What kind of question would you like answered?

Q: Why won’t you answer questions about what happens after the book? You answer so many questions about why Gus and Hazel did specific things or how they felt. Isn’t this a double standard?

I answer textual questions and occasionally questions about intent. I cannot answer a question about something I intentionally left ambiguous, because I intentionally left it ambiguous, and to answer the question would be to undo the thing that I spent ten years trying to do, which I don’t want to do.

I adore you guys. I really do. And I admire your perseverance. But it will never happen. In fact, the more you ask, the less inclined I am to talk about it, because it only further confirms if I ever offered an answer to that question, my voice would be privileged over the voices of other readers, which I don’t want.

Q: I don’t understand the purpose of actively avoiding the question about Hazel’s ending and whether she dies.

I just don’t have an answer. It’s like asking me to answer the question, “When is asehiuhqwebhjfgiuzdfbuasjdfnsdf?” The question does not make any sense to me. I do not have an answer for it.

I will never answer it, just like I don’t answer any other questions that ask questions pertaining to matters outside the text of any of my novels.

I admire the thousands of you who have asked these questions in thousands of different ways (currently 6754 unanswered messages in the inbox, of which more than half seem to be about this).

But I do not have an answer.

Q: Hypothetically, if you didn’t write TFIOS, what would you think of Hazel? Does she live, and for how long?

Jesus Christ, guys. I DO NOT HAVE AN ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION.

But boy, you sure have found a lot of ways to ask it. ;)

Q: Do you miss Hazel’s world? Do you never lie awake at night creating more situations?

Honestly, no. That book was my problem for many, many years. I am really, truly, entirely glad that it is your problem now.

Q: Deep down, do you have a sense of when Hazel dies? Do you picture her inevitably dying young or living to be older?

No.

It’s not my book. It’s your book. I don’t make decisions about things that happen outside the text of the book; I can’t read something that isn’t there any more than you can.

Anyway, there is no definitive way to end it or any other book. No story is ever over, because every human life ripples into every other one, and there is no way to end a story definitively and the search for a definitive end is (imho) the wrong search.

Q: After you wrote the book, however much time has passed, do you think back and wish you could write more, or that you could somehow create more of their world?

I never wish I could go back and write more, no. I spent a long, long time trying to write the book that became The Fault in Our Stars and to be completely honest with you, I am entirely happy that the story is no longer my problem and is now your problem.

Q: Any really good TFIOS fanfiction?

There’s some great fan fiction about Isaac meeting a girl at a movie theater.

Q: Do you think that imagining our own ending to your stories, through fanfiction, is bad?

No no no I love fanfiction and I love it when people imagine worlds outside of the text for the characters. I just think that if I do it, then my opinion will be privileged over other opinions, and people will be like, “Well but John Green said that Isaac miraculously recovered his sight and became a ballet dancer, so that is what happened.” I don’t want to close off the reading experience in that way.

Q: Who won America’s Next Top Model?

I love you guys so much for continuing to believe, despite my repeated protestations to the contrary, that I can tell you what happens outside the text of the book.

I can’t! I’m sorry! I’m Peter Van Houten! I can’t do it! I have no idea! I have no idea what happens to Isaac or Hazel or Gus’s parents or who wins America’s Next Top Model or whether the Dutch Tulip Man was God and if so whether He is benevolent. I promise you: I DON’T KNOW.

I have access to the exact same text that you do. I do not have access to any information outside of that text, because then it would just be me speculating about what might happen, and my speculations are no more valuable or authoritative than anyone else’s. Books belong to their readers! Own it! Make it yours!

Q: What happens to Peter Van Houten?

I don’t know what happens to anyone outside the text of the novel. I have access to the exact same text that you do, and any speculation on my part about the characters or events outside the text of the novel would be no more informed or authoritative than your speculation.

Q: What happens to Hazel?

I have no idea. I’m different from Peter Van Houten in many important ways, but in this respect (and some others) we are the same: I have access to the exact same text that you do. My thoughts about the world outside of that text are not any more informed or authoritative than yours.

Textually, Hazel is clearly weaker at the end of the novel than she was in Amsterdam, but that’s all you know, and that’s all I know, too.