So . . . That John Green Thing

I’ve been thinking a lot about this post for the last week. I hesitate to bore you with a long, personal story, but it’s the only way this can be written.

My apologies.

Last Monday, YA author John Green uploaded a vlog called “8 Things I Love” to his popular YouTube channel. Anna and the French Kiss was one of those things. My brain exploded. It’ll take me a while to get to the why, but if you have the time, here it is:

* * *

I am never good at answering the question, “When did you know you wanted to be a writer?” It’s kind of a toss up between “always,” “my freshman year of college when I switched majors from journalism to creative writing,” and “2007, the year I started writing Anna.” But I’d like to talk about that college answer.

In publishing, there are strong opinions about studying creative writing in a university atmosphere. Some authors think it’s necessary, but I hear many more advise aspiring novelists to do anything BUT study it in school. I fall somewhere in between.

Study it if you want to, but don’t forget why you’re there: You love to read. It gives you pleasure.

My experience in college was . . . okay. Majoring in creative writing taught me two of the most valuable career skills I possess today—being able to accept and work with criticism, and how to read novels with the eyes of a writer (that is, how to break them apart to see how they function). With practice and application, these skills, I believe, have turned me into a published author.

But college also sent me on a detour.

I’d always imagined writing for children. My first favorite author—the first one I recognized as an Author with a capital A—was Roald Dahl, and he sparked my love of voice in storytelling, a flame reignited in high school with the release of the first Harry Potter. At that time, J.K. Rowling had not yet left her mark on the world, and it was still VERY uncool for a teenager to read a children’s book.

But I read it. And I loved it. And I knew then that I wanted to write for children, because children’s books are fun. They give me pleasure.

So I took this idea off to college, where it was promptly trounced. My professors and the other students didn’t understand why I’d waste my time. The implication was that children’s literature was a lesser calling. At first, I laughed it off. Did they really forget that before Moby-Dick comes Charlotte’s Web? But after four years of their disdainful looks and snide asides, I am ashamed to say that I took their words to heart.

Why was I writing for children? Maybe it was a lesser form. I should write something with meaning and depth, something like those serious Best American Short Stories that we studied in class.

Even crazier than letting myself forget that children’s literature contains GREAT meaning and depth (hello, Dumbledore), was the idea that I might want to write a story like those in the Best American series, when I didn’t enjoy reading them. And it confused me. I wrote several serious and dull short stories that remain unfinished and untouched to this day.

So as I made my way through the rest of school, I . . . compromised. I’d secretly been loving Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones series—chick-lit was on the verge of explosion—and I decided that maybe I was supposed to write something fun, but I was supposed to do it for adults. So instead of finishing those short stories, I began to work on an adult chick-lit novel.

(I use the word chick-lit, because everyone knows what it means. Honestly, I don’t find it that insulting—other than the fact that the term “dick-lit” never caught on, because come on, it’s only fair—though I understand and sympathize with people who do.)

Because a friend knew of my love for Bridget and my love for teen movies, my life changed again, late in college, when she convinced me to watch The Princess Diaries. I'd pooh-poohed it, but she insisted. “No. I really think you’ll like it.”

She was wrong. I LOVED IT. So I picked up Meg Cabot’s first novel and, as books always are, it was much, much better than the movie.

Her books became my guilty pleasure. On the train ride home from school, instead of pulling out those Best American anthologies—which, despite everything, I still considered good for me—I pulled out Cabot novel after Cabot novel. Her characters were the first ones who felt like me, even more so than Bridget.

Yet I remained under the impression that writing for children—and for teens—was not my calling.

Fast-forward several years. I’m working as a librarian. I’m also working on that same adult chick-lit novel. It is moving slow, and I am frustrated. I want to be a writer, but I’m beginning to think it won’t happen. Perhaps, if I’m lucky, I might be published when I’ve had more practice, when I’m older.

Like, twenty or thirty years older.

