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John Green has written a book which is very moving and relatable, despite the unlikelihood of the circumstances. The book is very well written, and 'Pudge', the narrator, has a thing for knowing peoples last words - this is very different, but in itself is very interesting. I want to give away as little as possible, but there is a twist in the book as in any good book. My only point would be that the big 'event' occurs around the middle of the book, and the end can seem a little dragged out - although I enjoyed it all the same. It is quite a heavy book, and is not as good as The Fault in Our Stars, however it was a good read for young people. For me, it was reminiscent of Skins (UK TV series), the plot was interesting but, unlike some books, I found myself able to take breaks from it without being desperate to finish. Although it is a good book, and worth reading, it is not as good as his other main book, or books for the same age group e.g. The Hunger Games. I would recommend this to anyone who doesn't mind sad books, but it is for the older teens.
I was given my first John Green book by a friend and after finishing it, I immediately went and purchased Looking For Alaska.
It focuses on a young man's experiences in a boarding school in Alabama. This young man, named Miles, but referred to throughout the novel as "Pudge", has a penchant for last words and is thrown into a new social circle when he is dragged into a feud between the boarders and the "Weekday Warriors", who are a group of students who return home at the weekend. They take him and do something awful, which I won't tell as it'd spoil it, and his room mate Chip ("The Colonel") takes him under his wing and introduces him to a fantastic, if emotionally variable girl named Alaska.
The mid part of the book focuses on Pudge and Alaska's friendship and how it develops and changes, and then after a certain point, something happens. I won't disclose what it is as it would spoil the book, but I'm still shocked that it happened, and I read it months ago. The final part of the book focuses the changes in life for Pudge after this event.
I loved this book - it captures John Green's way of being bitterly sarcastic and funny at the same time and juggling fantasy and a sense of verisimilitude very few authors can grasp so well. I would recommend this book to anybody who is into young adult fiction, though I made my mother read it too and she loved it! I read this in one sitting and have no doubt that anyone who begins to read it will as well.
Looking for Alaska by John Green is about Love, friendship and death. The main character Miles Halter, nicknamed 'Pudge', is leaving home for College and as he is a geeky dork type of boy he leaves without many regrets as he doesn't have many friends. He goes to college looking for his 'Great Perhaps' and has a love for people's last words. On his first day he meets his roommate Chip Martin, nicknames 'The Colonel', who is a bit of a redneck nerd and has a big reputation of a practical joker. Miles also meets the Colonels friend Alaska Young; she us gorgeous, cleaver, funny, sexy, screwed up and utterly fascinating. Miles could not be more in love with her. However, as he makes more friends and finally settles in to college, a tragedy strikes which makes Miles discover the value and the pain of living and loving unconditionally.
This novel is absolutely beautiful. The story is both happy and wonderful but then is hits you like a ton of bricks and you find you cannot put the book down! The style of writing that John Green has used fit with the story perfectly. It doesn't have chapters, it's styled out as before and after, which makes you want to continue reading till the end. This teenage romance is nothing as you'd expect, as there is not much love and mushy stuff, but more friendship and tragedy. It will make you laugh out loud and cry your heart out. I finished this book while at work and I couldn't stop crying but I was happy! I can't give too much of a description otherwise it will spoil the book, so I advise you go and give it a read. This novel definitely deserves more publicity considering it is one of John Green's books. 10/10 I would give this, and I don't usually give perfect scores, but this was a definite whooper!
Miles has no friends, a boring school life, a non-existent social life, and a love of other peoples last words. His favourite, 'I go to seek a Great Perhaps', inspires him to pack up and head off to boarding school. There he meets his first friends... and his first love. But then, of course - Tragedy.
Now, we all know that Looking for Alaska is a very popular book, and I wish I had picked it up sooner.
When books are 'hyped up', especially by mostly teenaged girls, I tend to stay away, thinking that the books can't possibly live up to the expectations. Boy, was I wrong to do so in this case. I couldn't put the book down. I flew through it in less than a day (once I'd reached the halfway point, there was no stopping me), and I really felt what the characters, all of them, were feelings. In a way, it was almost like I was 16 again, and Miles' new friends were becoming my new friends, too.
I laughed, and I cried. Oh God, did I cry! A book can, quite easily, draw a few tears from my eyes, but only a rare, masterpiece of writing can make me cry like I did whilst reading 'Looking for Alaska'. There were tears, sobs, and a very snotty tissue. Because John Greens writing really connected me to his characters, he made me love them, and laugh with them, and also share in their heartbreak.
Overall, I wish I had picked up this book sooner, because it was fantastic. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone (no doubt I will be doing so at work), and it is a book that I will no doubt read again. I look forward to diving into more of John Greens books in the (hopefully near!) future.
