(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.
The way that John Green writes really flows and that makes for an easy read. The plot is well planned and the pace is good. The only flaw, in my judgement anyway, is that the characters maybe aren't as believable as I would like. Definitely worth your time.
It's good, it's great, but it is quite self-indulgent (even for a YA book) and I think the second half could really have been better. For a debut novel though, it is very good and I think it should be read by teenagers as it deals with various issues they often face.
Wow! Really good! Here's "Pudge" trying to reinvent himself, goes to a new school and bam! his whole life is changes thanks to Alaska Young! The "Before and After" were great! Reminded me of "Catcher in the Rye"
Here comes one of those books that you just can’t talk about without giving away a big ol’ spoiler. John Green’s “Looking for Alaska” revolves around a spoiler, so if you haven’t read it and don’t want to know what happens, stop reading! If you’ve read the book, or if you are okay with finding out what happens, have at this blog post!
What struck me most about “Looking for Alaska” is Alaska herself. One of my favorite experiences when reading a book is when an author makes you fall in love with a character, and I fell in loooooooove with Alaska. With each Smoking Hole, Strawberry Hill, Blue Citrus interaction you get with her, you just fall deeper and deeper in love with the girl, and you can understand why no guy would stand a chance if they were ever in her presence.
So of course all of our hearts break when Alaska dies in a mysterious car accident. Here is where Green continues to demonstrate his amazing writing skills in that he accurately portrays the mixed emotions one can go through when experiencing the death of a loved one. Obviously there’s grief, especially for Miles, the main character of the story. In Alaska’s special circumstance, there is the suspicion that her death was a suicide, prompting Miles’s anger at what he perceives as selfishness on Alaska’s part. Miles in particular has a hard time reconciling his anger and his grief, and Green brilliantly portrays that you don’t have to have one at the expense of another. Death is a complicated matter, suicide is even more complicated, and there is no all-encompassing answer that can make the loss of a friend an easy process to go through. Green, however, provides a text that may help teenagers get through this process if they sadly have to go through it themselves. Regardless of whether or not a reader of “Looking for Alaska” has lost a loved one, they will certainly connect with Green’s characters and their attempts to make their lives as meaningful as possible.
Amazing characters, whether protagonists, antagonists, major, or minor.
Realistic characters that readers can relate to.
A touching read that deals with an emotional and difficult subject.
*I would like to keep this review spoiler-free, but I highly doubt that will happen as it reached me in a very emotional place that deserves to be talked about. Read with caution or consider yourself warned.*
Looking For Alaska is the first book that has ever made me immediately look forward to rereading it upon turning the last page. My grandmother recently died and though she’d lived a long life, it’s the first death in my life that’s ever reached into my very soul and twisted it all up. For that reason, I believe I connected more with the melancholy in Looking For Alaska which leads me to believe a reread sometime in the future will open up the story even more for me.
I love Pudge. He’s not the type of boy I ever would have liked in that way, but I love him all the same. I love the way he’s okay with living in invisibility and the way he grows to not be okay with it anymore. I love how awkward and sincere and so incredibly real he is. I love how he actually has a brain and uses it to drink or smoke when he wants but to also to it down when he doesn’t. I love how he actually grieves. He doesn’t just mourn for a few days and commence the moving on. He gets angry and he gets sad. He gets annoyed and he gets nostalgic. Ultimately, he learns.
I’m going to be quite honest here and say that I really didn’t like Alaska. I hated the way she tried so hard to be an enigma. I hated that she seemed to refuse to deal with the grief and depression that seemed to be living inside her. I hated the way she led on poor Pudge. I did, in fact, love the way that Pudge was honest enough with himself to admit that she annoyed the crap out of him at times.
The Nusthell: Looking For Alaska is the story of a boy’s attempt at finding out what may wait for him outside his box. It’s also a story of grief and loss and drinking and first everythings. Despite the short length of this story, it’s likely to make you feel an entire gauntlet of emotions from happiness and laughter to sadness and possibly tears.
Oh. My. Freaking. Gosh! John Green did it again! His first book, for me the last, is a masterpiece! Looking for Alaska belongs on my shelves, between my most-loved books. I never want to return it to the library. Ever. So, first of all, John Green - write more books. Please. For me? Otherwise ... ... *scary glare* Looking for Alaska was not my favorite John Green book, that will, and will always remain to be, the Fault in our Stars. I absolutely LOVE that book. Make sure to read it!
