“Looking For Alaska” – John Green
After reading The Fault in Our Stars, I very quickly became quite a big fan of John Green. Most of you will know this by now, but after I finished TFiOS, I really felt as though I should read some of John Green’s other novels. What better book to start off with than Looking For Alaska.
I’d heard plenty of good things about it from people who have read this novel and not to mention my Tumblr dashboard is usually plastered with quotes from this book. (“If people were rain, then I was drizzle and she was a hurricane”) So, I quickly purchased a copy (something I rarely do without reading it first) and got myself comfortable.
Looking For Alaska is a story about a young boy, Miles Halter, who has a large fascination with people’s last words. He leaves his mundane life at home, and heads to boarding school where he hopes to find his “Great Perhaps.” Upon his arrival, Miles is subjected to unbearable hot weather and makes the acquaintance of his strange room mate, The Colonel. Suddenly Miles isn’t really sure that his “Great Perhaps” lies within the walls of his new school and home.
What he does find however, is Alaska Young. Sexy, smart, funny and edgy, Miles is hopelessly attracted to her despite the fact that she has a boyfriend. Alaska brings Miles into her group of friends, and exposes him to a life which he never had back at home. For a short while, Miles is happy with his situation in life – he may never have Alaska the way he would like, but he’s content to spend time with her in her room with the Colonel, smoking cigarettes and talking about life in general.
When tragedy strikes, Miles and The Colonel struggle to accept that they have lost one of their numbers; perhaps the most prominent of their group. They try to determine the thoughts and actions that lead to their friends death, and discover a whole new side to their friends (past and present) along the way.
It’s difficult to talk about the plot without giving away too many spoilers, so forgive my rather succinct synopsis. The book is divided into two sections, which essentially break down into a “before” and “after”. It’s a gripping tale with some great plot twists, and I ended up finishing this book in a couple of days because I simply couldn’t put it down.
Like all John Green novels, I shed a tear reading this, which is a sign of bloody good writing! Most John Green novels, I have noticed, save the best part of the novel until the very end. Like The Fault in Our Stars, this novel did the same thing. That’s what I really enjoy about John Green’s novels though – once you finish the book, the story doesn’t really end. It gives the reader plenty of food for thought, and when you close the back cover, you sit there thinking “Wow.” – To me, that’s why I read books, and that’s why I’m such a huge John Green fan now.
I admit that I didn’t like Looking For Alaskaquite as much as The Fault in Our Stars, but then again the latter did set an impossibly high bench mark for all other unread John Green novels to live up to. But each novel has it’s own positive attributes, and I really did enjoy reading this novel just as much as TFiOS.
Evidently, I’m on a bit of a John Green bender right now, so chances are that you can probably expect more reviews of his books to grace your computer screens in the near future!
Overall rating: 4/5