Looking for Alaska is one of those books that once you pick it up, you won't be able John Green, a well-known author of many young adult fiction novels, wrote. Hank, John is one half of the Vlogbrothers, one of the most popular .. John. Green's first book, Looking for Alaska, is written in the first person. How does the . Editorial Reviews. From School Library Journal. Grade 9 Up—From the very first page, tension fills John Green's Michael L. Printz Award-winning novel (Dutton.
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The award-winning, genre-defining debut from #1 bestselling author of The Fault in Our StarsWinner of the Michael L. Printz AwardLos Angeles Times Book. Looking for Alaska book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at h. Praise. ☆ Michael L. Printz Award Winner ☆ Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist ☆ NPR's Best-Ever Teen Novels ☆ TIME Magazine's Best.
Growing up, Green always loved writing, but when it came to his middle school experience, he described life as a middle schooler as "pretty bleak". His parents agreed and he spent the remainder of his time in high school at Indian Springs School forming valuable relationships with teachers that Green's says still exist today. Many of the characters and events that take place in the novel are based on what Green experienced at the school,  including the death of a central character in the novel. The two pranks that occur in the book are similar to pranks that Green pulled at school. As a child, Green became infatuated with famous last words, and in particularly those of John Adams. His infatuation with last words lead him to finding other famous last words, including those of Emily Dickinson, Oscar Wilde, and Simon Bolivar. How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!
Alaska is a different story Sure, she may be crazy and she might be awesomely defensive of womankind, but overall i didn't feel much about her.
But, she was still loveable. She didn't even glance at me. She just smiled toward the television and said, 'You never get me. That's the whole point.
My fox hat. Some people say that the best years of our lives are when we are young, when we are teens, when we are in college When we are with friends But some stories finish before we even blink. View all 47 comments. Aug 22, kat rated it really liked it. View all 8 comments. Jun 14, Madeline rated it it was amazing Shelves: He meets a girl, who is your typical Manic Pixie Dream Girl, except on crack. Boy obsesses over Girl, Girl does not give much of a damn.
Girl is impulsive and difficult to understand and shows many signs of being mentally unbalanced, but Boy does not care because she is hot. Story continues in this vein for a while, and then Girl does something that causes all hell to break loose, goes totally off the rails, and Boy is left to pick up the pieces and continue worshipping Girl, although not quite in the same way he did before.
Katherine I is mostly normal, although still a constant source of mystery and worship. Margot Roth Speigleman is Alaska Young on medication. And Alaska Young is Remember the mermaids?
But the second you get close to them, they grab you and drag you under the water and drown you. Alaska Young is a mermaid. He falls, hard, for Alaska and bravely endures her ups and downs, and he suffers for it along with everyone else who was foolish enough to fall in love with her. She stubbornly remains a mystery throughout the book, refusing to explain her actions or moods, and this continues to the moment when she drives off campus, drunk and raging, and ends up driving her car straight into a police car the siren was on, the lights flashing that was parked on the highway at an accident site.
She is killed instantly, and even after her death Miles and his friends continue to be consumed by her. The thing I love about John Green and the reason this gets five stars, despite my griping is the way he writes about emotions.
I cannot stop thinking that she is dead, and I cannot stop thinking that she cannot possibly be dead. People do not just die. It is so cold today — literally freezing — and I imagine running to the creek and diving in headfirst, the creek so shallow that my hands scrape against the rocks, and my body slides into the cold water, the shock of the cold giving way to numbness, and I would stay there In all the Before sections, it just felt like the characters were stalling for time, waiting for that inevitable disaster to happen.
Once it does, I suddenly became completely invested in the book and decided that I needed to give it five stars. And if Alaska took her own life, that is the hope I wish I could have given her. Forgetting her mother, forgetting her friends and herself — those are awful things, but she did not need to fold into herself and self-destruct. Those awful things are survivable, because we are as indestructible as we believe ourselves to be. We thinks that we are invincible because we are.
We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail. I think she did it on purpose.
