Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Book Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Genre: YA contemporary
Published: 2005

I love John Green's books, but I always find it difficult to sum them up in a review because I don't feel I'll do it justice. Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns all feature teenage boy protagonists, quirky, complex and emotionally distant love interests, stand-out sidekicks and some sort of overarching caper. I suppose it depends which one you read first to determine a favorite (mine was Paper Towns).

Alaska is Green's most celebrated work so far, and it has more heft  than the others since it deals with speculation on suicide. Miles is a new student at boarding school who's looking for an adventure; "the great perhaps," which he read about during his pursuit of final words, which ends up being a theme of the book. Miles is infinitely lucky to be paired with 5-foot super-stud The Colonel as a roommate. He's a total dork, but the type who gets away with it. The Colonel is a classic Green sidekick who's a lot of fun with all his prank-pulling, but also has a deeper side.

Then there's Alaska. Yup, that's her name and she's 16 going on 40. Miles is obsessed with her because she is the quintessential untouchable girl who is mostly a fascination but sometimes allows for a glimpse of vulnerability. Beneath Alaska's boldness are hurts she expresses vaguely, leading to her mystique. I can't fault Green for writing similar characters in his books because he writes them so well.

These are brilliant kids coming of age awkwardly, and friendship always seems to be the overriding factor to bring Green's characters to their resolution. While Paper Towns is still my favorite, Looking for Alaska is a great read.


  1. Thanks for the review! I've heard a lot about this book - and actually won it on a contest a month ago - but it hasn't arrived. I'm a bit leery on suicide-themed books but this one sounds like it goes past typical teen angst.
    New follower!

  2. It's not "dark" but it does have a serious side. I love his books!


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