Dear John Green,
As TFIOS popularity continues to grow and more and more people get to know Hazel Grace, I am sure that you receive a lot of letters. I am also sure that a lot of those letters thank you for the book, or the movie or for writing. And while of course I appreciate those things too, I wanted to write and thank you for the community you’ve created and the conversations you’ve started.
As an English major, I remember hiding my Maureen Johnson beneath my Hemingway and Faulkner. Liking YA literature, even to read on the weekends, made me somehow less. But I liked the way that YA books could make me think and feel. They illuminated something for me that other books just couldn’t at the time.
I remember getting to be part of the Harry Potter releases. Standing in line at midnight, eating Burtie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, and discussing plot points with those ready-made friends next to me in line. I remember intense discussions about the nature of good and evil as it pertained to a single character, arguments about whether a person’s destiny was predetermined. Those books facilitated a discussion that I didn’t know how to have on my own about the big questions in life.
And the hype around The Fault In Our Stars has recreated this for a new generation. Teens are spending time talking about death and how their lives matter. They are realizing the importance of every day and putting down their phones for a few minutes with friends. They’re discussing and learning and growing.
And for that I thank you. Because discussing the big things is suddenly cool again. Though I am no longer a teen myself, I hear these discussion happening. In movie theaters and Barnes and Noble’s , in coffee shops and libraries. And that’s pretty awesome.