Monday, April 23, 2012
Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green
Reading Level: Young Adult
Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.
Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another. A stunning debut, it marks John Green's arrival as an important new voice in contemporary fiction.
Before Looking for Alaska I had never picked up any of John Green's books. I had heard about them but they just didn't seem like my kind of books. Then The Fault In Our Stars came out and everyone was raving about it and talking about how amazing his other books were so I thought what the heck everyone is probably right. For the record yes they were.
This story is told in two parts 'Before' and 'After' so that's how I'm going to write this review.
Before: The protagonist is a teenage boy named Miles who is obsessed with last words. He's tired of his boring life so he decides to move to the bording school his dad went to. When he does he meets a whole cast of crazy characters including the mysterious Alaska Young. Everything changes from there. They start calling him Pudge and he is thrust into this scene of drinking, smoking, pranks and just plain rule breaking. It was a little hard to get used to at first but once I did I knew that this story couldn't be told any other way. He starts having feelings for Alaska but he's very conflicted about it because she has a boyfriend and she's very hot and cold and hard to figure out sometimes. But that's the point you're not supposed to figure her out and I actually really liked that about her. I loved all Pudge's friends in this book. The Colonel was probably my favorite he was absolutely hilarious and Takumi was great too. Foxhat ;).
After: So around the middle of this book something huge happens. I'm not going to say what because it was spoiled for me and it took that surprised feeling away from me. Anyways in the after part of the book the characters are hurting and trying to heal and move on but they can't because they don't know what really happened. So I felt like the second half was almost like a mystery you were trying to figure out why this thing happened and I liked how it never really gave you all the answers. I can't decide which half I liked better.
One thing I noticed about this was book was how unflinchingly honest it was. I mean their teenagers and this is how some of them actually act. So that's why I hate seeing people trying to ban it. Yes, there is some adult stuff in this book but there's stuff like that everywhere and banning this book isn't going to change it. In the end I really loved this book it wasn't what I normally read but it was still amazing. I think every once in a while everyone needs to read a book that makes you think. I plan on reading all of John Greens other books sometime in the near future.