Looking for Alaska by John Green
Release date: Dec 2006
Place on Hold
Synopsis: "Before: Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the”Great Perhaps” (Francois Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.
After: Nothing is ever the same.”
Review: Just like everything John Green writes, there is a romance at the center of the plot of this book, as well as lots of illegal stuff. Also just like everything John Green writes, I was hooked on this book and could not stop reading it. However, I had a rough time keeping track of time in this book due to the way it was set up. I did not like how the novel was sectioned into passages separated by the headings of how many days before or after “the incident” it was, with no other narrative-said indications of time passing. It also slightly bothered me how the characters were sometimes called by nicknames and sometimes their real, though entirely different, names. It made it hard for me to keep track of who was who, even with the fairly small cast of main characters.
I also had a huge problem with how much this book reminded me of both “Paper Towns” and “The Fault in Our Stars”. “Looking For Alaska” was like a combination of those two other John Green books. This book made me wonder why cigarettes play major roles in a lot of John Green’s books (i.e. “The Fault in Our Stars”), and also why he does so much writing about death (this time not just “The Fault in Our Stars”, but also “Paper Towns”). On the positive side, this book ends more definitively then some of Green’s other novels, and happier than others as well. I enjoyed the feeling of closure I got from the end of this book, compared to the usual feeling of emptiness I got from the endings of other John Green novels I have read.
I originally started reading this book because it was required summer reading material for my school. I had not wanted to previously read it, because I had just read “The Fault in Our Stars” and was done with reading John Green for a while. I would recommend this book to people who like to read April Henry books, or any other realistic fiction. If you do not like books that are sad, have deaths in them, and center around the idea of death, you should not read this book. But although death is a depressing subject, and sometimes a touchy one to talk about given differing religious beliefs, John Green comes up with some very thoughtful and deep comments about death in this novel. I have thought about death differently since finishing it.