The Definitive Reading Order of John Green's Novels

Posted by Rachel Scott on

Hello, fellow Chasers. Have you wondered where all your friends have gone lately? Do they seem completely hollowed out? Are they bent over with their hands on their knees? Are they staring through branches on trees or up at the starry sky and crying softly? If that’s the case, then your friends have gone into the “Green House.” This is not a pleasant place full of delightful plants. This is a hole of suffering that one enters once one has finished a John Green novel; specifically, the current trauma has been caused by Turtles All the Way Down. If you have not read his work, don’t worry, you will! It is inevitable. John Green is a modern-day siren. His call is so beautiful, but you know you will suffer greatly and be dashed upon the rocks if you follow it. It doesn’t matter. You’ll do it anyway. If you’re looking to take that first step towards the edge of the boat, we’re here with the definitive reading order of John Green’s novels.

order of John Green’s novels1. An Abundance of Katherines

You have to ease yourself in, like someone stepping into a hot bath, or someone about to embark upon a literary journey of infinite tears. This book is great! It’s funny! It’s quippy! There are joke footnotes that are about math! It’s practically a cross between a TedxTalk and any rom-com starring Hugh Grant. Everything is beautiful and nothing hurts in this happy little novel about a dorky boy who dates an endless series of women named Katherine. You will trust John Green. He’s a good man. He would never hurt you.

2. Looking for Alaska

Now that you’ve eased yourself into the bath it’s time to fill it with boiling hot magma. Everything hurts! You won’t be prepared! You could have never been prepared! That gaping hole in your chest will be your first taste of the “Green House.” This book about the misadventures of private boarding school students will betray you. How could this happen, you might cry out. Aren’t these supposed to be books for young adults?! But you’re wrong. As John famously said to Stephen Colbert, “a young adult novel is a regular novel that people actually read.” And you will read it, indeed.

order of John Green’s novels3. Paper Towns

This book is only a buffer in the order of John Green’s novels between what we will refer to as Books of Endless Weeping – Alaska, and the book that will follow this one, The Fault in Our Stars. You need this buffer. It doesn’t need you. After surviving Alaska, stumble your way through this eccentric and quirky novel about a Manic Pixie Dream Girl and the awkward boy who has a crush on her. You will spend your entire experience full of so much anxiety after the betrayal of trust that occurred in Alaska that it’s entirely possible you won’t enjoy the novel at all. When you finish, dumbfounded, read it again. This novel is infinitely better once you already know the ending, and you can be left considering if the worst thing that occurs is that a bunch of kids screw over their parents by skipping their own high school graduation. Then, prepare your body for…

4. The Fault in Our Stars

You’re not ready. Accept this as fact, and move on. It doesn’t even matter if, because of the movie adaptation, you already know everything that happens. You might have even seen the movie. None of that matters. Augustus Waters might be on a rollercoaster that only goes up but you are most certainly on an emotional one that only goes down, at about a thousand miles per hour. Heed the advice of your friends at Page Chaser, and every other breathing human who has read this book: don’t read it in public. No one is safe. Once you’ve crawled out of the “Green House” after this one, you have two options. If you need a little more time to heal, check out Will Grayson, Will Grayson. It’s a novel John Green wrote with David Levithan, another well-known YA author, and it might help ease the shaking in your hands. If you already feel strong, then prepare to be made totally weak by…

order of John Green’s novels5. Turtles All the Way Down, the latest from John Green

Is this an adorable children’s book about turtles going down a slide? Nope, it’s the story of one young woman and her battle against semi-crippling anxiety and obsessive tendencies. If you think she’s the only character that’s going to rip your heart out and stomp on it, don’t worry, you’re wrong! Experience the wonder of a novel in which practically every character will have you clutching at your chest. What’s the worst part? Is it the shocking passages that ring so true you know they must have been experienced in real life? Or is it that you read his complete collection despite knowing it would completely break your heart? Either way, once you’ve finished Turtles, you can curl up in the “Green House” for a while. Maybe check out Let It Snow if you need a happy romance to recover. If we’re (un)lucky, we’ll have another six years to prepare ourselves before our next emotional thrashing. Now, if you'd like to stay on the Green Train, but don't feel John-specific, you check out Hank Green's A Truly Remarkable Thing coming out September 25th and available for pre-order now.

So what do you think of our order of John Green’s novels? Agree or disagree? Have you seen our Stephen King book list? Let us know your order, so we can battle it out below, on Facebook, or in the DMs of our Instagram.

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