I think she meant to do it. Whilst dicking around on tumblr, I found a snippet of a poem by Warsan Shire and I had to post it at the end of this review, because I think it perfectly expresses what Alaska would say if she were allowed to tell this story in her own words, and it also illustrates what John Green fails to understand about his Manic Pixie Dream Girl obsession: View all 25 comments.
I first read this book in when I was 14 and it turned out to be the book that sparked my love for literature. I've always loved reading, but before that I only read for the sake of entertainment.
Looking for Alaska was the first book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading, but that simultaneously and more importantly, made me think about greater issues in life for a long time after I had finished reading.
Now that I'm 21, I understand that while this remains to be a highly philosophical book, it's I first read this book in when I was 14 and it turned out to be the book that sparked my love for literature. Now that I'm 21, I understand that while this remains to be a highly philosophical book, it's not the "deepest" and most perfect book ever. However, it still means the world to me and I'll always be thankful for John Green for writing it. Apr 26, Kristopher Jansma rated it liked it Shelves: I've been getting in touch with my inner Young Adult this week, in preparation for yet another final rewrite on my own YA book.
This has, for the most part, amounted to listening to Death Cab for Cutie and reading Looking for Alaska - a book that I have been actively avoiding. The story of this is long and somewhat personal, so feel free to skip this part if you just want to know if the book is good. I first heard of Looking for Alaska in my thesis workshop, when a girl very snidely told me I'd h I've been getting in touch with my inner Young Adult this week, in preparation for yet another final rewrite on my own YA book.
I first heard of Looking for Alaska in my thesis workshop, when a girl very snidely told me I'd have to take out part of my own book because it sounded very similar to this book she'd heard about on NPR, which had not even come yet out at that point.
Stubbornly I refused to cut the section and even read it at my thesis reading and when Alaska finally did come out, I flipped through just enough of it to decide my book was way better and then abandoned it. Sadly, Alaska has dogged me ever since. Agents and editors alike have told me that my book is too similar to it - which is apparently not a good thing - despite Alaska having won a number of awards and such. Anyway, sour grapes aside, I decided that if the comparisons are inevitable, I might as well know what I'm being held up against.
So what do the young adults of this world really want? Sex, apparently. And a stiff drink or twelve. Looking for Alaska is about normal, skinny Miles Halter, quickly nicknamed Pudge, who gets into Culver Creek Boarding School and leaves in search of something more interesting. His quirky personality trait is that he memorizes the famous last words of various historical figures - a party trick that he uses to successfully get in with his roommate, who goes by "the Colonel" and the smoky little sexpot down the hall, Alaska Young.
Wait, you might be saying, what's with all these funny nicknames? Well, Alaska turns out to be nearly the only name in the book that isn't a nickname - though we do find out that her parents decided to let her name herself at the age of 5. Try as I might I can't recall a lot of excessive nicknaming in my youth. I suppose there were a few guys I knew who pretty much went by their last names, when there were too many Adams or Brians in the bunch. I had one friend who referred to himself as the Emperor Anyway, I digress.
All I will say is that the structure and the subject matter reminded me immensely of The Secret History by Donna Tartt which incidentally was my main inspiration as well But just as I felt that the second half of History sags, Alaska does too. It's hard to talk about why without spoiling the twist, so I'll focus my energy on the Before section, which will give you the gist.
As I said earlier, Pudge loves Famous Last Words, this is actually the facet that the snarky workshop girl told me was too close to my own book and I expected to hate this quirk - but in fact it grew on me.
The whole book grew on me - the romantic tension between him and Alaska is perfect, and there are an awful lot of incredibly poignant moments as Pudge grows accustomed to the school and it's strange rules and rhythms. Ultimately the book becomes a youthful meditation on life and death, which made me realize part of the joy of YA writing - just as in the Death Cab songs, the emotions can be laid much barer than in more serious literary works where things always seem to have to stay sort of ambiguous and sophisticated.
