well, alright, here’s the thing – I think that his writing style, in terms of the prose, the exposition, the passage, and the flow of ideas—it’s cutting edge and borderline immaculate. He could win an essay writing contest without batting an eyelash. Suffice it to say, I don’t think it can get much better than John Green in terms of structure. I did think it a backbreaker, however, to imagine Hazel and Augustus the normal teenagers they were supposed to be, since they prattled, or soliloquized more like, in John Green’s full-on articulation. I sometimes heard the dialogue in his voice instead of theirs, which was unfortunate. But of course, I don’t blame them for sounding the way they did either. Maybe they weren’t meant to sound ordinary and commonplace. Maybe they were meant to sound remarkable, or off the beaten path, because they were. If I perchance were to meet an Augustus clone in reality? I wouldn’t have wasted my breath complaining. Maybe that’s what John Green was after, so I can’t really blame him for it. Besides, I don’t think I would have enjoyed the book half as much without his signature writing.

Juan: Well I would. If all the one-legged guys who walked this planet were as hot and quick-witted as he was,  I would’ve been saving up for a goddamned amputation already. Besides, he has a few tropes that he uses replete—and don’t give me that ‘I don’t know what you’re talking ‘bout’ look! Plain guy meets hot girl (Looking For Alaska). Hot guy meets plain girl (The Fault In Our Stars). Plain guy… meets hot guy? (Will Grayson, Will Grayson). Not too sure about that last bit, though. This isn’t bad, per se, but if he just added a bit more miscellany or divergence, if I do say so myself, it would have worked for my instant gratification. I get that he’s trying to relate to the everyday teenagers going through an identity crisis, wishing upon their lucky stars for a chance meeting with a sexy stranger who exhibits more than just a little interest. Nevertheless, I think he could find some other ways to express himself through the characters. Just sayin’, not hatin’.

Jasmine: Personally, I don’t think he’s doing much wrong with that, either. If you’re looking for something more Eleanor and Park, then maybe you’re not looking for something John Green after all. If he likes to explore that sort of relationship, then I’m not complaining because his audience seems to embrace it. Besides, I think that he comes to a happy medium with the plot and the emotions, which I believe were the best parts.

Juan:… Who’re Eleanor and Park? Are they Korean?

Jasmine: Well, uhm—


Jasmine: … Moving on.

Juan: Okay fine, I like the emotions. Loved them, if truth be told. But the plot? Mehhhh. Not very. It wasn’t that unique, or contradistinctive. Now I’m starting to sound like John Green! It’s just that there’s one recurring gist to his works: guy and girl/guy meet, slowly warm up to each other, may or may not fall in love… someone dies. Not that great. The emotions however, are well given. Few books can make a hard hearted man-dude cry.

Jasmine: Right.

Juan: Though I didn’t cry. Just, you know… saying.

Jasmine: BAHAHA. I raise my eyebrow in suspicion! Well anyway, I think the plot was sort of generic—I could have thought up the entire guy meets girl scenario myself, although I think that if it weren’t in John Green’s writing, I would have liked it way less. The flow of the ideas and the sequence of events to his stories were smooth and equable, and maybe the plot could have been better, but I didn’t think them half bad either. The plot to Will Grayson was unique, and An Abundance of Katherines sounds like completely uncharted territory. The way he weaves through his words is exquisite and impeccable, and the most heartfelt scenes are inexplicably profound. After reading his works, I usually go all like ‘DROWN IN MY TEARS!’ so yeah, I share in an ardent love for the whole shebang.

Juan: Fine! You’re way easier to convince. In terms of the books I liked best, deffo Looking For Alaska, because the individual stories intertwined and various characters were given an in-depth consideration, and the world didn’t stop spinning for two people. This was opposed to The Fault In Our Stars, which basically revolved around two teenagers on the brink of imminent death. I felt less like a part of their world in that one. The rest of the characters were more like plot devices than actual humans, you see.

Jasmine: I personally liked The Fault In Our Stars better, because of his eloquence, and the fact that it dealt so delicately with a real-life struggle. It made me cry, and I scarcely ever do, so that doubtlessly counts for something.

Juan: Well that may be it for you, but I don’t cry, so—

Jasmine: I’m sorry I ate your frittata.

