Book: Looking For Alaska, John Green,
Release Date: December 26th, 2006
Rating: 4 stars
John Green is a genius. Let me put that out there. The Fault In Our Stars is a brilliantly-put piece of fiction, so it comes as no surprise that Looking For Alaska is up there with some of his greats. While it isn’t as heart-wrenching as TFIOS, I still found myself becoming mesmerised with the characters and empathising with them.
Looking for Alaska has nothing to do with the place Alaska. Alaska is Alaska Young, a girl who has a ton of feelings which vary from ecstasy to depression. Part of me was jealous of her, as she was able to speak her mind with ease and didn’t give a shit what anyone thought of her. But then she’d get really moody and depressing, and I'd feel bad for the girl who had such a traumatic childhood and ended up feeling so sad and insecure of whom she was.
Miles “Pudge” Halter is the protagonist, and wants to go seek a Great Perhaps: to have something exciting happen to him that gives his life meaning instead of just sitting around talking about it. His obsession with finding this and it not being his last words (something he loves) compels him to attend Culver Creek Boarding School, where his life becomes the opposite of safe. This is where he meets (and inevitably falls in love with) Alaska Young. They, along with his other friends Takumi and The Colonel, begin a long string of adventures together in the space of six months.
This book starts off in the before – which is actually the names of the chapters in the book, before and after. I immediately knew some impending doom was happening, yet I was guessing until the very end. Yet, just like in TFIOS, John grabs a hold of our heart strings and pulls. Hard.
This is not a happily-ever-after sort of book. It’s not a boy meets girl, they fall in love, hit a few obstacles, but eventually get together and ride off into the sunset story. The characters all need to seek their own closure and personal growth from the events that happen. There aren’t a huge group of characters introduced, which means that they become incredibly well-developed with funny little quips. You can see the personal growth from each character, even if it’s not from that character’s point of view.
I also enjoyed the before/after sequence; it really helped build the suspense as I knew something was going to happen.
This book has memorable and interesting characters, brilliant suspense, funny, witty remarks, and a very interesting take on life and death and what it all means.
It is a boy meets girl story; but it also a story about a boy who goes to seek a Great Perhaps. Does he find it? Read and find out.