Looking For Alaska is the debut novel by author and youtuber John Green.
Having read John Green’s most recent novel The Fault In Our Stars a good four or five times now, I figured I should move on and see what else he has to offer. The Fault In Our Stars is one of my favourite books so I had high hopes and I can gladly say I was not disappointed.
Just like The Fault In Our Stars, Green perfectly captures and gives us an insight into the mind of this teenager. Curiously, John Green has divided this book into two sections; Before, and After, which portrays the ‘before and after’ of a defining moment in the protagonist’s life.
Before: Miles Halter is a less than average teenage boy, with next to no friends in his home town of Florida. Desperately looking for something more significant in his life, Miles moves to Alabama to attend Culver Creek Boarding School where he is nicknamed Pudge by the somewhat deviant Chip “Colonel” Martin, due to the irony of Miles tall and skinny stature. The two quickly become friends and Miles is initiated into his group of friends which consists of; Takumi, Lara, and of course Alaska Young. Alaska is quite unpredictable in her behaviour, wild, self-destructive, beautiful and of course the object of Miles’ affections. Miles pines for Alaska, despite the fact she has a boyfriend, Jake. However the two, along with the Colonel become very close friends and share a lot of great experiences at boarding school with Miles hoping to have his own “Great Perhaps”. Miles is also very interested in last words, having memorised many famous last words, which fascinates Alaska.
After: Miles life has changed forever.
This story is full of drinking, smoking, pranks and typical behaviour one would expect from a group of teenagers. It not only focuses on the protagonist Miles’ story but also gives a lot of the main characters great depth and dimension, in particular the character of Alaska Young.
It is difficult to convince you to read this story without spoiling the plot (which never fear I will not do), so let me just say I highly reccommend this book to anyone who enjoys a nice ‘easy-read’, with well-developed characters and quite a unique storyline. I have read a fair amount of books in my twenty-one years but I have never come across a story quite like this one before – everything from the structure of the book itself down to the storyline is quite unique and therefore refreshing so I highly suggest you check it out.
An interesting fact I learned after reading the book is that the “significant defining moment” Miles goes through in this book (I am trying not to spoil it, but if you have read the book you will know what I am talking about) actually happened to John Green while he was attending Indian Springs School, a boarding school in Alabama.
My rating: ★★★★ (4/5 stars)
Recommending reading age: Personally I would say ages 15-25 would enjoy reading this book. Typically it is described as a young adult book which is generally marketed towards 12-18 year olds however there is some controversial topics in the book of a sexual nature, so some parents may not like their young teenagers reading it, but honestly it isn’t really that graphic.
I highly enjoyed this book, particularily because when you reach the end it really gives you something to think about. I definitely recommend you check it out.