Publication Date: January 13th 2015 (first published March 3rd 2005)
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Part of Series? No
Goodreads Blurb: Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words – and tired of his safe, boring and rather lonely life at home. He leaves for boarding school filled with cautious optimism, to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young.
Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps. Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another. It is poignant, funny, heartbreaking and compelling.
John Green was already one of my favourite authors before reading this book. I had read just The Fault in Our Stars by him yet I liked him. His writing is so raw and real. When I finished this book, I was not sure how to write its review. Whether to be happy or to be sad. I was conflicted literally because of the ending? I am not sure if it was meant to end like that or it was on purpose? But yet, I love the overall book. But here, I should definitely mention that I would have enjoyed it way more if I would have read it like 3-4 years back.
Miles Halter is the main protagonist of the story who lives in Florida. He is not a social person and is in search of his “Great Perhaps”. So Miles decides to attend the Culver Creek Boarding School in Alabama to start a fresh life. There he makes his first friend Chip, known as “the Colonel” by all. He nicknamed Miles as “Pudge” and called him with the same name throughout the book. The Colonel introduces him to his friend, Alaska, who was a fierce and mysterious girl. Miles instantly falls in love with her. All of them are then involves in various pranks and mishappenings and then BAM! There is the unexpected mid-way surprise. I am not telling what that middle thing is (for the sake of spoilers) but that event divides the book into two part. One Before and one After that event.
The Before part is filled with a lot of high school events, the building of relations, the pranks that student plays and all. Yes, the typical high-school environment has been explained. The After part describes what happens after that tragic event, how the truth unfolds and how the lives of everyone involved changes. The Before part is kind of happier while the After is the one with lots of sorrow and heartbreak.
The best thing about Looking for Alaska is that it doesn’t feel like it’s a debut novel of John Green. It has so much more hidden things to say then the words can explain. John green has definitely shown his best raw talent in this and proving that you can literally emerge like a different person after you finish his book. It is a gripping tale. It is not a typical boy-meets-girl-falls-in-love-then-separate kind of story. It is a tale of true friendship, the effect of love, the longing for survival, the void in a relationship.
The story is more about Miles then about Alaska (as the title may confuse). The center point for both of them is looking for “labyrinth“. I actually didn’t know about this word at the beginning but then it was used so many times in the book that it made itself clear. A unique thing that John Green has put as the hobby of Miles is “remembering the last lines of famous persons“. I was like, why would anyone like to remember that? But surely, after reading many such sentences in the book it surely made me interested in those last lines.
The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.
The only problem that I had with this story was its ending. I felt like cheated. No seriously I wanted it to end correctly and to know the truth. But I think, the valid point in its favour can be that John wanted to think the readers about it?
I would also like to talk about this special edition of the book. Firstly, I bought this edition because of the cover. But the interesting thing as how it included the initial version of the book and what changes were made to make the story as it is now. It was really interesting to read all those details. Also there is a special introduction by John Green which I loved. John also mentioned that most of the prank ideas in the book is inspired from his real life high school period 😀 Isn’t it interesting?
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.”
All the characters that are mentioned feel like in real life. There are no cheesy ones, not even Alaska (though girls are generally shown as cheesy). I liked how the character of Alaska was made mysterious. And the fact is we often come across such characters in our lives too, who are mysterious in their own ways. The writing was typical John Green style – easy and flowing. And the best things is the beautiful quotes that he writes, which always make me love his work more.
I may die young, but at least I’ll die smart.
This story clearly reminded me of many things that were long forgotten. One such thing is the use of “Yellow Pages”. DO you remember this service? I used to use it like 6-7 years ago? There were other events too which clearly reminded that I am reading it little bit late 😛
Actually I didn’t know this before this banned book day, that this book is actually BANNED! I mean why? Just because there are a few sexual scenes, and that too not highly elaborated (except one). Yes I agree, that this book is not for younger teens. Yet, I believe that this is not a huge reason to ban this beautiful book.
What I liked
- Amazing characters
- Good quotes
- Nice and engrossing story
- Doesn’t feel like a debut novel, so raw
What I didn’t like
- The ending
- I wanted to know more about Alaska
If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.
Looking for Alaska is another fantastic book by John Green. It is funny and heartbreaking at the same time. This gives you new directions and point of thinking. If you love John Green then you should definitely read this.
Looking for Alaska is another fantastic book by John Green. It is funny yet heartbreaking. Beautifully written.
Would Recommend To
- All John Green’s fans
- who like to read an intense yet good book
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have you read this book? Do you like John Green? Which is your favourite book by him?