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Sunday, May 18, 2014

"The John Green Effect," GreenLit and Other Realities

We all love John Green. It's almost a universal, he can be found everywhere from videos to books and while he is a voice for Nerdfighers everywhere, he isn't the only voice out there.

Recently there has been a lot of discussion about Green and his books. The success of "The Fault in Our Stars" is nothing to scoff at - this book put Green even more out there after he was already a very popular author, but now EVERYONE is talking about YA and reality.

Terms such as "Green-lit" and "The John Green Effect" are being thrown around as if he was the one who created contemporary Young Adult literature.

Comparisons to Green and Judy Blume have been discussed, accusations that a simple blurb from Green in the NYTBR is what has made novels successful and countless other things have been running around the interweb - all about John Green.


John Green has a YouTube following of two million people, a Twitter following of the same, and clearly he is popular. VlogBrothers has been around since 2007, and I was an early watcher who was always fascinated by how awesome John and Hank were. This hasn't changed.

What upsets me about all of this is how blame is being thrown in so many directions. 

We have articles sprouting up from the ground everyday exclaiming the success of Green and his novels, focusing of course on "The Fault in Our Stars." This book was always a recipe for success. This book by Green was the first of his novels to be written in a female's perspective - something which I believe contributed greatly to its popularity.

Previously Green's novels were all a little quirky but all were told from a male's perspective. Looking at the world of YA we see that the genre itself is mainly written by women, for young women... which I think is a problem. Green eliminating this small factor may have been one reason why everyone went crazy. He got rid of a key element that made his novels different.

By making his newest protagonist a female, he opened whatever few doors had previously been closed to him.

I have no issue with John Green. In fact, I love John Green, and I think he is one of the greatest authors we have today... but he isn't a revolutionary.

In his own words he is not leading a "YA revival." 

Contemporary Young Adult fiction has been around for DECADES. Real stories about real teens have never been in short supply in the YA world.

So many times I see people talking about Young Adult fiction as if it is one genre. For years much of YA was paranormal, now dystopian is leaking in, and before you know it we're going to see some other kind of focus take these other's place.

There will always be trends, but focusing on the trend and ignoring everything else out there does only harm.

Sarah Dessen is who I consider to be the queen of YA contemporary - at least in modern days. She has been gifting us with novels filled with love, loss, heartbreak, disorder, humor, tears, and every other emotion imaginable since THAT SUMMER was released in 2006.

After Sarah Dessen comes other wonderful writers like Jenny Han, Susane Colasanti, Sara Zarr, Elizabeth Scott, and countless others who have been giving us fantastic contemporaries for years.

Why are these wonderful people not being fawned over? Why is Rainbow Rowell's success in any way being attributed to John Green? Why are we still talking about this?

John Green doesn't even think we should be talking about it.

So, let us love John Green, but let us not forget every other person who has written beautiful things for us. John Green is just another person to add to the list of fantastic writers who have made us feel something - but he isn't the only one.

He isn't the only one. 


Juli Rahel said...

I totally agree with this point. I haven't read TFIOS because I somehow couldn't get past the first few pages but I have loved other YA books like 'Beautiful Disaster' or 'Unspoken'. I don't think one author should ever be credited to just one author! Great post :)

Ashley @ Book Labyrinth said...

Definitely agreed. It's so gross how the media is acting like he's some saviour of YA, and that he's responsible for the success of female authors. I'd love to read an accurate article in mainstream media about the growth and success of YA.

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