Read this for my book club. Too much teen angst for me. While I enjoyed learning about boarding school pranks, food, and life, I didn't much care for the main character Alaska. Enjoyed that this was from the male perspective though. That was a good change of pace.
I will admit that I only picked up this book because it was small and not too many pages. I have heard John Green praised sung upon high and I thought, yeah right. I read the synopsis and it did not impress me. How can this story be interesting? I am about to eat my words.
This book is wonderful and magical. We all know a Pudge or maybe some of us were Pudge in high school. Pudge comes to bording school with no friends just looking for something, anything. He quickly makes friends with his roommate, the Colonel, who introduces him to the brillant and destructive Alaska Young.
Pudge is obsessed with peoples last words that sometimes he forgets what is going on around him. This book is sometimes awkard and somethimes painful to read. The angst of teenage sexuality and how to handle the loss of people you love.
I only wish that I read this book a little slower the first time. I was in such a hurry to see what happened. This is a skinny book but in no way a light read. Slow down and savor the journey that John Green takes you on. I will now have to get all of his books since he has lived up to his hype.
Everyone has it: that one event in their life where the years surrounding it can clearly be defined as "Before" and "After". Welcome to the recount of Miles' Before and After.
Looking for Alaska is a wonderful first novel from John Green. It has been called a "modern day Catcher in the Rye", but it is so much more. It's more likable, more applicable (if that's even possible), and just as poignant of a read. In this novel, join Miles as he leaves his Florida home and regular high school for an Alabama boarding school in search of his "Great Perhaps". At his boarding school, he is immediately surrounded by a diverse group of kids--friends-- who experience life at its best and worst: loves, losses, pranks fit for the history books. It's a book that will have you laughing on one page, and crying ten pages later.
As far as coming of age novels go, this one should not be missed.
I was unimpressed to say the least. I loved The Fault in Our Stars and thought I'd love this as well. The first half of the book included high schoolers smoking, drinking, swearing, and performing oral sex which I was not interested in nor did I want my child to read.
Now the second half of the book was actually amazing and very well written. I just wished I could've skipped the first part to get to it, but then it wouldn't have made sense.
I have read all of John Greens other books and have had Looking for Alaska forever to read. So, I was excited to finally read it. To be honest it wasnt my favorite John Green book (that honor goes to The Fault in Our Stars, followed by Paper Towns, followed by Will Grayson Will Grayson). However, it was still a very good read.
I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was very well done. All the characters voices were easy to distinguish and emotions were portrayed really well too.
Miles Halter is a high school student who is obsessed by last words, he loves to read biographies about authors more than he likes reading the books written by them. Miles big issue is that his whole life has been a bit lot of nothing, he has no friends, no goals. Miles decides that transferring to Culver Creek Boarding School will change all that. And it does. He meets his crazy chain-smoking roommate known as The Colonel. The Colonel introduces him to the funny, beautiful, smart, and slightly insane Alaska Young. Between Alaska and the Colonel, Miles (who is nicknames Pudge in irony of his wiriness) has a decidedly not boring school year.
This was a very well done contemporary YA book. That is basically a coming of age story that deals with issues of teen drinking/smoking, grief, suicide, and sexuality. After reading all of John Greens books and then reading this one you can tell that this was his debut novel. Its a really good book, but it is a little rough around the edges at points.
I loved all of the literary quotes throughout. I also really enjoyed Pudges/Miles obsession with peoples last words. My favorite parts of the story were the pranks the kids pull. There are some pretty darn hilarious pranks in here that had me laughing out loud.
I know there was a lot of controversy over this book when it was released and it was banned in some states/schools. While I hate the idea of banning books, I can understand why people got a little worked up. There is an absolute crapload of drinking, smoking, and sex in this book.
All the kids seem to do well at their classes, this is a group of very smart kids we are reading about here. However they also chain-smoke and drink until they pass out.a lot. At times I would thinkgeez high school wasnt like this when I was in it or I would thinkWow is that what boarding school is really like? I think the behavior in here is pretty extreme for high schoolers. Additionally there are some explicit oral sex scenes and Alaska is absolutely sex-obsessed.
So being completely honest here...reading about people smoking themselves sick, finding new ways to smoke and get away with it, and drinking until they puke really isnt my thing. Yes there is a lot more to the story than that, but there was also a lot of drinking/smoking.
There is a lot of serious meat to the story as well. This is pretty much Miles coming of age story. However, all the characters deal with issues of grief and fitting in. There are a lot of family issues woven into the story (poverty, parents dying). There is also a lot of discussion about suicide and guilt. Ultimately the story is about the painful path that we call life and how to navigate it. This is a very engaging book and it absolutely pulls the reader in. It was hard to stop reading.
Overall a very good coming of age story about teens dealing with fitting in and grief/guilt. To those who dont like reading about a lot of drinking/smoking/puking I might recommend reading one of John Greens other amazing books. If you can get past all of that though this is a very entertaining, engaging and thoughtful book about finding your path in life and dealing with the trials you have to survive to get there.
I'm not sure why I requested this book initially. I don't typically read YA, and this is the second YA book I've read in a row. However, this is an excellent read. The characters are realistic and likeable, the story funny and sad. Well done!