I decided to read this book, after seeing it being mentioned on countless blogs and hearing only positive things about it. I was a little dubious because I suppose this book would be classed as 'teen fiction' and I didn't know if I would really enjoy it, although it proved an entertaining light read.
The story revolves around Miles aka 'Pudge' a 16 year old who leaves his Florida home to go to a boarding school in Alabama in search of a "great perhaps". Once he arrives at Culver Creek, he meets his new room-mate Chip (The Colonel) who has a reputation for being a bit of a prankster, and they soon become firm friends. Not long after, he is introduced to the Colonel's partner in crime, the beautiful but mysterious Alaska Young. Of course Miles falls for Alaska, and much of the story centres on his hopeless infatuation with her. The three of them, along with a couple of other pals, are all extremely intelligent, but prone to getting in trouble with one of the teachers, who they refer to as 'The Eagle', because of their love of pulling pranks around school. Alas, tragedy strikes Miles' new life at the Creek, and then the main themes of the novel are revealed.
John Green has managed to produce a really great little novel, which touches on some of the harsher times in teenage life. It's a novel about growing up, what it means to have friends, and how to cope when you lose people that are important to you. It also deals with some of the more predictable themes, such as first love/first kiss etc.
For me, this book was slightly reminiscent of Donna Tartt's 'The Secret History' and Brett Easton Ellis' 'The Rules of Attraction'. Although this book was set at a boarding school, and not at a college, a lot of the language seemed familiar, as well as some of the issues that the aforementioned books touch on. Obviously with 'Looking for Alaska' I think that it is aimed at a slightly younger audience, and it's not quite as sophisticated, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
I think John Green probably wanted the reader to feel moved by some of the passages in this book, but I didn't react like that at all. I don't know if I'm just being a bit heartless, but characters such as Alaska didn't endear themselves to me at all, so it was hard to muster up any sympathy for her. I really did like the character of 'The Colonel', he was definitely mischievous but it was obvious that he had a good heart, and really did care for his friends.
This book has it's serious moments, but there is also a fair bit of humour involved, notably some of the very impressive pranks the gang manage to pull off, which I'm such if I was still in school, I would have been pretty blown away with!
I finished this book in about two sittings, as it's really not a long book at all, and it's easy to get caught up in. I think if you are looking for some light reading, with a compelling story, then this would be the ideal book.
I'd definitely consider reading some of John Green's other book in the future, as the language he uses is fairly evocative and the characters engaging enough to be believable.
This book is widely available, and I picked up my copy from Waterstones.com who offer free delivery in the UK! The cost was £4.89, so you can actually save yourself a bit of money online, rather than buying it in store.
I'll admit, when I first read the synopsis on the back of the book I wasn't too impressed. It seemed like yet another predictable, teenage fairy tail love story kind of book, but I read and finished the book non the less purely out of curiosity due to a friend telling me how good it was - I wanted to see for my self what all the fuss was about!
The main character in the story is a 16 year old boy named Miles Halter, an individual who feels somewhat isolated and dreams of making new friends. Upon arriving at Culver Creek boarding school, he befriends Chip (aka The The Colonel), and through Chip he meets Alaska. The fact that the main character is male is somewhat of a novelty, but it's short lived and the story soon is focused almost entirely on Alaska and Miles' infactuation with her. Miles is a very loveable character - the type you just want to hug and nurture. He is what makes the book what it is, and his character's feelings and personality developing throughout the book is a very interesting and uplifting read.
The book I would say would be best for young adults and perhaps mature teenagers (14-15 plus). It does contain quite a bit of swearing, sex, alchohol and other typical teenage shenanigans, although it does touch upon some sensetive subjects such as the death of a loved one etc so it is not a book that is meaningless or too predictable. I think John Green was quite brave in writing some of the paragraphs that are in this book as I am sure a lot of writers wouldn't touch some of the subject matters in such detail, however his effort in writing a believable and touching story is much appreciated by me personally - the book made me feel alot of emotions which were both good and bad - anxious, worried, teary eyed and of course happy. It is the type of book that made me reflect on my own life and question a few things, but in a positive way, and it made me realise that sometimes not been able to see into the future, or knowing certain things is the best way for things to be and is better for yourself and those around you.
Overall I loved this book, however I am not keen on reading it again as now that I know the ending I feel it won't be the same reading it again - there won't be any suspense or anxiosness to see what happens etc the second time around - the twists and turns are what makes the book what it is so reading it again is kind of pointless in my personal opinion. The book ended well and I was satisfied with the outcome. John Green writes amazingly well and the story is a very good one and I would reccomend giving this book a read. It is much better than I had thought it would be and I now agree fully with my friend that it is a great book.
