Looking for Alaska Looking for Alaska discussion


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Is John Green repetitive?

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Tara I loved Looking for Alaska and The Fault in our Stars, I really did. I really didn't like either Paper Towns OR an Abundance of Katherines. Interestingly enough however, the order I liked them was also the order that I read them. By the time I got through Paper Towns I felt like I was reading a new book with the same characters doing almost the same thing. I felt like they were so repetitive. I really did love the first two. Looking for Alaska is in my top ten books but still, eventually I got bored of them. Am I the only one who felt they were repetitive?


Adéla Martererová I feel absolutely the same! First I read The Fault in our Stars, which I didn't like so much, then Looking for Alaska (love it!!) and then, about a month ago, I read Paper Towns and it bored me a little, it was really similar to the two books I've read from John Green, but I still like it anyway. Hope his books are not all same.. :/


Melissa I love John Green both for his writing and his nerdfighter efforts, but I completely agree that most if not all of his books revolve around characters with suspiciously similar personalities. All of the characters are a little too quirky, imho.


Isaac Jourden Most writers are. Even universally loved authors like Neil Gaiman explore essentially the same themes book after book.

It's a pretty rare author who isn't guilty of their books seeming similar after awhile.


Mark A. I would have to agree. The characters and stories all develop in a similar method.


Leann I agree with this. I don't think The Fault in Our Stars follows his other books, but Paper Towns, Looking for Alaska, and An Abundance of Katherines definitelyhave similar characters. I always saw the girls as the same. The fun nature of Alaska and Margo... the crazy adventures taken by the guy and the girl (Alaska and Pudge crazy drinkingm smoking, and prank adventures, along with Q's and Margo's going to the top of a skyscraper in the middle of the night).
Similarities like that, nothing big. I think it's fairly common for this to happen among writers, and I don't judge it all. I actually kind of love it when I have a particular affection for a character because I can see them live on in other stories.


Emma Tara wrote: "I loved Looking for Alaska and The Fault in our Stars, I really did. I really didn't like either Paper Towns OR an Abundance of Katherines. Interestingly enough however, the order I liked them was ..."

YES! THANK YOU!

Every character is the exact same. The main character will always be really smart, skinny, into poetry, no personality (except for Hazel, but I think it's because she's a girl). Q was the same as Pudge, Colin and Will.

There's always a) this and b) that.

And his writing style doesn't change. At all.

I found this very disappointing. I LOVED TFIOS and I liked LFA, but I could not stand PT or AAOK. I also loved Will Grayson but that's because every chapter we get a break from John Green's writing, which can get veeeeery boring after a while.

Thank you for realizing this.


Emma Oh yeah, and they all live in Florida. ALL. OF. THEM.


Emma Isaac wrote: "Most writers are. Even universally loved authors like Neil Gaiman explore essentially the same themes book after book.

It's a pretty rare author who isn't guilty of their books seeming similar a..."


This is true. Like James Dashner, author of The Maze Runner. I LOVE that series, so I went and read his new series the eye of minds. The main character and the main girl character were too similar to Thomas and Teresa, and the writing style was exactly the same.

And because of that, I found it hard to enjoy.


Ellaine Mae yep I think so too. In a good way though. He makes sense.


message 11: by Leah (new) - rated it 1 star

Leah Mensch Before I read this book, I read papertowns and I LOVED it. I guess I loved it less when I realized aspects of looking for Alaska were carbon copies


Julianna Grossman YES. All his books are the same! Personally, I think The Fault in Our Stars was his most popular book because it was something different from what he's written before.


Sarah I think arguing that a book isnt good because 'his writing style doesnt change' is a little stupid. If you look at any great 20th century writer, all their writing is the same through out each novel. Hemingway for instance, EVERY one of his books he makes his sentences long and speaks of 'truth'. Charles Dickens too! Heck even Dr.Suess has the same style. When writers find their style, they stick to it. You may not like that style but its their thing. You wouldnt call Hemingway, Stein, or Wilde 'weak' because all their work has the same writing style, so you shouldnt do that with John Green. I understand not liking a specific book because I didnt not like Looking for Alaska, but not liking it because 'his style is the same, the wording is the same' is ignorant.


Sarah Emma wrote: "Oh yeah, and they all live in Florida. ALL. OF. THEM."

no they dont, have you read The Fault in Our Stars? thats in Indiana...


message 15: by N. Sekar (last edited Jan 28, 2015 11:39PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

N. Sekar L. I haven't read all of his books, but I really felt that Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns are similar. I even said in my review that Paper Towns could simply be renamed Looking for Margo Roth Spiegelman. Like, "paper towns" in Paper Towns is the equivalent of "the labyrinth" in Looking for Alaska. I still liked both books, though.


message 16: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Sarah wrote: "Emma wrote: "Oh yeah, and they all live in Florida. ALL. OF. THEM."

no they dont, have you read The Fault in Our Stars? thats in Indiana..."


