Best-selling Author John Green Reimburses Student for Unknowingly Using Her Quote In His Book Without Attribution

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A woman who grew up here is getting her due and a little less harassment after author John Green publicly resolved the mystery of a misattributed quote.

Melody Truong posted the quote on her Tumblr page when she was 13 years old: “I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met.” Someone attributed the phrase to Green, a New York Times bestselling author known most recently for his book The Fault in our Stars.

Truong, a 2014 Appleton East High School grad and student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, originally used the line in a poem.

“I was 13 at the time, about to begin high school, and was trying to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life,” Truong said in an e-mail to the Post-Crescent. “I know that now, looking back, it was an absurdly early time to be stressing out about such things.”

She was born in Long Beach, Calif., but her family moved to Appleton, where she grew up. She felt out of place when she wrote the now-famous words.

“There were a lot of times when I would think about this future place/city that I would be able to call home and be able to love and flourish in. I also had extreme wanderlust and still am very fascinated by the world and its cultures and people,” she said.

Green’s company DFTBA (the abbreviation for ‘Don’t Forget to be Awesome’) recently started selling a poster with the quote.

“That’s when I felt like I should maybe speak up about the situation,” Truong said.

DFTBA rectified the error by paying Truong royalties for the poster — those sold in the past or from now on. The company is also selling a piece of Truong’s artwork, for which she will receive all the royalties.

People harassed Truong online about the quote, but she said the angry messages decreased after Green explained the mix-up on YouTube.

In the video posted yesterday, Green said people attributed the quote to his book Paper Towns.

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SOURCE: The Appleton (Wis.) Post-Crescent
Jen Zettel

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