Looking for Alaska

Title: Looking for Alaska

Author: John Green

Publisher: Speak

Release Date: March 2005

Source: Purchased from Chapters

Rating: 4/5

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Before.  Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (Francois Rabelais, poet) even more.  He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culber Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe.  Because down the hall is Alaska Young.  The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself.  She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.           After.  Nothing is ever the same. (Goodreads)

 

Let me start of by saying: “JOHN GREEN, WHY MUST YOU RUIN MY LIFE?”

Seriously though.  I’ve only read Green’s The Fault in our Stars and Looking for Alaska, and I’ve come to the conclusion that any John Green novel will ruin your life and even your mom’s life.

Prepare yourself for the feels.

The novel itself is separated into two parts, the “before” and the “after,” and as I was reading I was kept intrigued with the countdown that initiated every chapter.  This countdown is what kept me hooked — I had to know what would happen — and I came up with various theories as I read.  The one that kept coming back to me: “Are Pudge and Alaska going to hook up?”

I’ll let you figure it out.

I had several thoughts running through my head as I read, especially about the smoking and the drinking and the character named Hank (is he based off of John Green’s brother?) However, I was mainly concerned with how the characters seemed too perfect despite their flaws – I felt this way not only for this novel, but forThe Fault in our Stars as well – maybe I’m too cynical? (Yeah. Probably.)

Everyone was a unique snowflake and had some special talent that made them special.

Pudge is interested in famous people’s last words, the Colonel memorized the names of countries and capitals, and Alaska was overly philosophical which made her “mysterious.”

Are people really all that unique and special? I’m sure if I memorized people’s last words, the names of countries or was as philosophical as Alaska, I’d be considered to be a pretentious asshole – but maybe I’m just turning into a real-life adult. (Gross.)

The thing about a John Green novel is that it leaves you thinking by the end of it. Thinking about love, life and yourself. And, as much as I have found the characters to be little too Mary Sue/Gary Stu for my taste, I really did enjoy book.

How couldn’t I? John Green is a great writer.

Case in point: when “the thing” happened, I threw the book on the floor with angry tears welling up in my eyes and my mom said: “Well, he must be a good writer if you’re reacting like that.”

In the end, the novel is written from Pudge’s point of view and he’s a teenage boy going through a lot of changes and my younger, teen self could probably relate to that a lot more than I could now.  I did however feel quite attached to Alaska — despite her overly-philosophical and mysterious ways she was a feminist at heart and watching her character unfold proved to be quite empowering.

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