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.