May 10, 2013

Looking for Alaska by John Green | Review

Looking for Alaska by John Green | ReviewLooking for Alaska on December 28, 2006
Pages: 221
Format: Paperback

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver 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. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.

Looking for Alaska was the complete opposite of what I had expected. I expected a light, fun read that would be a breeze to get through. Instead I got a darker story with unexpected love. Pudge moves to a new school, Culver Creek, and he meets many new friends, including Chip, his new roommate. Chip introduces him to this girl named Alaska, and Pudge instantly falls in love with her. Alaska  pretty much goes on with life as normal. She always hints at the future in a strange way though.

Pudge has this really cool hobby of memorizing last words of famous people. I mean, it’s kinda creepy since the person is dead, though it’s really interesting at the same time. You can really find out a lot about a person from their last words… Pudge taught me that. Life finally becomes really good for Pudge, though there is much drinking and smoking involved… not like he’s the one doing much though. He even goes as far as doing a huge prank on the school with his buddies and the help of his father! Anyway, as the synopsis says, after the after, “Nothing is the same”.

It’s strange, because I kind of saw it coming, though at the same time I was hoping that it wasn’t going to happen. For those who have read this book, you understand, right? It took me a while, though I pretty much got it from the title. Looking for Alaska. Why else would he be looking for her? I kind of thought it was love at first, though it was much, much more.

Pudge was a really cool character. It was interesting to watch him finally make friends and feel at home in a different setting that his usual. He made some pretty great friends as well. Alaska was really unique. She absolutely loved reading… her entire room was full of books! How could someone not like her? There was also Takumi, Chip, and Lara, who were all great editions to Pudge’s gang.

Though I borrowed this book from the library, I’m definitely thinking about buying my own copy. It’s definitely one of those books that I’ll have to read again… and again… and maybe even again. Actually, as soon as I finished this book, I got into a really deep reading slump. I think I’m going to have to check out the rest of John Green’s books because of this. Here’s all that I have to say about this book: Read it!

Recommended for fans of:
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
John Green
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Memorable Quotes:
Yes… I know there’s a lot, but this book was full of amazing quotes!

“So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.”

“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.”

“Thomas Edison’s last words were ‘It’s very beautiful over there’. I don’t know where there is, but I believe it’s somewhere, and I hope it’s beautiful.”

“Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia. You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.”

“I may die young, but at least I’ll die smart.”

“At some point, you just pull off the Band-Aid, and it hurts, but then it’s over and you’re relieved.”

“It always shocked me when I realized that I wasn’t the only person in the world who thought and felt such strange and awful things.”

“Before I got here, I thought for a long time that the way out of the labyrinth was to pretend that it did not exist, to build a small, self-sufficient world in the back corner of the endless maze and to pretend that I was not lost, but home.”

“At some point we all look up and realize we are lost in a maze.”

Have you read this novel? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  1. Looking for Alaska was just okay for me. My fave JG book is Paper Towns 🙂

  2. I still haven't read a John Green book yet! I must get Fault in Our Stars stat and maybe check out this one after that.

  3. My friend adores Looking for Alaska and is constantly pestering me to read it. I think I just might one day 😉

    -Ariella @ Secrets of Lost Words

  4. Becca Bee says:

    I really loved this book, though I honestly did not expect the darker turn of the story. I totally thought it was referring to the state of Alaska when I first saw the book and that it would be a road trip kind of thing, maybe. I'm glad you liked it, too! John Green is amazing.

  5. I have never heard of this book before. Loved the quotes. 🙂

  6. I teach high school, and I really wanted to read this to my students. Unfortunately, it has some language usage and sexual references that make it impossible to read as a class. I would recommend it to a high school student, however. It is pertinent to things that may be happening in their lives, and it has some powerful literary elements that may someday make it a classic.

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  7. Mariz Denver says:

    The book is divided into two parts, the days before a pivotal event and the days after. I thought the part about the "days after" came dangerously close to having pathos turn into bathos. Nevertheless, I had a hard time putting this book down. I would recommend it for adults but I don’t think it sends the right message to impressionable teens. In fact, the day after I finished the book an article on the front page of our local newspaper read: Police Identify Teen Killed in Crash. It’s worth noting that the teen in question was intoxicated.

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  8. […] a try. But, if you’re new to John Green’s books, I’d definitely suggest reading Looking for Alaska over Turtles All the Way […]

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