By this point, I had inspected the rest of the YA shelves. I read everything recommended by patrons and coworkers, everything that received a good review, everything that caught my eye. The stories tended to fall into one of two categories, fun or serious, with little to nothing in between. I read both types—and across all genres—voraciously.

But still . . . I kept returning to Meg. Rereading her novels, scouring her blog. And it took a while, but her words finally crept in and replaced the words of my professors and classmates. Meg has an uncanny ability to talk openly about her love of romance, of Star Wars and Buffy, about being confident in yourself and owning up to what YOU like. That there’s worth in love stories, in making people laugh, in writing for entertainment.

(Example: her most recent post about "The Princess Thing.")

With this encouraging voice in my ear, at long last, the “guilty” part of “guilty pleasure” vanished from my vocabulary.

And then one of my favorite library teens handed me An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. It was a new release, and I remembered the starred review. She told me that I HAD to read it. Because I’m of an obsessive nature, I decided to wait on Katherines and start with his first, Looking for Alaska, which had recently won the Printz award for excellence in young adult literature.

To put it simply: Looking for Alaska blew me away.

I zipped and laughed my way through the first part, read with wide and somber eyes through the hard part, and then had my mind exploded on the last two pages. I’d been so distracted by the humor and the characters and the story, that somehow—and I read a lot, so this is difficult to pull off—I didn’t realize he’d been setting me up for that Big Idea the entire time. Ka-POW.

I read Katherines next, of course, and was swept away again. It's even funnier, not quite so dark, but with that same depth and cleverness and spark. I gave it to my husband, and he fell in love with John’s work, too. When Paper Towns was released, I bought it and read it the first day, and the experience was so intense that it paralyzed me. I stopped writing for several days, because I knew I could never create a book that good. That perfect.

And when I say “perfect,” I mean, of course, that the book was perfect for me. It contained everything that I love about reading.

John Green taught me that a novel doesn’t have to be one or the other—fun or serious. That a novel can give both pleasure and have great meaning. That it can fill multiple roles in a reader’s life.

I am not, nor will I ever be, as smart or deep as John. My brain simply isn’t set up that way. But I did take this idea of a book being more than one thing, and I combined it with the ideas that I learned from Meg—that it was okay to admit that my favorite stories were young adult novels with kissing and humor and cute boys, and that reading and writing for pleasure isn’t something lesser or guilty—and I wrote Anna.

Once I had this last piece, my new career happened quickly.

And it's important to mention that John is more than a talented writer. He’s also a role model for an entire community. For the unfamiliar, he and his brother Hank are known as the “vlogbrothers” online, and they’re responsible for the establishment of Nerdfighteria.

The Nerdfighters are a group of self-proclaimed nerds dedicated to fighting world-suck. The community is tens of thousands strong, many teenagers, all doing amazing things such as the Project for Awesome event, which takes over YouTube one day a year to promote videos for charity. This year—just last week—they raised over $100,000.

Regular people. One day. One hundred thousand dollars.

[UPDATE: It was actually over $135,000! Holy moly!]

I wish with all of my heart that this community had existed when I was a teenager, but I am so grateful for its existence today. My husband and I are both proud to call ourselves Nerdfighters. Check out this video or this one and be prepared to call yourself one, too.

And I’m happy to say that the kind, intelligent, hilarious man that you see interacting with the online community is the same kind, intelligent, hilarious man that you meet in person. I wish I could say the same thing about all authors, but I cannot.

But John Green? He’s the real deal.

I met him not long after the release of Let It Snow, when he came to a signing in my hometown. My husband was his usual confident and chatty self as John personalized our books, but I was speechless. He meant so much to me that my voice was actually gone. It wasn’t until we were walking away that I finally sputtered:


John took my words, as he always does, with graciousness and kindness.

(And I did manage to get this picture.)

I met him again the next year at LeakyCon, a Harry Potter conference. I’d just signed with his editor—whom I worshiped, because I worshiped John—a valid reason to speak with him, if any. But I could not. My husband was so frustrated by my inability to approach him that he finally walked over to John, forcing me to follow on his heels and introduce myself.