Yeah, exactly. It like, since LFA John Green has written the same book another 2 times (PT, AAOK) and then put his token main character into the stories of Will Grayson and Let it Snow, and then all of a sudden he's created this new and improved character Hazel. Is it because for once, she is not him?


OneFootInHellAlready I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson and loved it.
I have personal issues with TFIOS
but hate Looking for Alaska. *Shudders*

I haven't touched another one of his books due to my inconsistent feelings.


message 18: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma OneFootInHellAlready wrote: "I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson and loved it.
I have personal issues with TFIOS
but hate Looking for Alaska. *Shudders*

I haven't touched another one of his books due to my inconsistent feelings."


I wouldn't bother.


Aleksa I've read all of his books and I must agree with Emma on this one. I mean they are not that bad or anything they are just kinda repetitive and have similar characters but it's not that much of a problem if you actually like them.
Looking for Alaska is one of my favorite books and it's the first book of his that I read, and I also liked Will Grayson, Will Grayson but the rest of the books, like Paper Towns, feel like they have no point I guess.


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

I don't think his books are bad, but I'd definitely agree that they're repetitive. All of his characters are similar to the point where they're the EXACT SAME PEOPLE in different (yet still similar!) scenarios.

This isn't anything against John Green. I'm very impressed with the work he has done for Nerdfighteria, but I'm not the biggest fan of his books.


message 21: by Tara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tara Sarah wrote: "I think arguing that a book isnt good because 'his writing style doesnt change' is a little stupid. If you look at any great 20th century writer, all their writing is the same through out each nove..."

Sarah, I by no means meant to indicate that John Green is a "weak" writer. His writing style is fantastic in my opinion. I agree that every author has a specific style and that they tend to stick to that style. It works for them.
That is not my issue with John Green. In my opinion, and like many others have touched on, it's the storyline that I feel is repetitive. For Whom the Bell Tolls has a completely different storyline and "feel" to it than The Old Man and the Sea. But they are both Hemingway. Same with Dr. Seuss and all the other authors you mentioned.


Kelsey N. Sekar wrote: "I haven't read all of his books, but I really felt that Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns are similar. I even said in my review that Paper Towns could simply be renamed Looking for Margo Roth Spie..."

After I read Paper Towns, I felt that it paled in comparison to Looking for Alaska. Looking for Alaska made me feel, question, and underline a lot. Paper Towns not so much. But while I do think his characters hold similar characteristics, I liked Q more than Miles if I remember right, but I liked Alaska more than Margo and I think John Green intended it that way. Margo was a character who was aware of the harm she was doing yet she was doing it. Her mom was mostly right about her (albeit horrible about it). Alaska was a character who was most of the time joking and could almost never be taken seriously.

So while I think that yes, the characteristics are typically similar and the characters "feel" the same, there are differences that really do matter.


Andrea Tomé I feel like everybody likes the 1st and 2nd John Green books they read but after the 3rd they become bored!
This has totally been my case. I liked TFiOS and I loved Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Then I thought Alaska was simply okay, disappointing, but okay. Then An abundance of Katherines was a wreck.
I'll probably read Paper Towns because everybody keeps saying it is so good and because I'm really looking forward seeing the movie (Nat Wolff and Cara Delevigne? I am so intrigued!), but I know I won't do it anytime soon. I'm just tired of this pattern of quirky, ackward, nerdy boy instantly falls in love/becomes obsessed with a 2 dimensional hot, quirky, nerdy girl. In TFiOS we have a female main character, but the situation is the same: the super intelligent and funny Hazel Grace finds her star-crossed lover Augustus Waters, who has no depth whatsoever and who is so hot and so hilarious and so smart and so quirky and so everything.


manasa k I liked tfios at first but now i cant stand it for a whole lot of reasons. I really liked will grayson, will grayson, and paper towns was okay I guess, better than tfios at any rate. The rest of his books were basically just the same plot and also like none of his characters are ever..... Realistic??


message 25: by A (new) - rated it 5 stars

A Davis I liked a couple of John Green's books and thought the others were okay. While the story lines have their differences they do all seem to be about a love struck guy struggling to get the girl...and eventually getting the girl. But that's okay because a lot of YA readers enjoy that sort of romance. Personally it's not my thing and I preferred the non-romantic elements of his books more.


message 26: by Ray (new)

Ray Andrea wrote: "I feel like everybody likes the 1st and 2nd John Green books they read but after the 3rd they become bored!
This has totally been my case. I liked TFiOS and I loved Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Then..."