Teenagers are supposed to be a little melodramatic, and that's sort of the joy of it. Badly done, you get Gossip Girl style antics, a lot of who-cheated-on-whom-with-whomever-else. But rightly done, you get something like the better parts of Looking for Alaska.
So what's leftover? A lot of ridiculous stuff. The Colonel and Alaska are more or less perpetually drunk she buries wine bottles in the woods and there's a good deal of cigarette smoking going on as well - for which they are occasionally punished. Fellatio is simulated on a tube of toothpaste then performed in real life. Alaska's big hunky boyfriend from another school comes by frequently and everyone talks racily about how much sex they seem to have and just how much Alaska loves it.
Worse than anything, when the characters are good and drunk which is often they will break out in absurd, spontaneous, freestyle rapping. In between all the genuine, poignant moments of the book, are a million moments where they're all so jaded and edgy and wacky you almost wish you could reach in and smack all their heads together.
Maybe that's just me.
A friend of mine who actually went to boarding school observed to me the other day that none of the boarding school books she's ever read including Alaska, which she did not like give any realistic idea of the sheer volume of WORK that needs to be done.
There's essentially no time leftover to get up to any trouble, she said. At any rate, Culver seems to be a somewhat less romanticised boarding school than the Exeters and Andovers of the world. It's in Alabama for one thing. Most of the rich kids head home on the weekends leaving only our protagonists to get up to trouble. There's very little sense that any of them feel pressure to do well or accomplish anything extraordinary in life. The overriding question of the book is how one can escape the constant sufferings of life - not suffering like having to work hard or being humiliated or anything - think more like a teenager - it is the suffering of unrequited love, parents that just don't get it, the fear of getting expelled for one's various illicit pleasures, the embarrassment of puking on a girl Ultimately the book hinges on a more deeply serious moment - the sort that makes this philosophical question really important for them, and puts their previous, childish problems in perspective.
However, as I said earlier, this moment comes halfway through, making the final half of the book one very tedious denouement. Ultimately, the good in this book will stick in my mind far more than the bad. The character's absurdities and the shaky structure are both quickly forgotten upon putting the book down. I'm genuinely glad that I read it, and not only because now I have a better idea of what to avoid with my own book.
Alaska is a great character, when she's not a little bit over the top. And maybe that's just what being a teenager is all about. View all 16 comments.
I was recommended this by a good friend and I was really looking forward to it. I love the vlogbrothers videos and the first chapter really made me want to read it and find out more but it didn't live up to the expectation that the first few chapters set up. My main problem with the book was the characters.
It wasn't even that they were underdeveloped. Alaska and Miles just pissed me off. I let some of it slide by because I understand certain parts were intentional but Miles was just so whiny. I I was recommended this by a good friend and I was really looking forward to it. I couldn't handle it.
By the time I got to the "After" section of the book I was going through the motions; counting pages, skipping whole paragraphs that seemed unimportant and screaming internally at my book.
The took so long to figure out the great mystery of the incident that is didn't seem plausible for a group of teenagers who are supposed to be smart. I have since read another John Green book and I truly loved it. His writing is excellent and it is so refreshing to see a YA novel with a male voice.
I also rather liked that they actually did homework and went to classes. So, please, go and but another of his books and truly enjoy the author that is John Green.
View all 21 comments. Aug 22, emily rated it it was ok. The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive. John Green has established himself a very large fan base of readers, who are very fond of his work and writing. Unfortunately, after reading a lot of his work, I can't say that I belong to that fanbase. Neither his characters nor writing nor plot make me swoon. Alright, that was a very formal way of saying that his books are not for me.
Now, let's cut to the chase, shall we? Everybody loves to read a good, ol' raging review about a con The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive. Everybody loves to read a good, ol' raging review about a controversial book. But I'll try to keep this one civil. I can understand why Green's books are so popular, even though I don't personally find them anything spectacular. First of all, I noticed a trend in some of his stories. The leading main character is almost always bland and boring, take for example, Paper Towns or this book, Looking for Alaska.
