The John Green Effect: Guess the Comparison


With power comes great responsibility, or, in the case of John Green’s fame, the inevitable comparison titles. Comp titles are nothing new in the world of publishing. Every new up and coming author, and sometimes even authors who have been around for years on the midlist, are bound to receive some comparison to attract interest. In the case of John Green, if a young adult title is in any way realistic, possesses a quirky hero or heroine, is written by a man, or apparently has a cancer storyline, it will inevitably be compared in its marketing materials to John Green.

Being compared to John Green has its benefits. It can be argued that Rainbow Rowell soared to stardom in the YA community thanks to John Green’s championing. Attach his name to your book and maybe it has a bigger chance of succeeding. Attach a quote from John Green to your book and it could become a bestseller and make a career.

It got me thinking. How much does attaching John Green’s name to a novel tell you about that novel, and do comparison authors really even give you much knowledge? Does it affect you when you go to a store and think, “Oh, look, apparently some marketer in a far off office thinks this book is something I’d like if I like John Green”?

So here is a little game. Guess the title of the book, all from the last year or upcoming in 2014, all from American publishers, and see if you can guess what book it’s talking about. I’ve included one quote FROM John Green about another title for kicks. In the comments, let me know if you’ve read any of these books and if they are even anything like John Green’s work. Ive read one and trust me – nothing like the comparison pitch. The answers are below.

1.) John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park in this beautifully written, incredibly honest, and emotionally poignant novel.
2.) A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell
3.) The Fault in Our Stars meets Sarah Dessen in this lyrical novel about a girl with cancer who creates a take-no-prisoners bucket list that sets off a war at school—only to discover she’s gone into remission.
4.) … is a witty and heart-wrenching teen novel that will appeal to fans of books by John Green and Ned Vizzini, novels such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and classics like The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye.
5.) “Thrilling, beautiful, and blisteringly smart…utterly unforgettable.” – John Green
6.) For fans of Sarah Dessen and John Green, [Book Title] is a breathtaking debut about a couple who falls in love . . . twice.
7.) Perfect for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell… equal parts comedy and coming of age – a whip-smart, big-hearted, laugh-out-loud love story about sisters, friends, and what it means to love at all.
8.) … an achingly real and profoundly moving love story in the vein of Rainbow Rowell and John Green…
9.) … will appeal to fans of John Green, Chris Crutcher, and Jay Asher.
10.) From the novelist being compared to RJ Palacio and John Green.
11.) … In this incandescent page-turner, which follows in the tradition of The Fault in Our Stars
Do you know anyone BESIDES John Green – any my mother the hippie – who talk like this? Is John Green human? Look for my future expose on- Haha, fooled you. I just wanted an image here. It’s distracting. Plus, John Green GIF apparently gets a lot of hits from Google. JOHN GREEN GIF. Okay. Source: Rebloggy




1.) Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
2.) I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
3.) Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
4.) The Beginning of Everything by Robin Schneider
5.) We Were Liars by e. lockhart
6.) How to Love by Katie Cotugno
7.) Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan
8.) Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff
9.) The Paradox of Vertical Flight by Emil Ostrovski
10.) Dead Ends by Erin Lange
11.) Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor


  1. I didn’t guess any of them. Even though I have spent hours staring at the cover of Love and Other Foreign Words. And I don’t think that We Were Liars was “blisteringly smart,” whatever that implies. I loved the book and it was horrifying but not that. NOT. These quotes could provide for a Creative Lit class on variations of a sentence. 😛 I personally do not care for comparisons; the few times I have trolled through the first few pages, reading two lines of author reviews, it was to find new authors. That’s how I found Tamora Pierce!!! My favorite of the lot is:

    “…fans of books by John Green and Ned Vizzini, novels such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and classics like The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye.”

    • In defense of the John Green blurb on We Were Liars, the two have been friends for years and used to write together when John lived in New York. That whole little group of authors (included Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, David Levithan, Maureen Johnson, and Scott Westerfeld) have been buddies since at least 2006, before John Green was huge. John Green and E Lockhard won their first Printz medals around the same time, too. So it’s no surprise that he has a blurb on her book, and I don’t think the intention of that blurb is to imply that the book is like his own.

      Overall, though, I had noted that John Green has exploded in the past two years (and I thought he was a big deal BEFORE TFioS, little did I know….!) and I get annoyed by the new books trying to market themselves on that comparison. Especially this year, it’s just overwhelming!


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