Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary
Release date: March 3rd, 2005
Pages: 221 (Hardcover)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Won
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Miles "Pudge" Halter is abandoning his safe-okay, boring-life. Fascinated by the last words of famous people, Pudge leaves for boarding school to seek what a dying Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." 

Pudge becomes encircled by friends whose lives are everything but safe and boring. Their nucleus is razor-sharp, sexy, and self-destructive Alaska, who has perfected the arts of pranking and evading school rules. Pudge falls impossibly in love. When tragedy strikes the close-knit group, it is only in coming face-to-face with death that Pudge discovers the value of living and loving unconditionally.

Looking for Alaska begins at Miles' going away party, and because his parents are the only ones who stay for more than a few minutes, the reader really sees what a loner he is.  This is why he's eager to leave home and begin a new life at boarding school, but what he never expected was to bond so well with a group of close friends who accept him as though he's been with them since the beginning of high school.  They nickname him Pudge, ironically, because of his slender frame and he finds himself falling for Alaska Young, possibly the most interesting and out of control girl he's ever met.  This is the story of friendship, love, loss and finding yourself along the way.

For years I've heard amazing things about John Green and his novels.  For years I kept bumping other books to the top of my wishlist, my excitement to read Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, and An Abundance of Katherines slowly depleting.  I finally bought Paper Towns, but I have still yet to read it.  Finally, I won Looking for Alaska and I said enough is enough.  I can definitely say that this book was worth the wait.

While it took a few chapters for me to really get into the story, I found that in a way, Pudge really reminded me of Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  Seeing as that's one of my absolute favorite books, I was very pleased, and I believe that it's one of the factors that made me fall even more in love with the story. Of course, I was able to predict what was going to happen at the beginning of the book, but that didn't matter.  I wanted to know how the characters would handle the loss and I found it all extremely emotional.  Yes, I even shed a tear.

John Green has such a wonderful way with words.  Trust me, if many people are recommending his books, don't put it off.  Looking for Alaska was a quick but beautiful story full of laughs, love and the heartbreaking truth of reality.  Its characters, though diverse, come together after tragedy strikes and learn how to cope.  Highly recommended for those who love emotional contemporary books.


  1. This is one of my favorite books EVER! It's my favorite John Green book (prolly tied with The Fault in Our Stars, I LOVED that one too)! I recently finished An Abundance of Katherines..took a bit to get into but I ended up loving it! Paper Towns was probably my least favorite but still great! Great review, I always love for people to love this book :)

  2. I have yet to read a John Green book I am sad to say but, I watch his vlogs on youtube all the time and I love him. Can't wait to read this one, Great review!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

  3. I just read this book a few days ago. I'll admit that I put quite a bit of pressure on it to be this amazing book(because everyone always talks about how great John Green is), and while I agree that the beginning was a bit slow, once it picked it up I found it really lived up to my expectations. I liked how this book was an emotional book without ever delving into quick platitudes. One of my bookish pet peeves is when authors portray grief unrealistically, and I found it very well-done in this book. Definitely won't be my last John Green.

  4. I wasn't a huge fan of this book when I first read it. I think I found Alaska Young to be incredibly annoying and I couldn't understand what her appeal was. I may reread this book (now that I am totally obsessed with John Green) and see if I find a new appreciation for it.

    Thanks for your review and I am glad you finally got around to reading this one.

    ~Sara @ Just Another Story