Now, I'm not being a bully here and saying that Green is the only one who follows this trope - but, it's just a little observation of mine. You don't have to agree with me. Following that observation, have you realized that similarly in a few cases, the female is always portrayed as this 'mysterious, untouchable' goddess of some sort? The normal, grey-little-piece-of-paper bloke and the otherworldly queen. I get that when people, especially teenagers, fall in love, they idealize their crush, looking past all their imperfections This trope is overwhelmingly popular in YA.
Okay, now think about this. Imagine a bucket full of paper cards with plot twists, character traits, character interests, events, etc. Now, the way I see it, most of Green's books feel like these little cards have been pulled out at random, and the story was based upon them.
It's ridiculous, I know. But, that's just how I feel, okay? Now, let's get to the actual book. Looking for Alaska. If I could describe this book in a few random words, it would be: Apart from Chip. I liked Chip. You rock, Chip. I highly appreciate that Green was trying to touch on some important matters. But, I don't think this book did them justice. Let's start. This book was entertaining to read, in the way that it's wasn't boring, even though it pretty much had no plot.
I won't lie. You fly through it. I can't say that I didn't necessarily enjoy reading it - it was chaotic, and crazy and full of that 'teenage rebellion' jazz.
I felt very little towards any of the characters, especially Alaska. The amount of times her body was described is literally insane - like, Miles, get a grip, stop being fickle. I understand that he thought her personality was brilliant too and at that age, teenage hormones go on a raging rampage, but, enough is enough.
Even towards the end, I couldn't bring myself to feel any sympathy for either of them. At one point, sure, I felt a little bleak, but no tears were shed. The writing wasn't bad. It was very simple and bland, and full of vulgar language, but it wasn't something terrible. As usual, it had that 'philosophical' undertone - when young people try to sound all wise - which drives me crazy. I'm not saying that teenagers are stupid, because as a teenager myself, I think that is the most inaccurate, insulting accusation one can make.
But, there's a huge disparity between wisdom and intelligence. Okay, now, I'd like to touch on another matter. I'm not going to hide it. Teenagers smoke, and that's something that was and most likely always will be part of our society. That's okay. That's life. Lots of my friends smoke, and whilst it's not something that I want to take part in, as an athlete saying athlete, I don't mean I'm a professional, or anything , I under where its popularity comes from.
Really, I do. The characters in this book smoke. A lot. That's fine, because it makes the book seem realistic. Damn it, I'm fifteen and I know people my age and younger who smoke. And, truthfully, that's not something society can magically eradicate. But, the way it was depicted in the book made me mad.
Not whilst reading it. But looking back at it now If you have the opportunity to write a book aimed towards a younger audience, wouldn't you want to make a positive impact?
Teach them something. But, in this book, smoking was deemed in my opinion 'cool' and, honestly, that was something that infuriated me. The characters smoked so much, and nothing happened to them. They were healthy, and didn't cough at all. No effects, whatsoever. Literally, as though smoking was a chill, harmless activity - not full of nicotine and tobacco.
Smoking is life threatening. Why glorify it in a book? This whole theme should have been handled differently, in my opinion. It should have pushed people away from smoking. Writers can create magic through words. As the saying goes, words have the power to change minds. John Green has a huge amount of fans, spread all around the world, and he obviously must have a talent in writing. If you happen to possess two of these things, why not use them to your advantage?
Through a beautiful paragraph, people could feel at least feel some distaste towards smoking. It just should have had a better moral; a better message towards readers. A more constructive message, in my opinion. I understand that these teenagers want to experiment, want to try new things, but come on, there's boundaries that shouldn't be crossed.
And, when an author touches upon life threatening, addictive substances, I think it would be only fair if he portrayed the action, as dangerous. Overall, I didn't enjoy this book. Sadly, it just wasn't one for me. How did you find it? Jun 05, Jasmine rated it it was amazing Shelves: If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.
