Friday, February 26, 2016

Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Author: John Green
Series: None
Publisher: Speak (Reprint ed.)
Publication Date: December 26, 2006
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 221
Buy it on Amazon
Looking For Alaska was my first experience with John Green and it was definitely my favorite. I felt like Pudge, Alaska and the others were much more gritty and real than say Hazel and Augustus in TFiOS. Hazel and Augustus were just so... so wholesome. Not that they weren't great in their own right, but Pudge and Alaska were much more my style.

"Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia. (...) You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth thinking about how you will escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present." 

Miles makes the decision to attend a boarding school his junior year of high school in hopes of finding some kind of experience to remember. Once there he meets his new group of friends and Alaska. Alaska is moody and thoughtful. She is different from everyone he ever met. He begins to idealize her as the group begins to prank the teachers and other students at the school. Miles thinks Alaska has everything figured out, when in reality she is hiding some deep dark secrets that are tearing her apart.

First of all, this book makes me question the validity of my lowly public school education because these 16 and 17 seventeen year olds talk like philosophy majors at a smoke filled coffee shop in Brooklyn. Not at a high school in Alabama. Anyway, I loved this book. I thought it was funny and truthful. I love how John Green takes Alaska and starts her on the path of the ManicPixieDreamGirl for Miles and then rips it out from under the reader in such a heartbreaking way. Green seems to be showing us how we can become infatuated with someone without really knowing them. We idealize who we think they should be and become heartbroken when they falter and cannot live up to the idealized version we have created. Alaska has problems. Miles and their friends refuse to see that she is teetering on the edge because she is their "dream girl." John Green handles these tough issues with humor, grace and understanding that teens just don't have the life experience to be able to help someone with issues like Alaska's. Miles wanted an experience and Alaska gave him one that he wasn't expecting but would never forget.

All in all, this book is poignant and entertaining. If you haven't read it yet, I would suggest it for pretty much anyone but especially if you love YA or Adult Contemporary. It's one of my favorites so I give it 5 stars!



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Let me know what you thought of Looking for Alaska, and which John Green book is your favorite?