John Green may have written a Catcher In the Rye for the 21st century. But unlike the protagonist in Salinger’s book, the teenage heroes in Green’s modern-day cult classic, The Fault Is In Our Stars, aren’t navel-gazing whiners. They have real concerns (terminal cancer) and still find ways to be legitimately hopeful. (To give you a sense of the novel’s tone, the Norwegian translation is titled “Fuck Fate.”)
Stars is so good it’s sold a gazillion copies—as of this writing, it’s been on the Times best-seller list for 124 consecutive weeks—and spawned a film adaptation, which opened this summer and made superhero movie money ($48 million just on its opening weekend). And Green is just getting warmed up. He’s got a legion of fans, who call themselves “Nerdfighters”, ready to buy whatever he writes next. He also hosts a wildly popular YouTube channel (vlogbrothers), and runs an annual online video conference (VidCon), now in its fifth year and already a trend-setting phenomenon. Not bad for a guy who was such an underperformer in high school, his parents gave him a trophy inscribed “All-Star in Our Hearts.” Just goes to prove, be nice to that teenage nerd; he may end up taking over the world tomorrow.
FIT FACT: Green personally signed the entire first print run of The Fault Is In Our Stars—all 150,000 copies—which took him almost three months and required physical therapy for him to recover. (He ended up with an elbow condition called ulnar nerve entrapment.) Call it the author’s equivalent of curling. Who knows how many calories he burned, but do anything 150,000 times and you’re building some serious muscle.