Again, John’s friendliness was astounding. I have always believed that nice is a vastly underrated quality, and anyone who has had contact with John can understand how remarkable nice people truly are. He has over 400,000 subscribers on YouTube and over a million followers on Twitter. Many people in his situation would not be so kind.

And all of this elaborate rambling is to say that . . .

It is a crazy, mind-blowing, and yes, overwhelming thing to hear someone you admire say that they like your work, too. I never believed that John Green would ever even READ my novel, so the whole ENJOYING part still remains far beyond my comprehension.

Sir, you do me a great honor. I realize that you’re careful about what you say and what you recommend, because you have a lot of people listening.

Thank you. My book would not exist without yours.

And I sincerely hope that the greatest lesson I have learned from you—the lesson that I can apply to all aspects of my life—is not the one about writing a good novel. It’s the one about remembering to be a good person. DFTBA.


  1. Stephanie, what a lovely post and tribute.

    Two thoughts:

    1. You're an equally genuinely nice person. [I know this from personal experience. :)]

    2. I (finally!) picked up ANNA last night and have fallen head over heels in love. You have a fan in me, till death do us part. ;-) Review on le blog coming sooner than later!

  2. Lovely post, Steph. I am so glad you returned to your true love of YA! :) Now I will have to read some John Green...I don't know why I haven't yet - they've been on my list for a while!

  3. Can I leave my John Green testimonial here, too? : ) I remember reading Katherines after I had already started writing for teens and thinking, "Oh. THIS is how you do voice. THIS is how you can write YA and still be funny and tell a good, smart story."

    And again, I echo your sentiments over what a good, genuinely kind, just-as-awesome-as-you'd-hope-he-really-is person he is. He's one of those authors (along with Meg!) that makes me Very Very Proud to Write YA.

    (Also, I thought I couldn't love him any more than I already did until he started talking about your book and then I found out I could, in fact, love him EVEN MORE.)

  4. Stephanie, this post made me cry! I'm not even kidding, I am sitting here crying on my couch! Man, is my husband going to give it to me when he walks out here.

    I totally GET this, because John Green's work does the same thing to me. And, for what it's worth, so does your book. I really can't wait to read more from you.

    Thanks so much for sharing this story. It was awesome. <3

  5. Hi. :) You're awesome. This post is wonderful and fuzzy-warm. And you remind me of me, only a better version, lol.

  6. (Also, I have yet to read John Green -- although he's *definitely* in the TBR pile -- but I picked up ANNA last night and it's the only book I'm bringing home with me for the holidays! :D)

  7. What such a beautiful post, Stephanie! :)

    I have all of John Green books on my wishlist, and am probably going to buy them all as soon as can. But, yours, Anna, is already bought and on its way to me.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  8. This post made me cry! It's such a beautiful tribute and wonderful journey of you becoming an amazing writer!

  9. Even though I'm 17, YA Contemporary is new to me. Like, this past summer new. That said, I place Anna and Paper Towns and Katherines in the same category--the category of YA Contemporary that blows my mind and makes me think.

  10. Oh steph, can I be you when I grow up?!?!?

    This was lovely and made me tear and pumped me up, and...and...

    I heart John and Meg too..and now i heart you!

    BTW, I intend to move to SF so I can spy on Anna and Etienne in college!

  11. What a well thought out and heartfelt post, Stephanie! I had an epiphany when I read Looking for Alaska too. Although mine put me into a funk for about a week because I'll never be as awesome as John....

    Your book is so great and it totally deserves all the praise it's been getting. Keep up the good work. Stories like this give aspiring writers like me hope!

  12. *sniffles* Thank you for sharing this Steph. So happy to watch your amazing journey. I predict many many great things to come and I can't wait to cheer you on as they happen. :)

  13. *sniffle* This is the passion I want to impart to my students for now...maybe a book later! :) John Green is on my TBR pile and I would love to sit down with you and just talk! Love your book and love your joy.

