Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Looking for AlaskaLooking for Alaska by John Green
Read: March 3, 2013
Personal read.

Book Blurb: 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. Then 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.

My Opinion: I had heard of John Green in the blogosphere, and I was really impressed with his attitudes towards so many things. At one point I described him to my mom as “The type of author I just adored.” but then I had to amend it to “The type of person I just adored” because I realized I hadn’t actually read any of his work. I vowed to remedy that as soon as possible. This proved difficult because I am poor and I either get my books from the library or the used book sale. The library had huge wait lists, and no one was willing to part with John Green at the used book sale.

So I waited. And finally one of the books came available from the library. It was worth the wait.

I can honestly say that Looking for Alaska is one of the few books I can recall that has made me discover something about myself and my life. I walked away from reading this book with a feeling of understanding and a new view on people.

People are selfish. We view others through our own lens instead of as the people they are. We want them to fit into our world and into a mold, but really we need to make space for them in their entirety. That was one of the things that Looking for Alaska taught me.

The writing is just, exemplary. It is some of the best I have ever seen, not only in young adult, but in general. I felt like the characters really connected to each other, and John Green has a concrete gift for the written word. I felt swept away by the story. The words drew me in and strung me out.

While the words were fantastic, the one place Looking for Alaska was somewhat lacking for me was in the character department. The characters had sparkling dialogue, but they fell into some clichés. They each represented a very specific stereotype from high school, and it was a little disappointing to see. I also didn’t feel as drawn to Alaska as a lot of others did. I felt a lot of her “awesomeness” was told and not shown.

It is really hard to talk about Looking for Alaska. There are a few reasons for this. One, the plot is very easily spoilered. Two, aside from the things that would spoiler some of it… the plot is really irrelevant. It is kids going through their every day life, and doing it in such a real way that I was stunned. The third reason I find it hard to talk about is because it caused such a reaction in me. I don’t think it is the reaction most people have, but it moved me. To the core.

I do want to share one more thing I took away from the book. I took away that we will always share something of ourselves with people. It is inevitable. But we share differently with different people. And we always keep a piece for ourselves that no one else sees. And that is okay.

Bottom Line: A top-notch young adult read. While the characters might be slightly clichéd, they are incredibly real. I would definitely recommend this.

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