02/01/2013

Book Review | Looking for Alaska by John Green

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Release Date: March 3rd 2005
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 221
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Summary
"Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (Fran├žois Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, 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, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.
After. Nothing is ever the same."


My Thoughts

I read this March last year and it was my first experience reading John Green and I'm so glad this is the first one I chose to read! This book is now one of my favourite stand alone books of all time it’s just that good. Firstly John Green's writing style is just incredible, and it’s one of the first times I've enjoyed reading from a male narrator's perspective as I normally sway towards female characters.

Miles, a.k.a. ‘Pudge’, is a highly relatable character I think for both males and females; this is due to his initial 'new comer' status at the start of the novel. The other two ‘main’ characters in the story are the namesake Alaska and also Chip who is nicknamed ‘The Colonel’. Alaska is probably my favourite character of the novel, I love how carefree she is initially but as her character is developed her vulnerability really comes through. Her relationship with Pudge is for once I find in a contemporary book extremely realistic, it’s not just ‘insta-love’ but an actual development of feelings and the struggles of getting together.  The Colonel is a character that I didn’t think I would like at first as he seemed quite obnoxious and was a little bit mean but I really started to warm to him likewise as he seemed to start to warm to Pudge. The other characters in the book weren’t all as prominent as the main three but fit well into the flow of the book and also provided a lot of the comic relief.

As the titles of each chapter are named as a decreasing number of days ‘before’ and then near the end of the book, increasing number of days ‘after’, it’s quite clear initially that it is a countdown to an event, and by reading of the synopsis its quite a life changing moment. I really liked this aspect as I thought it was a unique twist on chapter titles, and also when reading it gives you an anxious feeling the lower the chapter numbers become as you know the big event is coming.

The plot was well paced and you continually wanted to read on, I think this is due to the skipping of time periods that highlighted the important parts of the characters life rather than a ‘day-to-day’ style.
I won’t delve much into the ‘after’ portion of the novel as I don’t want to include spoilers but the ending was probably my favourite part of the book. The last lines had my eyes watering with that kind of happy-sadness, as if I was myself going through the emotions of Pudge. 

Rating


This book will make you laugh, cry and inspire you. It is nothing if not memorable, a book you cannot forget

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