  14. I'm currently reading your novel.

    I would not have read this novel if not for John Green's recommendation. I am glad he did because I'm enjoying it a lot. I admire that man, and its really lovely to know that he changed your life to as he changed mine.

    He inspired you to write, and you, in return, inspires a lot of aspiring writers to write, too. It's a kind of cycle I hope will never break.

    Goodluck on your future endeavors, Steph!


  15. I love your set up, Stephanie. Thanks for sharing that, and congrats on having an admired mentor shout out your book (which is sheer awesomeness, btw).

    LeakyCon. I'm so jealous. And I can't go to LeakyCon11 either. Sometimes life just sucks.

  16. Loved this post. And I felt the same way when John Green was at an SCBWI conference years ago. I had read LOOKING FOR ALASKA, loved it and blogged about it when it won the Printz (he even commented after I said something weird on his blog - oy).


    Anyway, I wanted to say hi to him, but I was so nervous. And as fumbled around, he was just his awesome self.

    So yeah, I can totally relate. :) And I'm really glad John and Meg indirectly helped you write ANNA. Because the world is a whole lot more awesome with you as a YA author, Steph!!!

  17. I <3 you.

    This post rocks.

  18. This was such a lovely blog post, Stephanie! I really hope I get to meet ou some day <3

  19. this is a lovely post.

    and seriously, how could anyone NOT love Anna? I mean, seriously?

    I love hearing the stories of how people found their way to their first real book....

    Happy Christmas!


  20. This post made my heart grow about ten times.

    I literally squeed for you when I saw that video! And then, of course, I read Anna. And it was LOVELY.

    DFTBA and Nerdfighteria forever <3

  21. I am really glad you post your college experience with a major in creative writing. I am a teenager hoping to become an author and have been looking at colleges (actually on a college trip right now). I have heard a wide range of advice about having a creative writing major from people who never experienced what that type of major entails, or from people just repeating the advice they had heard. I am glad to have some advice from a someone who has had firsthand experience. This has been very helpful for in my quest for greater knowledge, thanks you so much. P.S. just got your book and can't wait to read it!

  22. It's funny, I think the day that we met up in B&N, Jarrod was re-reading PT, as was I. I love John! But I also feel compelled to tell you that what reading John's books did for you, is what Anna has done for me. I'm more inspired, more driven, more focused to write what I love, which is Contemporary YA. I finished Anna in a coffee shop, and knew that I held a piece of magic, and dream of holding my own work in my hands some day. :) Many hugs, and Merry Christmas!

  23. You are so lovely and inspiring yourself. I'm glad John Green and Meg Cabot inspired you. We would never have Anna without them. :)
    I'm letting all of my friends borrow my copy of Anna, by the way. My fifteen year old neighbor said about your book, "Oh my god, that book was like the highlight of my life." There is no higher praise from her. I can never get my friends to read, but they all love your book.
    Thank you so much for writing such a delectable novel. When I saw the vlogbrother's video I squeeed (is that a word?) to no end. Congratulations and thanks again!

  24. As far as I can remember, PaperTown is the first book to make me laugh. Really laugh. It remains the most funny thing I have ever read. It changed my life. Along with the first Sarah Dessen I read: Just Listen. These books speak to me. A lot.
    And your book took away the first spot for Swooning Read. Funny and Deep. Have a great holiday season!
    PS: Did you notice we have the same name? yeeaa..!

  25. Anonymous6:12 AM GMT-5

    French the llama - this is an awesome post :))))

  26. This was beautiful and I'm so happy it's the first blog I've read today.
    I? Am going to buy a John Green book because I'm already in love, thanks to you.
    Great post. :)

  27. I'm totally a librarian fan girl of John Green (seriously, he's a librarian darling-in a group of YA librarians, they'll gush over him!)

    I love this post and it's seriously awesome. And you are an author that makes me proud to work with YAs!