Juan: …Excuse me as I go weep in a corner.

Jasmine:  HA! Okay, I’ll stop taunting now. What about that thing with his Twitter followers? Were we even serious about that?

Juan: Of course! And I don’t think he deserves it. He deserves MORE! Let’s try and get him to as many followers as Harry Horan.

Jasmine: Ehhhrm, bro, you’re messing up. Big time.

Juan: Nevermind. Do you want me to belt out one song for you?

Jasmine: Never in your wildest dreams.


Jasmine: I’m outta here.


So what do you think?  Have any suggestions? Criticisms of the constructive variety? Life changing praise?  Comment if you do! 😀

P.S. We’d appreciate suggestions on future topics!



16 thoughts on “Day of Debate: On John Green

  1. PETER BLUE??? HARRY HORAN???? *deadz* Don’t worry, I died laughing. Oh how I missed your very fabulous and very funny debates. I’VE BEEN ANTICIPATING THIS PARTICULAR DEBATE FOR A LONG TIME NOWWWW. First, I have to disagree with the passable writing comment. Points go to Jasmine because she’s absolutely right- John’s writing is downright immaculate. I get your issue with the portrayal of Hazel and Augustus as teenagers what with their philosophical thoughts and ‘articulation’, as you say it. But hey, you guys, use words like ‘comeuppance’ here… you’re not far off from how John or his characters talk. =)))) I personally love TFIOS too… cos I share the same namesake as the MC. LOL NO okay it’s because of the infinite tears and feels and Augustus Waters 😥

    • My brother seriously gets random sometimes. HAHA! And yeah, I kind of had this one queued up for about two weeks now (OR MORE!), so I’m really glad my bro and I could finally push through 😀 I really do think that his writing is one of the most amazing, like EVER (if not THE most amazing), and I still do think Hazel and Augustus could’ve done better at acting their age, but yeahhh, my vocabulary spins when I write, and so does his, so maybe they’re not that unrealistic after all! HAHAHA yeah you’re a Hazel too! 🙂 I cried with that book, and I really really loved Gus. I kind of wonder how the movie will work out. Not sure I’m liking the casting for that one actually XD But we’ll see! 🙂

  2. There isn’t anything you havent said. Obviously, I loved The Fault in Our Stars. I think the character situations are always the same in most YA. They deal with the hot girl/guy meets love interest package. What the author turns it into is what is crucial.
    Many have a problem with the way Gus and Hazel speak. The circumstances made them think and speak the way they do.
    Great debate! 😀 Here’s a topic suggestion- Banning Books: Pointless or Necessary.

    • I never really gave much thought into the whole hot/plain combo– but now that you and my brother have mentioned it, I do realize it does get repetitive! But that STILL doesn’t deter me from liking his books 🙂 I think Hazel and Gus could have been more realistic, but they weren’t supposed to be normal either. Without their witty dialogue, I think I’d have thought the book boring. And thank you for the suggestion!! ❤

  3. Well, I do have to say that Mr. Juan over there speaks in a similar fashion to John Green. Just sayin’, not hatin’. Keep saving up for that amputation and you’ll have flocks of girls knocking at your door buddy 😉

    I understand both sides of the argument here, actually. What I think most people complain about is how different Green’s writing is, and that not many teenagers act like that. What I love is that he highlights the teens that do talk and act like that – he’s recognizing that teens are the vapid stereotype given in a lot of YA novels. That we do care about more than our next kiss, and we do worry about life and death and philosophical questions. It was like Ender’s Game for me, because I could identify with the characters a lot better: like I was reading about another version of me, not reading about someone else’s life.

    And I’ve also been told that I talk like I’m too old, so I guess there’s a bit of a personal slight that comes out so I defend Green for that too 🙂

    • HAHAHA he does, sort of XD At least he keeps that to his online persona– I doubt I’d be able to take his banter once he starts spewing nosebleed-inducing words, and it’s hard enough as it is! XD And it’s GREAT how you can understand both sides to the the argument! And you made an interesting point there too: we worry about more than just our next kiss, and do worry about life and death and philosophical questions. TOO TRUE! I love how he highlights teens like that, so I guess that’s why it never truly bothered me 🙂 And people tell me I’m not that far off either. Been called the ‘Walking Dictionary’ for as long as I can remember, and I’m quite happy that I’m not alone XD I think it has something to do with constant exposure to books really, so there’s nothing to be ashamed of, if people DO think you talk twice your age 😀

      • AH! We share nicknames!!! Apparently deploy is not a word an eight year old says? My family still laughs at me for that one… *shrug*

        And YES it’s because of books!!! Just like reading more books will give you a better and more objective view of the world, because you’ve seen from so many perspectives.

