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—
Juan: ALL PARKS ARE KOREAN!!
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.
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.
Juan: AND WE DANCED ALL NIGHT, TO THE BEST SONG EVER
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!