  28. Thanks so so much for this post! Thanks for saying out loud that there's nothing to be ashamed of in loving and reading and writing YA and romance and pleasurable reads.

    I read this covertly while sitting in my office (where I practice my Very Serious Profession) and dream of finishing revisions on my YA manuscript. I have spent the last 2 years voraciously reading everything YA that I can get my hands on and I haven't even made a dent in my oh-my-god-I-want-read-that list. It totally thrills me that there are so many more amazing things out there to read. I never looked forward to reading Serious Literature as much as I am looking forward to reading these books.

    I stayed up until all hours of the night to finish reading Anna and started re-reading it the moment I was done. I loved it and it inspired me. I have been struggling with the idea of blogging for a long time, but Anna helped my find something to say and just after I read it, I posted my very first blog post.

    Thanks to John Green for showing you how to find your voice.
    Thanks for sharing Anna with us all.
    And thanks for posting this honest, lovely blog.

    Wishing you the happiest of holidays, a wonderful and healthy new year, and a very very successful future writing novels!

    (Maybe that last one was a little selfish because I can't wait to read more from you . . . ) (but it's the thought that counts, right?)

  29. Wow. I need to take a nap after watching that. I thought I talked fast. (Cut to me showing this video to everyone who complains about how fast I talk from here on out and adding "And he's a super amazing fantastical writer, so it's OK to talk schizophrenically!) What an honor. Yeah for you!!! :)

  30. This is such a wonderful anecdote! Thank you for sharing...this was really interesting to read, especially because I'm a freshman in college right now and I'm considering minoring in Creative Writing. My major is Journalism. :)



  31. This is beautiful. How utterly satisfying to be honored by an author so dear to you. ANNA's on my library request list. Off to add KATHERINES.

  32. Stephanie -- I'm so, so glad you wrote this post. First off, it was the opposite of boring. And it made me a little misty-eyed. But it had so much personal meaning for me.

    My journey to writing contemporary YA was a little different from yours, but the two most inspiring authors I've read have been Meg Cabot and John Green. (Like you, I read Meg first, but then discovered John's books and Nerdfighteria.)

    Ask any of my First Novels Club CPs -- I've said for two years now that I aspire for my writing to be like the love child of Meg Cabot and John Green books. As you said -- that perfect mix of kissing, humor, cute boys, depth, cleverness, and spark.

    And reading ANNA, I smiled a huge, cheesy smile, because I knew you achieved that. That I might one day achieve that. And it made me all the happier for you that ANNA has gotten such an incredible and well-deserved response!

    DFTBA, indeed.

  33. If John likes Anna then I'm gonna love it. I already ordered it, but it's gonna arrive in a month.
    You didn't FTBA

  34. This is such a happy post! I'm so glad for you.

  35. All right...let me share something here.

    I'm really glad you pointed me toward John Green. I didn't know him before, checked out his books, and rillyrilly like what I'm reading so far.

    That said, I downloaded three reading samples onto my iPad today. They are John Green's "Looking for Alaska" and "Paper Towns", and your novel. Since I'm limiting myself to a "One Book a Week" rule lest I rack up two hundred bucks on the iBooks store every month, I was going to read all the samples and then buy the book I wanted to continue reading the most, saving the other two for the next few weeks.

    I bought yours first, because it sucked me in just a bit more, and because I couldn't stand being left hanging in the cafeteria on page 18. So don't think for one second you're not in the same league.

  36. This is such a lovely post Stephanie. I really enjoyed reading it, thank you for posting it! I do sometimes feel a little guilty for how much YA I read. I mean I'm an adult, I should be reading War and Peace or something, but YA books are just so fantastic and true and beautiful and funny and. . . :)

    And I must say Anna is a perfect book for me.

  37. WOW, Steph, you just blew me away
    I liked you before but now... God!

    I have never been ashamed of my HUGE love for YA/teen reads,
    but I know A LOT of people who is,
    and another bunch who think is not worth trying.

