John Green has built an empire on YA literature. Luckily for us, it’s a benevolent empire that has also given rise to one of the largest educational channels on Youtube, the largest annual conference for digital content creators, and a charity campaign that raises millions of dollars every year for childcare in impoverished nations. If you can’t tell by his list of accomplishments, John Green has a big heart.
His writing shows it.
A typical John Green novel features nerdy teenage characters who speak in dialogue John Green refuses to dumb down; quirky pop culture, history, and science references; and the idea that there is beauty in being human, even if humans are mortal and flawed. If you want a funny, life-affirming read with a dose of teenage angst, John Green is for you!
Our three-part guide to John Green novels will help you choose your next read. First, we’ve listed the top John Green novels according to their ratings on Goodreads. Second, we’ve organized his books by publication date. Finally, we’ve got a synopsis and a quick “read this if…” suggestion for each of his novels. Basically, we’ve given you a nerdy info dump that John Green himself would approve of. You take it from here. Happy reading!
What are the Best John Green Books: The Top 7 Rated
Winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Young Adult Fiction in 2012, John Green has received tens of thousands of reviews for each of his novels. This is the ranking of Green’s books, from best to worst, according to his readers:
- 4.14: The Fault in Our Stars
- 3.97: Looking for Alaska
- 3.89: Turtles All the Way Down
- 3.89: The Anthropocene Reviewed
- 3.72: Paper Towns
- 3.71: Will Grayson, Will Grayson
- 3.52: An Abundance of Katherines
In What Order Should I Read John Green Books?
Despite a schedule packed with Youtube video and podcast production, John Green has released a novel every few years since the early 2000s. Green’s writing has matured a lot over time, so we recommend starting with his most recent work. Then, if you’re feeling nostalgic, you can follow Green’s novels back through time to the early 2000s!
For fiction, try:
- Turtles All the Way Down, 2017
- The Fault in Our Stars, 2012
- Will Grayson, Will Grayson, 2010
- Paper Towns, 2008
- An Abundance of Katherines, 2006
- Looking for Alaska, 2005
For non-fiction, try:
- The Anthropocene Reviewed, 2021
If you want more John Green, you may also enjoy the movie adaptations of The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns.
All John Green Books, Ranked
- Published: 2012
- Rating: 4.14
Hazel’s time on Earth is limited. With a grave cancer diagnosis and an oxygen tank on wheels, she knows she’s unlikely to shake up the world. She’d rather stay at home binging on ice cream and America’s Next Top Model. Then comes Augustus. A smooth-talking cancer survivor, Augustus casts a shimmer of hope over Hazel’s world, but that hope flickers when a diagnosis takes a sudden turn for the worse.
The Fault in Our Stars is a poignant love story, best read with a box of Kleenex nearby. In TFIOS, Green gives us carefully balanced characters. You will easily recognize Hazel and Augustus as average mid-2000s teenagers, yet John Green pulls the unexpected wisdom, wit, and strength of teenagers to the surface of the story. Through them, TFIOS becomes an affirmation of the beauty in an average life.
- Published: 2005
- Rating: 3.97
Miles “Pudge” Halter has been searching for meaning for years. He’s focused his search on the last words of famous dead people, but when Miles transfers to Culver Creek Boarding School, he expands his search to the words of his classmates, who are all very much alive. Soon Miles begins to idolize the beautiful, chain-smoking Alaska Young, but when her self-destructive habits spiral out of control, she takes all the lessons Miles thinks he has learned down with her.
Looking for Alaska is a picture of teen rebellion painted with a soft, empathetic brush. Although Green has populated his novel with damaged and occasionally destructive characters, he insists on finding their redemptive qualities. If you like stories of close-knit friend groups with a dangerous edge, Looking for Alaska is the book for you.
- Published: 2017
- Rating: 3.89
Aza has been living with anxiety and OCD for as long as she can remember. Her thought spirals rarely lead to anything good, but when Aza’s best friend Daisy begs her to join forces and go after the cash reward for locating a fugitive billionaire, Aza hopes her obsessive tendencies might find a good use: detective work. Instead, Aza’s thoughts begin looping around the billionaire’s charming son, Davis. As relationships tangle, Aza’s mental health worsens. She fears she is too difficult for anyone to love.
If you want more representation of mental health conditions in your literature, Turtles All the Way Down should be on your reading list! Since publishing the novel, Green has been open about his own experience with depression, anxiety, and OCD. It’s clear that the novel is written with a deep understanding of the mechanics and emotional impact of thought spirals.
- Published: 2021
- Rating: 3.89
What do velociraptors, scratch ‘n’ sniff stickers, and the Lascaux cave paintings have in common? They’re all icons of the anthropocene, a geological age shaped by humans, and they’re all focal points in John Green’s meditation on what it means to be human.
If you’re new to non-fiction, have no fear. The Anthropocene Reviewed is still 100% John Green. A work of open-hearted introspection packed with quirky historical details, The Anthropocene Reviewed will help you continue loving humanity in an age when human greed and destruction overwhelm headlines.
- Published: 2008
- Rating: 3.72
When Margo Roth Spiegelman slips into Quentin’s window dressed as a ninja, he immediately signs up to assist her with a series of nocturnal pranks against a town so boring, it’s almost a crime. All pranks completed, Quentin returns to bed and dreams of the new life he has just begun with Margo, but when he wakes, Margo has gone missing.
Part road trip comedy, part manifesto of teen angst, Paper Towns is perfect for YA readers who enjoy enigmatic heroines. The novel asks readers to consider how they project their emotions onto others, sometimes hiding the truth about the people we love.
- Published: 2010
- Rating: 3.71
Will Grayson 1 is a straight high school kid whose natural inclination to fly under the radar is constantly baffled by the presence of his best friend, Tiny Cooper, linebacker and musical theater star. Will Grayson 2 is a gay high school kid whose depression keeps him from fully living life, even when he would like to paint the town rainbow. When the two Will Graysons meet one rainy night on a Chicago corner, their lives become entangled in a singular mission: help Tiny write the best high school musical ever.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a creative collaboration between John Green and David Levithan, and both voices carry distinctly through the novel! If you’re interested in novels with multiple POVs that tell the same story from different angles, you’ll be hooked by the two very different Will Graysons created by this duo of award-winning authors.
- Published: 2006
- Rated: 3.52
Everyone has a type. Colin Singleton’s type is instantly recognizable. He only ever falls for girls named Katherine. Unfortunately, girls named Katherine show little interest in former child trivia champions like Colin. To date, he has been passed over by exactly nineteen Katherines, and he is beginning to think he’s discovered a statistical anomaly. When Colin takes to the road with his best friend to flesh out his “theorem of Katherine predictability,” he discovers a world wider than math or romantic history can predict.
Green’s earliest and lightest novel, An Abundance of Katherines is pure romantic comedy designed to steal the hearts of nerdy teens. If you want to find out what John Green is all about but aren’t ready for the heavy topics in The Fault in Our Stars and Turtles All the Way Down, this novel is the one for you!
Go Deep With More Authors
If you love going deep into the backlist with authors, check out some of our other complete author lists:
- Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books.
- Colleen Hoover’s books, which also includes series order.
- Jodi Picoult’s books (there are so many!)
- Neil Gaiman books– all of his long form fiction from middle grade through adult.
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