Review Detail

4.7 41
Young Adult Fiction 12914
"We Can Never Be Irreparably Broken"
Overall rating
Writing Style
(SPOILERS) John Green's novel, Looking for Alaska, follows a year in the life of high school junior, Miles Halter, a painfully average Floridian with a morbid preoccupation with the last words of historical figures who begged his parents to enroll him in Culver Creek boarding school. Miles starts a new life in hopes of finding Francois Rabelais's "The Great Perhaps." At school, he rooms with a prankster of a roommate, the Colonel, and the sassy, witty, self-destructive Alaska Young. In the span of 128 days, Miles learns life lessons in love, loyalty, friendship, literature, and poetry. When Alaska’s tragic death strikes Culver Creek, Miles is forced to ask himself “How do you get out of the labyrinth of suffering?”. This required him to take an even closer examination of his own character and relationship with his friends as well as come to terms with a hard-to-swallow truth.

After the tragedy that hit Marysville, this book held more of a significance to me. This was the first time I had ever experienced death as something more than just a story. What Looking for Alaska does so well is that it immerses you in their story, almost forcing you to feel every moment of pain, happiness, and anger the characters go through. The novel portrayed teenagers as they really are. They drank, smoked, cursed frequently, and had sex. Each had their own dark secrets and flawed pasts. Pudge was socially awkward, and had a hard time making friends. Takumi had lost his grandmother. The Colonel's father was an alcoholic, and his mother was poor. Alaska let her mother die. The friends all had extremely different pasts, but they all suffered in some way.

After countless days (if you wanted to, I guess you could really count the days) of investigating Alaska’s death, you are faced with this unresolvable ambiguity. The question “Why did this person I love die?” cannot be answered by reading her diaries or retracing her journeys. There aren’t enough clues. There is no suicide note or a complete trail to follow. The gang soon discovers that “The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive,” it doesn't resort to a cop out of a "happily ever after" ending, but instead, the characters each seek closure on their own terms.

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