    I just wish they'd read something by Meg Cabot (yes, THE Queen!; she makes every girl feel powerful),
    or by John Green (who is also awesome and intelligent and cool) and now I can say,

    or something by YOU.

    After reading your book, and a lot of your blog posts I can tell you are
    becoming one of THEM, those authors (like Meg and John) that make us teenagers
    find in the literature world a place to enjoy and to learn from.

  38. Wow. What a great post. Of course, now I must acquire John Green books ASAP because any author you love so much must be amazing. Love what you say about recognizing the worth of books that make you laugh and ones that celebrate love and romance. And that a book doesn't have to be just one thing.

  39. This is pretty seriously awesome! Congratulations!
    - Robyn

  40. What an awesome post—what a thrilling feeling! :-D

  41. You are right. John Green rules. So do you. It's a good club to be in.

    Check out will greyson, will greyson which he co-wrote with David Levithan. It is also hilarious and mind-boggling in its awesomeness.

  42. Aww, this is a fantastic post. It's so great to hear about your journey and amazing how so many things have come full circle for you. Freaky cool!

    And ANNA is awesome!! You have a big 'ol career ahead of you!

  43. Oh, Seph! This post makes me ridiculously happy!

    John 'I am Beyond Epic' Green is not only an amazing writer, but a man of fine taste.

    You are made of win. DFTBA.

  44. Awesome post featuring John Green! I learned about Anna and the French kiss for the first time in that video, and I couldn't resist buying it about two days later.

    Anyway I just wanted to say that I was pretty skeptical at first (despite the John Green recommendation, which of course is not to be taken lightly), but it blew me away and I absolutely loved it.

    I even wrote a review of it, which if you care to read it is: http://rainydayreads.blogspot.com/2010/12/anna-and-french-kiss.html

    So yes, thank you for brightening my day with this book. I cant wait to read anything else you write. :)

    Finally, I would say DFTBA, but you clearly haven't forgotten to be awesome so instead I tip my hat to you and say good day.

  45. What a lovely post. I'm a huge John Green myself--for his books and beyond. But I also wanted to comment on the connection you felt to his work and how it changed yours. I had a similar experience reading Ellen Hopkins' CRANK--I didn't know books could be made that way and it set my writing free. My debut verse novel pubs in October. Thanks for sharing your story. It's beautiful (as is your book!).

  46. Long live Nerdfighteria! And French Kisses, and French Llamas!

  47. omg Steph I love this post because it shows how much you're "like the rest of us "commonfolk", a.k.a. unpublished writers"

    I would completely go crazy if, say,
    Maria V. Snyder or Alice Hoffman touted my book one day. You made it happen, so I'll keep dreaming and visualizing and working my butt off!!!

  48. It says right there on your blog, "lets be friends." I couldn't agree more.
    I'm Jeff, you've been to dinner with my mother in Payou, and talk to my wife in bed at all hours of the night... Nice to meet you

  49. STEPHANIE!!!!! That is the most super-awesome thing! I teared up (for you) reading this post, then John's video!!! Wow!! "Sweetness and funny and awesome"!! "like if Maureen Johnson and I had a baby, a french baby"!!!! That is so amazingly cool I don't know how your head didn't explode for real! : ) I am really glad that it didn't though! (So, I am ashamed to admit that I haven't gotten to read Anna just yet, but I shall remedy that as soon as possible.)
    I first became aware of John Green last year at the Indiana Library Federation Conference where he was a keynote speaker......probably the BEST keynote speaker I have ever heard.....this year's was pretty bad.....That was about the time I subscribed to the vlogbrothers' youtube channel. Awesome! These guys are great! You I found through Laini Taylor.....also Awesome! I am SO thankful for the internet right now!!!!!! I am going to have to stop now......LOVE YOU STEPHANIE! Never stop writing for entertainment! Ok, one more story.....I almost always read books for kids and or teens.....because I love STORIES and great storytelling. : ) Thank you for sharing this story with us. You are Sweetness and Funny and Awesome!!!!

