Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Looking For Alaska by John Green

Looking For Alaska

Sixteen-year-old Miles Halter's adolescence has been one long nonevent - no challenge, no girls, no mischief, and no real friends. Seeking what Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps," he leaves Florida for a boarding school in Birmingham, AL. His roommate, Chip, is a dirt-poor genius scholarship student with a Napoleon complex who lives to one-up the school's rich preppies. Chip's best friend is Alaska Young, with whom Miles and every other male in her orbit falls instantly in love. She is literate, articulate, and beautiful, and she exhibits a reckless combination of adventurous and self-destructive behavior. She and Chip teach Miles to drink, smoke, and plot elaborate pranks. Alaska's story unfolds in all-night bull sessions, and the depth of her unhappiness becomes obvious... from GoodReads.
Miles is the scrawny guy whose life is as boring as a doorknob. He is search for adventure, the Great Perhaps, so he goes to a boarding school in Alabama. He finds himself falling in love with the reckless Alaska Young whose got things more interesting than her name.

I can't help but fall in love with John Green's writing. It's brutally honest and lyrical. Miles is the guy whose life has been defined by his nothingness and just like everyone, he's looking for something more, the Great Perhaps. He is obsessed with last words.

Okay, so all girls have this fairy tale about how guys are supposed to be, the perfect boyfriend yadda yadda yadda, right? But those fantasies - I'm sorry to say - aren't likely to come true. Miles is a guy like all others. Some readers might find this story a bit too honest, it describes teens and their sexual situations - not censured, full disclosure. That's what I love about it. It tells the things most authors don't tell. It doesn't hold back. I've only read a few books given from the male point of view and I must say John Green is the best at it so far. He creates well developed characters who are real, honest, funny, and philosophical.

Alaska is a pretty ambiguous character, I would say. Moody and self-destructive we don't ever really know what's going in her head. But she's so well developed that I don't need to know. I relate to her and care for her and her decisions. I don't want to spoil anything here - I spoiled it to myself by reading the summary in the copyright page and I was so mad - but the complex and ambiguous ending is just as breath-taking as any other. Some readers might not like this 'almost' kind of ending but I love it, it makes me think, it makes me create.

The plot is simply amazing. I personally relate to it because that's the kind of life I've been living sometimes - boring nothingness. And the sense of wanting to do more is always on the back of our minds. The events flow flawlessly and the structure is very unique. It's the best combination of humor and philosophy I've ever seen and I love it.

In one sentence:
Honest and funny, John Green captivates all kinds of readers.

Plot: 5 stars
Characters: 5 stars
Cover: 3.5 stars
Writing: 5 stars
Overall feeling: 5 stars
Average: 4.7 stars


Justine said...

I've heard John Green is amazing! I don't know whether to read this one first or Paper Towns. They both sound really good to me.

miss cindy :) said...

I've wanted to read this for some time now, great review :)

hcmurdoch said...

Just recently found your blog so I am a little late seeing this review. I love the cover and whenever I see this book in my school library I mentally add it to my TBR list!


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