I hate to be hipster about it, but I was a fan of John Green's books before it was cool. As a nerdy high schooler, I stumbled upon John and Hank Green's YouTube channel, and I quickly became obsessed. I poured through his books (at the time, just Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines had been released), and I eagerly awaited each new novel. Twice, I drove out to events to meet John and Hank while they were on tour. In their videos, I found a world where being who you were was a cause for celebration. As any teen or former teen knows, that is truly a special feeling.
The Green brothers spoke to me so much as a teenager (and now as an adult) because they don't underestimate young people. That's a large part of why John Green's writing is so great; his teenage characters aren't limited in the way that they think. They talk about death and love and life in the fullest way possible. That feeling of discovering some profound truth about the world is something that we can all connect to.
That quality is what makes Green's books so inspiring. His characters look straight into the abyss, and they acknowledge the unanswered questions. They experience pain. But despite all of that, they find hope. Both through intellectual exploration and practical experience, these characters show us that even when life seems impossible, there is always a reason to keep going. In celebration of this author, here are 10 inspiring John Green quotes that will make you want to read (or re-read) everything he's ever written:
1. “When adults say, 'Teenagers think they are invincible' with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don't know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”
2. "Maybe there's something you're afraid to say, or someone you're afraid to love, or somewhere you're afraid to go. It's gonna hurt. It's gonna hurt because it matters.”
3. “Francois Rabelais. He was a poet. And his last words were 'I go to seek a Great Perhaps.' That's why I'm going. So I don't have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps.”
4. “What is the point of being alive if you don't at least try to do something remarkable?”
5. “I'm not saying that everything is survivable. Just that everything except the last thing is.”
6. "Scared isn't a good excuse. Scared is the excuse everyone has always used.”
7. “What matters to you defines your mattering.”
8. "Our fearlessness shall be our secret weapon.”
9. "We are as indestructible as we believe ourselves to be.”
10. "Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”
Images: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons; Giphy (10)