Before John Green, his general category of realistic (non-fantasy) YA was rife with teen angst and “issues” fiction that you might have associated with the legendary Judy Blume, or with newer writers like Sarah Dessen or Laurie Halse Anderson. Anderson’s classic 1999 novel Speak, about a high schooler struggling to deal with the aftermath of sexual assault, was so influential that three years later Penguin launched an entire imprint named after it. One of the books launched under the behest of Speak was Green’s Looking for Alaska. But it’s Green whose name you’re more likely to know today, not Anderson’s, although Anderson has won more awards and written more books.
On Twitter, Green has 2 million followers. Compared to the rest of the leaders in Young Adult fiction, that number is staggering. To approach even half the Twitter influence of John Green all by himself, you need an entire army of YA women. Anderson, Blume, Dessen, Veronica Roth, Cassandra Clare, Richelle Mead, Margaret Stohl, Kami Garcia, Rainbow Rowell, Maureen Johnson, Malinda Lo, Holly Black, LJ Smith, Ellen Hopkins, Shannon Hale, Lauren Myracle, Libba Bray, Melissa Marr, and Leigh Bardugo: As a group these women only have about 1.2 million followers on Twitter. That’s the voice of one man outweighing several decades of women who have had major successes, critical acclaim, and cultural influence.
My two cents: I’ve read Anderson, Clare, Mead, Black, Smith, Hopkins, and Bray, and none of them could make me laugh as hard as John Green does. Not to say that those authors are bad and their stories not valuable— Holly Black’s Tithe is in my top ten favorite novels of EVER— but to say that people love to laugh, and John Green dishes that up, as well as the sad, real stuff.
If gender has anything to do with it, it’s probably a derivative of the fact that usually male readers are more hesitant to pick up a YA “chick-lit” book, thus cutting down on a female author’s following and building up Green’s instead. /opinion
Oh, hello! Thank you for the compliment. I did that for Halloween last year. Every once in a while, I’ll put a design on my face, but it’s not a regular thing, and I’ve never tried body paint.