Thursday, July 10, 2014

Book Review: Looking for Alaska

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Published: December 2006 by Speak
Amazon Goodreads

Synopsis: The award-winning, genre-defining debut from #1 bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars.

Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award.
Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist.
New York Times bestseller

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy 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. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . .

After. Nothing is ever the same.

I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green about a year ago and really liked. My favorite part about the book was John Green's writing style. The voice of his characters was spectacular and a book that was heartbreaking still managed to be hilarious. I wanted to read another John Green book this month so I asked the experts (Twitter) and settled on Looking for Alaska after much debate with myself, others, and my best friend. And when the book was all over I was extremely happy with the choice.

My biggest trepidation with this book was the characters. The synopsis makes the title character of Alaska sound like a cliche "Manic Pixie Dream," a trope that I absolutely despise. And while Alaska had a lot of elements of the type she didn't feel cliche, she seemed to have a lot more depth that I had initially predicted. I enjoyed her story and learning more about her as the book developed. But maybe she didn't feel like a MPDG because of how her story developed.

And just like most John Green books there were tons of amazing and fantastic characters that felt realistic and complex. I was reading this book as part of my "Geek Books" month and these characters absolutely fit the built. They were all a litlle quirky and weird with something they were totally obsessed with. I was instantly a fan of the main character Pudge and his odd fascination with famous last words and his desire for experience "the Great Beyond." He was a great character to follow on a coming of age story like this. I also became totally enamored with "The Captain" who is completely hilarious and weird, and the other secondary characters like Takumi, Lara, and The Eagle weren't bad either. Mostly I really liked the relationship that they all had together. It was a genuine friendship and so fun to read about.

And like all John Green books, Looking for Alaska was full of laugh out loud moments and heartbreaking moments. At one point in the book I was ugly crying in the dark wondering how things could possibly continue with all the pain I was feeling, but when the book was over I was surprised to feel happy and satisfied. How something that ripped my heart out could proceed to put it back together I'll never know! If anyone can do it, John Green can. That is something few authors can do, and John Green is on that list! He is just another fine example that the Contemporary novels that I love are able to balance the heavy moments of life with lighthearted and happy ones.

This book perfectly captured what it feels like to be young. It communicated the angst and ecstasy that is being in love for the first time, losing someone you care about for the first time, and making your way in the world without really knowing who you are and who you want to be. It was all about exploration and ended up being a brilliant coming of age story that made me remember those days when the whole world was in front of me and it was up to me if I wanted to succeed or screw up. The book also took on a much deeper meaning as it examined more philosophical and spiritual ideas but avoided being too preachy with the concepts. It was a fun and engaging read that made you think and feel.

This is definitely a John Green book I would recommend to not only teens but adults. It does deal with some heavy concepts including sex, but it does it tactfully and expertly. I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed this book.

I give Looking for Alaska by John Green a 9 out of 10

I would recommend this book to fans of Young Adult Contemporary novels or someone looking for a book that will give them a good cry. This book will touch you deep in your soul, will rip your heart out, but you'll be happy about it!

Have you read Looking for Alaska? What did you think? Also what is your favorite John Green book? I'm hoping to read some more of his books but would love to hear your opinions on them. Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. I'm not a big fan of young adult fiction but I really loved TFIOS and I want to read Looking for Alaska too. Your review just makes it even more tempting.

    1. It was better than I expected and it would definitely appeal to someone who isn't much of a fan of YA. Hope you check it out and enjoy!

  2. Looking For Alaska is an amazing book! I am really looking forward to the movie! Awesome review!

    -Devin (

    1. I didn't know they were making a movie! I thought the next John Green book to get a movie was Paper Towns. Very cool.

  3. Looking for Alaska has so many meanings for each reader, I think that's what makes it such a good work! I really loved this book - it was simple, and the atmosphere behind it is almost so solemn and intimate, if that makes any sense. I enjoyed it a lot.

    1. That's John Green for you. There are so many layers in his books that they appeal to a wide range of people in different ways. I definitely agree about the atmosphere being solemn and intimate. It felt like you were a part of this group dealing with the good and the bad along with them.

  4. So um not to be that person to point out mistakes it's the Colonel not the captain . sorry that just really bothers me.