Don't! paper towns is HORRIBLE!!!!! All of John green's books are similar. Too similar. It's always about two 'ultra weird' characters and one of them is basically 'awesome' while the other person desperately tries to get his/her attention, only to be separated in the end. Notice also how 'poetic' John green tries to be? I mean it's always just : METAPHOR THIS! And METAPHOR THAT!!!!!!!!! I only read Tfios and paper towns but let me tell you that is definitely more than enough for me. I also read plenty of reviews about his other books (excuse me while I puke) so yeah......


message 27: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Yeah, paper towns is horrible. It's boring, and it's JUST the same as all his other books. I couldn't even finish it.


message 28: by Elaine (last edited Jan 31, 2015 02:21PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Elaine McHale The only John Green books I've read are the Fault in our Stars and Looking for Alaska.The main reason I haven't read more is because I'm constantly being told 'Once you read the Fault in Our Stars,all the other John Green books are the same'.I am hoping to read Paper Towns because of the new movie coming out and maybe Will Grayson,Will Grayson just to see if this repetitive rumour is true.
I really only read TFIOS because it was trending widely at the time and it was not bad but I preferred Looking for Alaska (I read it in a day).
I suppose because he is a teenage-romance novelist his plots are not very varied but I do feel a slight repetitive edge to his writing what with the whole 'teenagers falling in love then dying' plot.


Andrea Tomé Ray wrote: "Andrea wrote: "I feel like everybody likes the 1st and 2nd John Green books they read but after the 3rd they become bored!
This has totally been my case. I liked TFiOS and I loved Will Grayson, Wil..."

OMG then maybe I'll wait til I see the movie and ONLY if seeing the movie was this super amazing experience I'll try and read the book, LOL.
I tend to like metaphors, but Green's tire and bore me as well. The cigarette thing? OMG it was pathetic. Not only inaccurate, because the dangerous chemicals and poisons of the cigarette do in fact harm you only by putting "the thing that does the killing" in your mouth, it also was embarrassing. And the scene on the plane? Pretentious metaphor or not, you can't put cigarrettes in your mouth in a freaking plane, period


manasa k Elaine wrote: "The only John Green books I've read are the Fault in our Stars and Looking for Alaska.The main reason I haven't read more is because I'm constantly being told 'Once you read the Fault in Our Stars,..."

Paper towns isn't worth it tbh, but will grayson will grayson is actually a great book. It's the book that stands out most for me from everything he's written even more so than TFIOS.


Aleksa Manasa wrote: "Elaine wrote: "The only John Green books I've read are the Fault in our Stars and Looking for Alaska.The main reason I haven't read more is because I'm constantly being told 'Once you read the Faul..."
Couldn't agree more.


Kerri I just finished Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I definitely think it was different from the other stuff he's written [maybe because of having a co-author?], and did really enjoy it--it definitely kept me guessing in a way his other books didn't.

Like others above, I enjoyed Looking for Alaska, I LOVED The Fault in Our Stars [but maybe because I was around for the buildup on YouTube, or also maybe because of the fact that he did master the character of Hazel], but I couldn't get beyond page 20 or so of either Paper Towns or An Abundance of Katherines after reading Alaska.

Glad I'm not the only one who feels this way!


Andrea Tomé Kerri wrote: "I just finished Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I definitely think it was different from the other stuff he's written [maybe because of having a co-author?], and did really enjoy it--it definitely kept..."

David Levithan is a GREAT author, so I think he kind of "saved" Will Grayson, Will Grayson (at least I enjoyed his parts- the one with the lower cases- more than John's)


Kerri Andrea - Agree--I think! I do think he also got the more interesting of the will graysons to portray!


message 35: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Andrea wrote: "Kerri wrote: "I just finished Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I definitely think it was different from the other stuff he's written [maybe because of having a co-author?], and did really enjoy it--it d..."

Kerri wrote: "Andrea - Agree--I think! I do think he also got the more interesting of the will graysons to portray!"

I actually liked John's Will better. The other one got really annoying after a while. I'm sorry, but there's only so much gay depressed kid I can take.


message 36: by Veronica (new) - added it

Veronica Totally agree! I read all of his books since they are really easy to read, and I can't say I enjoyed them, nor that I didn't. It was like reading the same story all over again, only different names..


