Monday, 12 January 2015

Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

10518900Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green 
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books 
Publication date: May 1st 2011
Pages: 263 (paperback)
Source: Own it






A deeply affecting coming-of-age story, Looking for Alaska traces the journey of Miles Halter, a misfit Florida teenager who leaves the safety of home for a boarding school in Alabama and a chance to explore the "Great Perhaps". Debut novelist and NPR commentator Green perfectly captures the intensity of feeling and despair that defines adolescence in this hip, shocking, and emotionally charged work of fiction. 

Miles has a quirky interest in famous people's last words, especially François Rabelais's final statement, "I go to seek a Great Perhaps." Determined not to wait for death to begin a similar quest, Miles convinces his parent to let him leave home. Once settled at Culver Creek Preparatory School, he befriends a couple of equally gifted outcasts: his roommate Chip - commonly known as the Colonel - who has a predilection for memorizing long, alphabetical lists for fun; and the beautiful and unpredictable Alaska, whom Miles comes to adore. 

The kids grow closer as they make their way through a school year filled with contraband, tests, pranks, breakups, and revelations about family and life. But as the story hurtles toward its shattering climax, chapter headings like "forty-six days before" and "the last day" portend a tragic event - one that will change Miles forever and lead him to new conclusions about the value of his cherished "Great Perhaps".


For some unexplainable reason I always have a hard time reviewing a book by John Green. Maybe it is because he’s such an amazing author, because lets face it his books are all wonderful. He’s one of the only male authors I read; at this point he might actually be the only one.

Looking for Alaska isn’t my favorite book by him (he will have to try very hard to ever surpass TFIOS) but I still loved it. Like all Green’s books the story is funny and sad, intense and silly. It explores the lives of a couple of teenagers when they are growing up. This includes hook-ups, alcohol and cigarettes. I really liked it that Green addressed these topics because those are all things that are part of growing up and being a teenager. Green is never afraid to address difficult topics that other authors might avoid.

Looking for Alaska is not only about Miles. Alaska is equally as important in this book. It shows how growing up affects people in a different way and how we each have to find our own way into adulthood. And some ways are a little bumpier than others but in the end we all get there. I could recognize a bit of myself in each character, and I believe that others might so too. Alaska is the carefree girl and who doesn’t like to be carefree at times? Miles is the one who always wants more out of his life because he knows that he can get more out of it. And that’s how I feel right now, I know that my life can be more than what it’s know  and like Miles I’m looking for my “Great Perhaps”.

But this book was one without a plot. He just worked around certain themes: finding yourself, growing up and friendship. There wasn’t a real plotline. What I really liked was that he counted down in days from “Before” and then counted the days “After”. So in the first half of the book you knew something was going to happen and when I got closer to “1 Day Before” I got more anxious because it’s still a John Green book so it won’t be anything happy.


Overall I really liked Looking for Alaska. Like all his books it’s well written and I’m sure when I reread it that I will find new things that I hadn’t found the first time I read it. John Green has once proved again that he is a very talented author!


El

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