  50. ...you forgot to mention that your book was linked in the doobleydoo.....that's pretty awesome too!

  51. Um, that Hot Rod Magazine guy meant to say "Paris" not "Payou!" And he - ahem, my husband - was writing because I was texting you late last night while I was reading in bed! Yes, this is what happens, kids, when someone you love posts blog comments late at night from your phone. The spouse has to translate them in the morning!

  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

  53. well i guess i need to read some john green & some meg cabot because i LOOOOOOOOOOOVED anna & the french kiss!!! i need a new word for love, because it doesn't even do it justice.

    besides harry potter & twilight, i don't think i've read a YA book since i was a YA- many moons ago. but i'm a francophile of the first order, so of course the title of your book and its dust jacket got my attention. i read it straight through, stopping only to sleep. stupid sleep!

    i have never read a book before that truly captured what it feels like to be a teenager. WOW. i can't remember ever caring this much about characters before. i refuse to believe anna & st. clair aren't real. they are real to me, thanks to you stephanie perkins. you are such a unique, creative, singular talent! thank you thank you thank you for anna & the french kiss- can't wait to read more more more!!!

    ps/your book has inspired me to update my long neglected blog too. so thanks for that also!

  54. Yea! I discovered this book from that video! I love your writing. When I hear you were writing more, my brain exploded, party on! I finished the book so quickly though, I wish you would or could write more about Anna and Etienne! But alas with all good books, they have to end somewhere. And just thinking about Anna and Étienne’s ongoing romance makes me squeel! Maybe, (and I'll pray,) that you may have glimpses of their relationship in your next two novels. I just want to congratulate you on being such a wonderful person and author. And thank you for writing an awesome book!!!

  55. Just discovered you through John Green. Have given you a shout out in my blogg.

    Shall pick up a copy of your novel asap.

  56. That might have been the best video I've ever seen! :D
    Still desperately trying to get Anna. So far I have been unsuccessful :(

  57. I think you just made my John Green Love Gland grow 10x larger.

    When I finished his story in LET IT SNOW - which I did on Christmas day - I was inspired. His books encourage my love for and fascination with words. They ASTOUND me.

    Because as you said, they're not just one thing. They're bunches of them, and they mix together and create something beautiful.

    I am so glad that he enjoyed your book. I am so glad that he's helped get the word out because people NEED to read it. ANNA is a fabulous and enjoyable and, like John's books, makes me want to write.


    P.S. This comment is probably terrible, but I'm too lazy to read through it.

    P.S.S. I'm afraid that if I ever met him, there wouldn't be someone there to shove me in the shoulder and make me speak! I'm nervous just thinking about it.

  58. This is a fabulous post. I wish I had read it sooner (e.g., the day it was posted), because it is truly inspiring. I also majored in creative writing when I was in college. My focus was on poetry, not fiction, but I took creative fiction classes. And you said something in your post that really sums up my thoughts about those classes now: why would you want to write the types of stories they made you read when you didn't enjoy reading them? To be fair, I loved my instructors and the people in my classes, and I did enjoy some of the things we read, but the fiction I had to write was never the fiction I wanted to write. I was frustrated more often than not when I couldn't get my short stories to work no matter how many times I revised them. I realize now that they probably never worked because I didn't enjoy writing them.

    I'm currently writing a YA novel, and it is hard, but I am loving every minute of it--more than I ever loved writing short stories for creative writing classes. After reading this post, I feel even better about my decision to read and write YA fiction. So for that, I have to say thank you. I love it when the authors of my favorite books (I adore Anna and the French Kiss; it has had a huge impact in my life in so many ways) is not only an amazing writer, but an amazing person overall.