      • HAHAHA ‘deploy’. REALLY?! I didn’t even know what a waffle was at eight XD I think its one of the bigger benefits of reading. Wider vocabulary, check. Objectivity, check. I don’t think I could have survived school without that!

  4. I have only read a few chapters of each of his books (thanks to a free e-book sampler), so I am by no means an expert on John Green’s writing style. It’s clear he’s a very gifted writer, but his writing is not going to appeal to everyone. For me, I really enjoyed the writing itself but I hated all the characters in what little I read, except I think I could like Hazel OK, it’s just that The Fault in Our Stars was the last one I read the beginning of and I think she was going to be stupid mopey like the kid from An Abundance of Katherines sounded like. All of his characters are definitely intelligent but a lot of them also swear a lot, the latter which frustrated me, so they all felt the same in just reading the sample. I have no doubt that he probably does a great job of conveying the feels and all that though.

    • I haven’t read An Abundance of Katherines, so I don’t think I can relate to your thoughts on that kid– but I definitely didn’t think Hazel was mopey! She was strong despite her disease and I relished in that 🙂 I don’t know about the swearing either, but that’s probably in one of his earlier books (and I tend to read the more recent ones), but I hope when I get to read the rest, it doesn’t change my views on him D: But yeah, he’s good at conveying emotion (that was an understatement).

  5. See, this is why I did not love TFIOS. I liked it, but it did not ‘wow’ me like I thought it would. Actually TFIOS turned me off to read any of his books because I’m scared that I won’t understand what he’s trying to say in his stories. I feel like I’m missing out on his amazingness, though. 😦

  6. Cute post…your brother is hilarious! So far, I’ve only read one book by John Green — The Fault in Our Stars — but I did think that it was seriously amazing. And I’m really excited to read more of his stuff. Obviously he seems to have a problem with age-appropriate dialogue, as I hear that’s an issue in his other books as well. But it’s almost like, he writes so well that I don’t really even have a problem with it. I loved the characters. It just made me wish that people like that actually existed in real life, haha 🙂

    • HAHA well, I’m glad to know that you think he is 😀 The age-appropriate dialogue is definitely the most pressing issue when it comes to his books, but like you, I don’t really care much for that because of how eloquent he is. Maybe some people just found it way harder to understand than you and I did, so they couldn’t quite grasp the emotions as well. But yeah, real life Augustus? One for me please!

  7. I am a little late reading this post but DAMMIT YOU AND YOUR BROTHER ARE SO FUNNY.

    I agree that JG’s books seem to ALWAYS follow certain patterns and that is girls and boys meeting each other..eventually they fall in love. That’s it. But what makes his work soooo loved and touching for most readers out there is the FELLS. ALL THE FEELS. I didn’t cry when I read TFIOS — okay I did when Isaac says that robot eyes thingy — but I did experience lots of emotion: I was sad, I laughed, I smiled. Now don’t hit me with tomatoes but I did like Alaska better than TFIOS. It was — in a way — more depressing than TFIOS but the authenticity of the characters and their teenage lives were definitely there.

    I didn’t have any issues with JG’s books…until I read the fourth book by him it struck me how bored I was that I couldn’t bring myself to finish it -_____- *coughWillGraysoncough* I guess it was part of my fault to since I read all his books all at once, I definitely noticed the similarities and formulaic plots… ><

    • HAHAHA no tomatoes here! I loved Looking For Alaska as well 🙂 And yeah, now that it’s been introduced to me, I think I can easily see the formulaic plot to his books. There’s a form of redemption there though– his writing is amazing, and the emotions to his books are so raw. TOTALLY the feels. So yeah, I love him! I haven’t read the Will Grayson book, but we’ll see 😀 Thanks for stopping by Kezia!

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