I picked up my paperback copy of the book from a charity shop for something silly like 30p, however after a quick Google search I can confirm it is available from Amazon Uk for £3.75 with free delivery which in my opinion is a good price as it is a good book and a decent length too with 272 pages.
Looking for Alaska takes you on a journey through the unknown life of college, through Miles (a guy obsessed with learning the last words of people), as he meets one Alaska Young (a girl trying to escape her own labyrinth).
Thoughts / Opinions:
Whilst this book may be labelled as a children's novel, I think it would suit almost any age - the plot is relatable to most teenagers. The prospect of growing up, experiencing first loves, alcohol mixed with drugs, mystery, pranking - yet it is much more than that. Along with a wider range of characters that combine the excitement of college life with the unpredictability of young lives, Green's narrative talent takes you to a new world, full of the tension and heartache that some people experience growing up.
This was the first time I had read anything by John Green, so after having read this, I was surprised to know that this was only his début novel. Words cannot describe the amazing writing technique that he possesses - you can transported right into the heart of the action, feeling the intense emotions of the characters with a resonance that is hard to come by in the literary world today. It is a novel that you want to read over and over again, despite the roller-coaster of emotions it pulls you through.
This heart-breaking and tear-jerking novel is definitely worth a read, whether you end up loving it or not, it is truly (in my opinion) a true literary masterpiece. It is available to all generations - from the teenager experiencing it at the same time, to adults who want to remember their past, but for both it helps to realise the true potential in life.
You don't even know how EXCITED/HAPPY I was when I opened up the package to find this. If you were there, you probably would've seen my eyes glaze over, mouth shaped as a perfect 'O', admiring the beautiful masterpiece that is Looking for Alaska, in total awe of this book that I've (shamefully) waited so long to read. Now, what is so special about Looking for Alaska, you ask? And well, if you *do* ask that, then I don't even know what is wrong with you. Go visit Amazon.co.uk RIGHT NOW, search for 'Looking for Alaska/any other John Green book' and click ADD TO BASKET. AND THEN BUY because y'all are going to be freakin' BLOWN AWAY by this.
Looking for Alaska tells the story of a boy who is content with memorising the last words of famous people. A boy who moves to Culver Creek boarding school, where he is hoping to meet some new friends (he doesn't have many at the moment..) who will help him on his mission to seek his "Great Perhaps". There, he meets his new roommate the Colonel (real name: Chip) and the gorgeous, crazy Alaska Young. This is the story of Miles Halter, but most of all, it's a story of friendship, loss and love.
John Green, wow. I wonder if he can impress me anymore than he already has, because I don't know about you, but there's something about his writing that makes me feel overwhelmed- with beauty and enchantment and just wowness.
The way in which Looking for Alaska was set-up was fantastic; split up into Before and After. (Before and After what you'll just have to find out by reading it, won't cha?) The first half was paced quite slowly, very cleverly actually, we meet all these new people, people that Pudge will be seeing nearly everyday, and then we see the kind of things that they like to get up to in their spare time: smoking, drinking and pulling pranks on the Weekday Warriors (READ IT). Like you do.
The way each bit was separated was fascinating, counting down until The Day, almost like some sort of bomb. Don't even ask me why I'm comparing it to a bomb, but it reminded me of one, kay?! I swear, trying to explain it is the craziest thing every, I bet John Green had a lot of fun laughing at all the people who dared to review his work.
When I think about it..there isn't *actually* much of a plot. I guess a lot of it is driven by the characters. And the pranks. That's what makes it stand out against other YA novels..
Pudge (Miles's nickname given to him by Alaska, keep up!) was SUCH a great character. And by 'great' I meant totallyrelatableandstuff. But seriously, and not just him, all the characters in Looking for Alaska, The Colonel, Takumi and Alaska, they were all so real, so ordinary, just like you and me, but Green managed to make them seem so special. His writing, all the things he can do with this bunch of words, it's something I could only *dream* of achieving. BUT, having said that they are ALL just like you and me (bor-ing) except Takumi. Takumi is the *swear-word* FOX. AND NOBODY CATCHES THE FOX. *dies*
There's parts of the book that are so funny, they had me laughing out loud, and then you get to places where you can practically SEE every raw emotion right before you eyes. It's mind-blowing.
I know this is only the fourth month of the year, but Looking for Alaska beats all the other books BY FAR for the title of 'Best Book (This Year)' and that's saying something because everything I've had the chance to read so far this year has been pretty awesome. But guys..Looking for Alaska is like..a special kind of awesome. Reserved only for books written by people whose names begin with 'John and end with 'Green'. Y'know what I mean?
John Green knows exactly what makes us YA readers tick, and he uses that and I LIKE IT.
I'll stop gushing now.