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.
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.
Looking For Alaska, by John Green, makes you think about your life in a different way. It shows that sometimes you have to branch out from your normal routine, and take a leap into the unknown to truly live you life. The main character, Miles (also known as Pudge), journeys to a boarding school in search of his Great Perhaps, and there he makes new friends Chip the Colonel Martin and Alaska Young. Miles soon falls in love with Alaska, whose unbridled spirit and strange mood swings leave Miles constantly trying to unravel her mystery. His friends open him up to new experiences and different ways of thinking, and show that people can change you, for better or worse, but their lessons stick with you forever.
There are two parts to this book, labeled before and after, where before you learn about Miles and get a feel for the characters and plot, and after Miles seems to change as he tries to solve a mystery with his friends.I liked this book a lot, although the second part drags along a bit. John Greens style of writing is unique, and he has other books out that were good as well, like Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherines.
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.
- Gripping plot
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!
Looking for Alaska is a great novel. The teenage angst and insecurities are perfectly pitched. The boarding school setting is a common one nowadays, but it really felt like a part of the story instead of a plot device to get the characters away from parental supervision. There is the issue of whether or not the sex scene is inappropriate. It is an awkward, embarrassing encounter. Very realistic and nothing to be concerned about, in my opinion. There's been worse in YA literature. Anyway, Looking for Alaska is a great book, a great introduction to the writing of the full of awesome John Green!
LOOKING FOR ALASKA has got to be one of the finest books I've read this year. 16-year-old Miles Halter, memorizer of famous people's last words, has never fit in at his Florida high school. He attends his father's alma mater, Culver Creek boarding school in Alabama, in search of Rabelais' "Great Perhaps." For the first time in his life, he makes an extremely close group of friends: the Colonel, who makes up in brains what he lacks in height; Takumi, the Japanese non-computer whiz; Lara, his sort-of crush/girlfriend/friend; and Alaska, the ineffable character.
To Miles, Alaska enbodies the Great Perhaps: she is hot AND smart, a master prankster and infamous bookworm. But Alaska's tortured by her childhood, and Miles (nicknamed "Pudge" by his friends for being so darn skinny) has trouble keeping up with her extreme mood swings. But when tragedy strikes Culver Creek, Miles and his friends must learn how to handle grief and find their way out of the labyrinth of suffering.
John Green made a brilliant debut with this smartly written book. The language is compelling to teens because everyone can relate to it. I couldn't help but wish I were friends with this amazing group of people. There IS a lot of profanity and sexual references, if that bothers you. But I felt that it lent itself to the story nicely. LOOKING FOR ALASKA should definitely be on every teenager's must-read list.
When I first read the inside flap of Looking for Alaska, I was a bit confused because it didn't really make any sense. That didn't stop me from continue reading the book because I heard it was awesome.
And it was.
Nothing short of awesomeness.
Okay, so I didn't enjoy the language or some of the things they did, but I truly enjoyed it. The main character--totally spaced on his name--was very relateable. However, I can only wish to have such exciting, charismatic friends like Colonel and especially Alaska. Plus, the pranks were totally awesome!
The climax of the book hit me like a raging bus. I was in shock. I should have picked up the clues, but...However, I felt pain when it happened.
John Green wrote a spectacular book--that's all I can say before I spoil anything.
Miles Halter is fascinated with last words, he seeks the Great Perhaps (from one of his favorite last quotes) and he knows he will need a change of scenery to find it. He heads off to boarding school and meets Chip, an arrogant and fun guy who introduces him to Alaska Young. Alaska is nothing like the girls Miles has met (though he hasn't had much experience with girls. She is infamous at the boarding school for being wild and care-free, or so she seems. She has something to hide and she too is obsessed with quotes, she seeks to escape the labyrinth and everyone is shocked by how she does it. Half the book is about Miles' experiences at boarding school and the other half is about Miles and his new crew trying to figure out the mystery of their lives.