Festival of Books: John Green fans line up for hours to see YA author

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You could say that John Green fans are excited about hearing the author of "The Fault in Our Stars" talk.

Two hours before his Saturday panel was set to begin at the L.A. Times Festival of Books, more than 20 fans had already lined up in front of the door to Bovard Auditorium for the sold-out session set to begin at 12:30 p.m.

Event volunteers said fans were waiting even before attendees for an earlier panel about Cesar Chavez at the same building.

Minal Patel was one of them.

“They told me I couldn’t stand in line because there was a panel for Cesar Chavez,” said the 23-year-old who drove from San Diego this morning at 6 a.m. to attend the session.

“So I stood at that lamp post,” she said, pointing to a spot next to the auditorium where she waited for volunteers to give her the green light to be first in line for the panel.

“I think he’s attracted younger population to have serious thoughts,” she said. “Specifically with ‘Fault,’ he’s been able to reach a population who haven’t had experiences like that.”

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"The Fault in Our Stars" tells the story of two teenagers with cancer who fall in love.

“Through the characters' viewpoint it’s like ‘This is who I am, this is me, but I don’t need your sympathy… I can have a relationship even though I have limitations,'" said Patel, who works in the medical field and has worked with Camp Kesem, an organization that helps children dealing with a parent’s cancer.

Tessa Katch, 22, of Thousand Oaks came to the festival with her 16-year-old sister and three friends. The bag she carried, filled with John Green books for the author to sign, could almost count as another person.

“We just really want to get good seats to see him and hear him talk,” said Katch, who was second in line. “I love everything he says. He’s very authentic and speaks to a younger generation without sounding condescending.”

And an added bonus: “Everything he says is funny.”

Katch, who runs a social media account for the upcoming movie based on Green’s latest book, said she had never met him… until Friday night.

“We kind of snuck in” to the awards ceremony, she said.

At the ceremony, the author signed a cast on her sister’s arm. And while waiting in line for Green’s panel Saturday morning, author Laurie Halse Anderson walked by and signed her copy of "The Impossible Knife of Memory."

“It’s worth it,” Katch said.

Patel put it another way.

“I won’t stand in lines for celebrities, but I will stand in line for book authors,” she said. 

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