When John Green’s last book was released, I was fourteen.
You may have heard of that book. It’s called THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. It was kind of a big deal at the time. And this book, TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN, is going to be an even bigger deal. It’s going to spring off John Green’s existing platform, which has extended IMMENSELY since five years ago.
The first print run for TFIOS was 150,000. The new book will be 1.5 million.
TFIOS was an incredibly important book to me. In many ways, it still is.
It wasn’t the first John Green book I read – that was Looking for Alaska, which I found in the school library. But it was the biggest. Going back through my blog posts, it’s easy to see I was obsessed. Here is a post on my reactions to the trailer of the movie. Here is a post about the pre-release screening of the pre-release screening I went to. Here is a post explaining why it was so important to me, as well as a pic of me during exams reading it under a table.
Since then, my feelings have changed a little.
For starters, I have discovered a LOT more YA since then. TFIOS is no longer my favourite book – it’s not even in the top ten. And I think a lot of John Green’s success is due to the privilege he has as a straight white male. The amount of articles and think-pieces I’ve read where John Green is the “saviour” of YA is ridiculous. YA doesn’t need saving. It’s been here long before John Green, and it has been quite fine during his hiatus between books.
This isn’t necessarily a criticism of John Green himself. For what it’s worth, I think he uses his platform well, both to boost other voices and to make a difference himself. I don’t watch his videos anymore (I used to watch every single Vlogbrothers video, but they kind of changed directions and I wasn’t enjoying them anymore) but I think it’s a pretty incredible community he and Hank have created.
Obviously I’m going to read the new book.
There’s no way I can avoid resisting that kind of hype. Not after more than five years. I used to read TFIOS before every set of exams in high school, but I haven’t read it since I’ve started university, so it’ll be interesting to see how my reading tastes have changed. Maybe it’s time to reread some of his backlist as well. TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN has #ownvoices rep of OCD, which is something I’ve heard John talk about in some of his videos. And Hazel, his only female protagonist, is much better than his male protagonists, so I’m quietly optimistic about Aza.
Whatever happens, I’m sure it’ll sell a billion copies and there’ll be a movie and all that jazz.
But I think it’s important to remember how much amazing YA there is beyond John Green. YA doesn’t need saving and I wish people would remember how many women have made this category what it is today.
Also, here are a couple of books releasing in October that I’m much more excited about (if I’m honest):
Make sure you give these ones some love as well!
Have your opinions of your favourite books changed over time?