Looking For Alaska by John Green

August 13, 2014     erinbook     Book review

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Release Date: March 3, 2005
Publisher: Dutton 
221 Pages
Received: As part of a boxed set.
Format: Signed Hardcover
4.5 Nuts
Description: 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.
Review: I normally don’t care for contemporary. Unless a contemporary is fantastically written I’ll usually get bored and not be able to finish, it’s sad really. I wish I could read a bunch of contemporary in a row like some people, but I just can’t. However, every so often there comes a contemporary book that catches my attention and I devour it. It almost always has to do with the author’s writing style and I often feel the same way about the majority of that author’s work. John Green is one of those authors.
When I started reading John’s books I was not really aware of his celebrity status. TFIOS hadn’t come out yet, and I had heard of vlogbrothers but I didn’t realize it was THAT John Green. It was kind of hard to be on the internet, especially in the Harry Potter fandom, and not hear about THAT John Green. And so I picked up Looking For Alaska without any expectations.
Dear God, what did I do to myself. I wasn’t expecting to get emotional over the fate of these characters. They’re contemporary characters, just regular people, they couldn’t be that interesting. I didn’t count on John Green’s ability to make his characters SO real that you couldn’t help but identify with them. I laughed, I cried, I feel in love.
Then I watched vlogbrothers from the very beginning. As I watched I recognized pieces of the story, parts that John had delicately woven in to his story. Real experiences meshed with fictional characters, and done so seamlessly. I gained that much more respect for this book. To this day when I go back and read this book, it can still make me emotional. I still let a tear or two loose, something that doesn’t happen often.
This is a boarding school book, a sub genre that I really enjoy. It is also a coming of age story, the characters deal with situations and issues that define them as people. They grow and are influenced by their experiences in the way that we humans do. Sometimes I see characters in contemporary that are just stuck as they are, they come out of conflict exactly the same way they were when they went in. This is not the case here.
This is the book that showed me that I can enjoy the occasional contemporary. Since then I’ve read several other authors that I’ve devoured, often at his recommendation. I don’t always need a fantastical element to get interested in a book now… Just most of the time. 🙂
What did you think of Looking for Alaska? Tell me in the comments!
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