I Fell In Love the Way You Fall Asleep: Slowly, and Then All At Once

Creator: John Green (John Michael Green), American author, vlogger, and educator.

Context: John Green’s 2012 novel “The Fault in Our Stars” tells the story of two star-crossed lovers: Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters. The couple agree to read each other’s favorite novels. While Waters is reading to Lancaster from her chosen book she experiences a realization: 1

As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.

In 2014 Green participated in a Question & Answer session via Reddit, and he was asked about the memorable statement: 2

Question: The line about falling in love is like falling asleep.. “slowly, then all at once”.. Why do I feel like I’ve heard it before..? More importantly- What inspired it? It’s a great line.

Reply from John Green: There’s a similarish line from Hemingway: “How did you go bankrupt?” “Two ways: Gradually, then suddenly.” So maybe there? That was my initial inspiration for the line.

Related Article: “How Did You Go Bankrupt?” “Two Ways. Gradually and Then Suddenly.”

Acknowledgement: Thanks to Jesse Sheidlower who remarked on the connection between this quotation and the words of Hemingway. Sheidlower also pointed to John’s Green’s acknowledgement of Hemingway.

Image Notes: Lovers with star background by 5187396 at Pixabay.


  1. 2012, The Fault in Our Stars, Quote Page 125, Dutton Books: An Imprint of Penguin Group USA, New York. (Google Books Preview)
  2. Website: Reddit, Reddit Group: r/IAmA, Title: Iam John Green, bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars and co-creator of Crash Course and Vlogbrothers. AMA!, Questions and Responses Topic for: John Green, Date on website: May 29, 2014, Website description: Discussion forum; “The front page of the internet”. (Accessed reddit.com on August 8, 2018) link