Author: John Green
Genre: YA, Drama
Publication Date: March 2005 (published by speak/penguin)
Reminds me of: So very similar to Paper Towns by John Green, also Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
John Green you’ve done it again. After I finished The Fault in Our Stars I promised myself never again. But peer pressure got the better of me, and here I am still mourning the outcome of Looking for Alaska. Why are you so good…. Alert: Spoilers ahead
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” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, 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, 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
(Taken from Goodreads)
John Green is the idealistic YA author. If his plot lines weren’t so traumatic I’d give him much more credit. But he is what he is. He has this beautiful way of telling a story that’s floundered in sarcasm and hilarity, but also warmth and intelligence.
Looking for Alaska is a book about newfound friendships, first love and deep loss. I was scrutinised very much by my friends for going into this book and having no idea what the chapter titles were in reference to. Apparently it was obvious. It wasn’t until one day before that I put all the pieces together. Was not impressed.
Green’s character development is always exceptional. I resonated with his characters so realistically it made me scrutinise other author’s knack at it. To me, character development is the most crucial element of a brilliant story. If I can’t connect with a character, I lose interest quite easily. Asking around not many people warmed to Alaska’s character. She’s spontaneous, rebellious, intelligent and foremost selfish. She’s flawed most definitely, but her ability to keep everyone on their toes all the time outweighs their ability to deem her hazardous.
Because we’re told the story from Pudge’s perspective we’re meant to see Alaska as the ideal and perfect girl. However Pudge isn’t shy to delve into her insecurities and her top notch mood swings, so we get to see more than one side of Alaska. Personally, I liked Alaska as a character (her decision making capacities I despised). She was the driving force of the plot (which was obvious going into the novel judging by the title).
So did Pudge ever find Alaska? Emotionally speaking I don’t think anyone ever knew Alaska. She was a multitude of characteristics and personalities that Alaska probably never found Alaska. She’s never given the chance to find herself as a person, and we’re left still speculating was it suicide?
I think it was a tragic accident judging by how high her BAC was and how clouded her head must have been at the time. She was so deeply distraught that her vision could have easily been distorted by her clouded perception. Then again, she was in a dark enough space, and only needed a couple of seconds to make a fatal decision. She could have even been in the process of that choice at the time of her death.
Unlike TFIOS, Looking for Alaska has a sense of mystery to it which helped me greatly in containing my sobs. I like that Green took that spin because it removed any link to the clichéd I’d felt up until then.
At the end of it all you’re not only left with a wonderful experience, but pondering on mysteries much bigger than life itself. It’s deep for a YA novel and that’s what makes it so beautiful. Green doesn’t immerse the plot in existential ponderings; he splashes ideas around so we only get enough to ask for more. Definitely a stellar read and I recommend to everyone!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
He’d get 5 stars if I wasn’t still shitty about Alaska’s death.