You may already know John Green from his young adult novels. A few years back I had the great pleasure of being inside a metaphor, thanks to the Green brothers and their merry band of Nerdfighters. My own high school was a stop on their Nerdfighting tour. To be an adult back inside Menchville High's auditorium with a bunch of teens being their awesome nerdy selves was a delicious moment in time. And you know how much English teachers like metaphors. Which brings me to...
In short, this book is about two teens whose day-to-day dealings with mortality insist that they make awesomeness a requirement. Hazel and Gus will make you blush and give you goosebumps for all the right reasons. You will get a little misty. I did. It happened during a round of applause at the Anne Frank House. Anne Frank is one of the strongest cases for never forgetting to be awesome. This metaphor is the main reason I got the sniffles when Mr. Green took this dear reader into the world famous hiding place. I could go on and on, but so many others already have.
Here's the thing about John Green. He's on my secret list of truly lovely people on this earth. Mr. Green inspires teens to be who they are and share this sweet feeling of self-acceptance with others. His fictional characters are bright, witty, sly and deep...a task best undertaken by writers with the same qualities.
As I stood at the back of a long line of teenagers waiting to get my first edition of Looking for Alaska signed, I recalled my classmates from Menchville and thought about the young people in front of me. How many of them got the "awesome" message from the people in their lives? Who cherished them for who they were and are? And here's how cool John Green is. When I finally got to the front of the line, I opened my copy of Alaska and placed it in front of him to sign and he told me that his signature would bring the value of the book down. As if I would ever sell it. I asked him to sign it anyway. He did.