  59. I would just like to say that when I read this post it was the first time I had ever read your blog, or even really heard of you (no offense!).
    I instantly went out and bought a copy of Anna.
    I'm a high school student (senior), so it automatically appealed to me (not to mention that I one day hope to publish my own YA novel). I've stayed up (skimping a little on homework, yes) to about around midnight (late hour for me when I have to be up by 6) for 2 nights reading Anna. I've just finished it now, and let me tell you that I never wanted to put it down, and those nights I stayed up I constantly told myself I'd 'go to bed after this chapter.'(I never did)
    Your book is absolutely amazing and wonderful and everything I've ever searched for in YA! It's not just fluff: Anna had substance and a reality about her and it was just...amazing. I could relate in so many ways, I was practically inside her head and I found myself traveling through the whole book with her. I wasn't bored for a second.
    AND THEN THIS POST! It reminds me so much of myself, too, and what I want to become. I always feel a little ashamed of loving YA, knowing my teachers disprove (though I did write an English essay on the merit of Libba Bray's YA novels and how they should be considered 'literature'), and, ohmygosh, I love it when authors give me so much hope like this! Like you have!
    And especially now after reading Anna, I have faith in myself that maybe one day I can do the same thing you've done. I sure hope so at least!

    Thank you so much for becoming an author and writing Anna and having this blog up and for just generally being awesome! You are an absolutely inspiring author and person! :)

    PS-sorry for typos! Always happens to me...

  60. Love, love, love. I loved the book Anna and the French Kiss and LOVED this post too! It actually brought tears to my eyes to hear your story. Thanks for sharing, and I am so glad Meg Cabot and John Green's books got you to realize that YA (and chidren's) lit is a great place to be.
    -fellow librarian

  61. Anna and the French Kiss is one of my favorite books. Ever.

  62. As a recovering creative writing major, thank you for this. If I flipping hate New Yorker short stories, why write them? I'mma write what I wanna, and I'm gonna do it now.

  63. So, I know I'm late to this post, but I just had to say how amazing it was and how encouraging. I'm working on my MA in English and my passion is children's/teen lit and I get a lot of poohpooh comments or reactions. These people are just missing out. Thanks for your book and your blog and your spirit that shines through everything you do :)

  64. I am one of those adults who love teen novels! I am a nerfighter too. And I got your book, based on what John Green said about it. I just read Anna yesterday and I absolutely la la la LOVED it! I hope I never forget how it made me feel. DFTBA.

  65. As a teacher, I've been reading YA off and on for 25 years, but I had the same experience with Looking for Alaska that you did. It made me realize what YA could be. It turned reading YA from a job into a passion. I love that John Green had such an impact on you. I gave at least 5 copies of Alaska away to adults as gifts that year. This year, I'm gifting Lola and Anna! You are fabulous. We will wait for Isla; no worries. Do what you need to do for yourself, and we'll be here when she's ready.

  66. This is why I love going through blog archives... you never know when you'll find a gem like this. What a great vlog! And I'm so happy for your success!
    I look forward to meeting John Green this Friday (January 2012)! Though I know I'll be just as silent as you were LOL :)

  67. Anonymous7:06 PM GMT-5

    Olá, não sei se há possibilidades de você traduzir essa mensagem, mas quero escrever mesmo assim, quero tentar uma resposta, ficaria muito contente! Eu amo "Anna e o beijo francês", eu amo, eu amo muito! Seria de imenso prazer de pudesse escrever uma continuação, te peço com muito carinho, escreva uma continuação, ou então lhe imploro por um filme!

    Hi Stephanie Perkins, I love "Anna and the french kiss" so much!!! Please, write a continuation or a movie, please please please!!!! It's one my favorite book! I'm a brazilian fan

  68. Olá, não sei se há possibilidades de você traduzir essa mensagem, mas quero escrever mesmo assim, quero tentar uma resposta, ficaria muito contente! Eu amo "Anna e o beijo francês", eu amo, eu amo muito! Seria de imenso prazer de pudesse escrever uma continuação, te peço com muito carinho, escreva uma continuação, ou então lhe imploro por um filme!

    Hi Stephanie Perkins, I love "Anna and the french kiss" so much!!! Please, write a continuation or a movie, please please please!!!! It's my favorite book! I'm a brazilian fan

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