Friday, February 15, 2013

4 STARS | Looking for Alaska by John Green

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
Publisher: Speak Books
Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-0142412213
Published: August 14, 2008
Source: Library
Events: Book Twirps 2013 Read Along Challenge
Rating: 4/5 STARS
Purchase: Amazon


Miles "Pudge" Halter is done with his safe life at home. His 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 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.


Nothing is ever the same.
Looking for Alaska was POWERFUL. That is the first word that pops into my head when I think about this book. There are messages within messages that you could totally miss if you're not really thinking about what you're reading, they are so seamlessly written into all the other aspects of the story. Everyone will come away with something different by the time they finish reading.

The next words I can come up with are EMOTIONALLY CHARGED. You will laugh, you will get upset, and you will cry. Pudge goes through a lot in his short time at Culver Creek--and although the other characters have pretty big emotional points, because Pudge is our narrator, readers will feel more connected to his feelings than the others.

And finally, Looking for Alaska is THOUGHT PROVOKING. I still don't have any definite answers to these questions myself, but there are three questions in Looking for Alaska that I feel deserve some thought:

  1. Pudge goes to Culver Creek to search for a Great Perhaps. What is your Great Perhaps?
  2. Alaska's favorite last words were Simon Bolivar's when he said, "How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!" She comes to the conclusion that the labyrinth is not life or death, but suffering--so she asks, How do you get out of the labyrinth of suffering?
  3. Their Religion teacher, Dr. Hyde, tells them about their final exam and that each of the religions they studied brings a message of radical hope, so the question he leaves them with is, What is your cause for hope?

These are all very important questions that are difficult to answer, but Looking for Alaska makes you think about your own answers to these questions.

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John Green's first novel, Looking for Alaska, won the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award presented by the American Library Association. His second novel, An Abundance of Katherines, was a 2007 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His next novel, Paper Towns, is a New York Times bestseller and won the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best YA Mystery. In January 2012, his most recent novel, The Fault in Our Stars, was met with wide critical acclaim, unprecedented in Green's career. The praise included rave reviews in Time Magazine and The New York Times, on NPR, and from award-winning author Markus Zusak. The book also topped the New York Times Children's Paperback Bestseller list for several weeks. Green has also coauthored a book with David Levithan called Will Grayson, Will Grayson, published in 2010. The film rights for all his books, with the exception of Will Grayson Will Grayson, have been optioned to major Hollywood Studios.

In 2007, John and his brother Hank were the hosts of a popular internet blog, "Brotherhood 2.0," where they discussed their lives, books and current events every day for a year except for weekends and holidays. They still keep a video blog, now called "The Vlog Brothers," which can be found on the Nerdfighters website, or a direct link here.

Disclaimer: This review was originally posted in 2013 to my book blogs, Zodiac Book Reviews and A Bibliophiles Thoughts on Books.


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