Throughout the book, extremely loud and incredibly close soundtrack came to my mind the whole time. The melody fits the story so well. I never thought Miles "Pudge" Halter's turning point in life would be like that. Absolutely, totally, completely life-changing difference before and after. It's like, well, experiencing a heartbroken and mysterious loss at school. Ironically, he went to Alabama in search of his so-called "Great Perhaps" If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.
Ironically, he went to Alabama in search of his so-called "Great Perhaps" and that was the way he found out the way out of labyrinth of suffering. It's a come-of-age book about life and death, mortality and immortality, faith and despair.
Highly recommend to everyone since it's inevitable for us to face the miseries and important for us to learn how to deal with them. We'd failed, maybe, but some mysteries aren't meant to be solved. I'd like to share my thoughts for some of the intentionally vague and broad discussion questions below.
Do you like Alaska? Do you think it's important to like people you read about? My answer is yes and no. Yes, I like Alaska Young in the book because she was portrayed as a witty, humorous, sexy, but self-destructive and always felt screwed up everything in her life. She was an interesting character for me, and I like that she changed Pudge entirely after they met.
On the contrary, no, I don't like her. She was capricious sometimes, and I didn't get her actually.
One minute she was still having fun when drinking heavily plus smoking to death , and within a blink of eye, she was freaked out and started blaming herself without clear reasons or maybe she did have a reason and just nobody knew why.
She didn't leave me enough to discover her, but she left me enough to rediscover the Great Perhaps. Is forgiveness universal? Speaking of forgiveness, I'm not sure whether this is a coincidence or not. Yesterday morning, I got a phone call from my friend and shocked enough to be informed of my best friend's death because of the failure after 20 days of his emergency treatment. I met him three years ago in a summer camp and later became good friends.
Never did I expect that he was one of the victims in the dust explosion in that party. Even though in the instant moment I knew how badly he was injured, I had a bad feeling that there was a slim chance for his survival, I still held some hope for him because he was a strong guy I used to know.
As for me, I was too scared to visit him so I didn't have the chance to say goodbye. I don't even know his last words.
Everything that comes together falls apart. Sometimes it's really hard to swallow the fact that my best friend is dead , like "Poof" and gone. I have no way to fulfill my promise to him anymore but when I know that once the doctor took off his ECMO extracorporeal membrane oxygenation , he had let out his last breath and he'd no longer feel the excruciating pain, I was kind of relieved.
I think he'll forgive me in the heaven as long as he knows what I'm thinking and how his friends are feeling for him. So yes, forgiveness is universal, no matter the circumstances and it's possible for the dead to forgive the living, and vise versa. Tears in heaven by Eric Clapton is the song in memorial to him, and he'll be in our hearts forever. In my opinion, when we lose someone we love, or someone we happened to encounter with in the seemingly short life, all we can do instead of lamenting our losses is change the state of mind.
That's the best solution for us, I suppose. Just as the old saying goes, "Time will heal all wounds. View all 42 comments. Jul 31, Christy rated it really liked it. Looking for Alaska is my second John Green book.
Even though it was very different than TFiOS, it was still emotional, moving and just quirky enough to make me smile and laugh. Miles Halter's moves to Alabama to go to boarding school. This is his big adventure. A chance to make some friends, live a life bigger than the one he's been living in Florida.
On his first day there, he becomes friends with his roommate, my favorite and most memorable character, Chip aka the Colonel. He also meets a gir Looking for Alaska is my second John Green book. He also meets a girl that enamors him. Alaska Young. What I can say is that John Green's characters are relatable and easy to love.
There are so many great quotes and moments in this story. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks.
He heads off to the sometimes crazy 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.
She is an event unto herself.
She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Instead, they go home to their wealthy families who have mansions in Birmingham. Although she is poor, she is very generous. She is also deeply grateful to have a good son. Maxx Maxx is the stripper who pretends to be Dr. William Morse at Speaker Day. He helps the junior class pull off the Alaska Young Memorial Prank.
She was expelled from Culver Creek after being caught drunk, having sex, and smoking pot. He pretends to be Dr.