Karolina M am i the only one who loves his books and doesn't mind he's repetitive? paper towns is my personal favorite, which apparently not a lot of people agree with :)


Andrea Tomé Emma wrote: "Andrea wrote: "Kerri wrote: "I just finished Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I definitely think it was different from the other stuff he's written [maybe because of having a co-author?], and did really..."

He certainly was whiny and emo-ish, but John's Will was way too flat for me :/
I preferred David's annoying kid (whose interaction with Tiny Cooper was sweet and epic!)


Ryann I feel like some of the stories are a tad repetitive. The ones that come to mind are Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska I felt that they were so similar I liked both but found looking for alaska to be much better. I have yet to read Will Grayson,Will Grayson but I heard it was much different


Ryann Andrea wrote: "I feel like everybody likes the 1st and 2nd John Green books they read but after the 3rd they become bored!
This has totally been my case. I liked TFiOS and I loved Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Then..."


I TOTALLY AGREE! although I thought paper towns was definitely his worst book yet


message 41: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma @Andrea I think the reason I liked John Greens Will better was because of how he was being treated by Tiny. He was ignored a lot and as soon as the other Will showed up it was like Tiny had just found a new Will, and I felt sorry for him because we all know what it's like to be ditched by our friends for someone else.


Warda this book was great, not my favourite though. But I couldn't help but notice how this book was so similar to The fault in our stars even though this book came back waaaaay before than tfios


Martina Sullivan I've just finished reading Paper Towns and I liked it, but I have to say I'm a little disappointed. Maybe it's because i loved LFA and TFIOS, but to be honest I also felt like PT is waaay too similar to LFA, but the latter was better. The story and the characters are almost the same, so it got a bit boring eventually. So now I'm wondering if I should even bother to read AAOK or Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Are they worth the time?


Neretxu Alvarez Well i gotta say that I allso think that these books are repetitive but I havent got tired of them. Every book was similar but the story was different in the most of the parts. John Green´s books keep being as good as ever.


message 45: by Jack (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jack O'Rourke I'm way, way past my own YA era, but I've always been interested in the YA coming-of-age genre. Perhaps it is because of the vulnerability of protagonists at that age. Some of the boarding school classics starred in my early reading. I suppose because one wonders how he might react to suddenly find himself distant from the familiarity of a 'safe' family, and suddenly in unfamiliar, difficult settings. LFA didn't have hugely stressful situations, other than potential expulsions from school now and then, but I thought the suspense set up early on by Green over what made Alaska such a cryptic and volatile girl was stretched out way too long. Also, though teens in my neighborhood drank more than I could keep up with, the kids at Culver Creek did an amazing amount of boozing, and yet kept up with the classics curriculum? And the amount of smoking would gag you. Hey, I read it through and thought Green wrote well enough, and it had its high points, too. I recently posted a review on my bookshelf.


message 46: by Faby (new) - rated it 5 stars

Faby Well I agree that he repeats topics, like I said in my last review, but I wouldn't say he writes the same boooks, like some say in here. I don't agree at all with a lot of people here (I stopped reading answers in the middle 'cause they were repetitive). I don't think TFIOS is the most unique or sthg like that since it also talks about oblivion, same as in AAOK. But each book is unique, each metaphor in each book is unique an has its own different essence. the labyrinth is about suffering and being trapped, the cigarette is about how we can't chose what happens in our life but how it's going to affect us, the paper towns were about not being authentic, the theorem was about how we can work all our lives for something and the someday realize it wasn't what we really wanted.


N. Sekar L. Faby wrote: "Well I agree that he repeats topics, like I said in my last review, but I wouldn't say he writes the same boooks, like some say in here. I don't agree at all with a lot of people here (I stopped re..."

EXACTLY! But, even though each metaphor has their own "philosophy" I still felt that Green uses same formula in his books. It's not that he writes the same books, it's just that he uses the same formula, if it makes any sense.


Georgia Thomas Yes. I love his book but yes he is. There is always a guy who falls for a girl who is way out of his league and she is all mysterious and stuff. Well, at least in LfA and Paper Towns.


Georgia Thomas *books


message 50: by lily (new) - rated it 4 stars

lily Yes, he is. I read "Let it Snow" and I was SO disappointed in Green's story. I wanted to scream,"This is "Looking For Alaska" and EVERY other book you wrote with different characters in the winter time at Christmas! Uggg! Write something new and DIFFERENT!".
Yes, I loved TFIOS and "Looking for Alaska", BUT, it bugs me that he repeats the same concept in lots of his books.
Overall, Green's a cool guy, but he needs to change it up a bit!


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