Looking for Alaska is a typical John Green book. It is a) realistic, b) full of words I have to look up in my dictionary, c) is enormously sad, and d) I can talk about it for hours, and I will... Especially d) -well, only d)- really annoys my friends and family. I will go rambling about this book for hours and they just have to listen. I think most of them have developed a mental mute mode with which they can switch the sound of my voice on and off... Actually it would be great if a thing like that existed :)
The characters were so wonderful. Miles, the main male character, was so a-dore-able. I totally want to hug him at the moment. His obsession with last words is one that is amazing and so original. Maybe I should pay more attention to them, too. :) And Alaska is so 101% messed up I just had to love her. I mean, you can choose your own name, and you choose Alaska, that told me a lot about her character already! Then there was Chip, the genius annex rebel and Miles' roommate. The three of them formed an amazing group of friends. I wish I knew them, and could be their fourth(/fifth) messed up friend!
John Green is the master of character development. This book had one major turning point, not very hard to locate because of the before-after writing style, which was pretty unique, just like the whole book was a one-of-a-kind book. Miles changed só much, but Green still made the whole transition look realistic. He totally deserves a medal for that! A big fat gold with diamonds medal!
The plot, however, was the best thing about this book. Never have I ever read a book with a plot as well thought-through and perfect as Looking for Alaska's. Everything worked out, every word sucked me deeper into the story and the lives of Miles, Alaska and Chip, and I loved everything about it! Most of the times I'm like - bwhlegg another college/high school story. But this one was indescribably good, incredibly close to perfection. The Before--After writing style was perfect for this book. It made the story easier to read, and made me interested. What was going to happen?!?! When I had found out I wished I could turn back the time. Oh my, I cried. I cried buckets full of tears. Like the girl in Absolutely - nine days. I quote: "this is the story of a girl, that cried a river and drowned the whole world" That song has been stuck in my head for days. Then there was the Great Perhaps and it made me think so much, about the labyrinth of suffering and all of it.
Anyways, what usually bothers me about John Green's books, his use of extremely difficult words, was no problem with this book. Miles was a kind of genius, and so were -most of- the other characters, so I could imagine them really speaking like that.
I've heard that people in America have to read this book in class. Lucky bastards! I wish I were reading such amazing books in class, but the only book I have had to read in class was Romeo and Juliet...
I will never be able to give this book a rating worth it. It should get the highest number possible +1 out of 5!
This was my first John Green book I ever read. I read it on a vacation, and I always wanted to get back to the vehicle so I could start reading again. It's startlingly beautiful. I want a Miles! This group of friends he finds at school are some of the coolest people I have ever read about! I even started googling people last words after I finished the book. Weird.
Gripping and utterly realistic. It will stay with me for a long time.
When I finally opened this book, I didn't know what to expect. I was blown away. There wasn't a moment when I wasn't giving Looking for Alaska my full, undivided attention.
Attending Culver Creek was the best thing to happen to Miles. He was living an uneventful shell of a high school life. When meeting Alaska, the Colonel, Takumi, and Lara he transformed into a person willing to take risks and mess up. It was great seeing him grow into himself like that.
Alaska and Miles had strange and wonderful chemistry. Alaska had a boyfriend in college but honestly I don't think that affected her and Miles much. She was acting bipolar and crazy most of the time, and Miles half-hated her. This made for the one of the most complex relationships I've encountered because the other half of him loved her more.
Alaska was a troubled soul. Still, she is an imprint left on every reader in some way, I think. For me, I got a closer look at what makes people the way they are and learned that every moment can mean a lifetime.
A Fun And Insightful Voice For Love, Life and Pranks
"How will I ever get out of this labyrinth" - Simon Bolivar
Miles Halter, John Green's protagonist in Looking For Alaska, is fascinated by famous and obscure last words and tired of his safe life at home. So, as he leaves for boarding school at Culver Creek to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps", he finds himself centered in a didactic and enlightening world of discovery, deep friendships and meditations on love, life and human frailty.
As Mr. Green presents his novel in two parts, the author is able to subvert the light aura of romanticism of the first section with a significantly stunning shift into more somber and introspective naturalism in part two. Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another with a sublime balance of humor, danger, sentimentality and existential crisis.