Looking for Alaska by John Green

Imma gonna try a new tactic with the review writing. I believe it’s called “being concise?” Foreign concept ’round here, but, but, but… I’ll give it my best.

How’s this? DUDE. I LOVED THIS BOOK.

I totally nailed it, right!?!?!

Yeah, I know. Concise, but not good enough, not by far, right?  So lemme tell ya ’bout this book. (Apparently concise, to my brain, means droppin’ letters.) (Go figure.)

So. Looking for Alaska by John Green. I totally read John Green’s books backwards. This is his first, I read it last. I freaking adored PAPER TOWNS and that Katherine’s book? While not comPLETEly tripping my trigger, it was still pretty darn good. Looking for Alaska? Totally blew them all out of the water. If I was a teenager, I would be completely worshipping John Green right now, just like all those other Nerdfighters do. Okay, yeah, I do. He blows my skirt up a bit, I will not lie.

Plus, he’s pretty darn cute.

….

Ah, yes! The book! You want to know what the book is ABOUT, yes? Egads! Forsooth!

First and foremost, Looking for Alaska is a coming-of-age tale, something I have always loved. Miles Halter, social misfit and purveyor of “Famous Last Words” has talked his parents into sending him to boarding school. I know, total reversal of tropes, yes? Miles wants to leave the safety of home and high school to go and seek “The Great Perhaps.” (Famous last words of François Rabelais.) So off to Culver Creek Preparatory School where he meets the Colonel, another… oh gosh… the Colonel is what I would normally call a “character” if I knew him in real life. That’s just what he is. A “character.” He is so lovely conflicted, hilarious, brilliant, witty, sarcastic… can you tell I loved him? And Miles meets the eponymous Alaska, who is also what I would call a “character” and whom Miles quickly comes to adore. And she has an additional characteristic. Mystery. She’s so mysterious, a trait she affects with gusto, and I couldn’t help but be sucked it just as much as Miles was. AND she’s a book lover.

These kids go through so much together. They “grow up” a lot in the few months the novel covers. And they are so smart! The dialogue in this book? It’s completely brilliant. Witty. Sarcastic. It’s exactly what I love in a YA novel, a John Green novel, a book I want. to. read. (I’m pretty sure I’ll be rereading it soon.) (I read it to fast last time). Miles, the Colonel, Alaska and their friends navigate the waters of boarding school and all its tests, pranks, hookups and breakups, and revelations about life. These guys reminded me so much of my friends when I was in high school. The banter, the love, hate, competition, the friendship. The pranks! I was totally taken aback as the direction Green was going became abundantly clear. I was shattered. Sobbingly so. Which just goes to show just how much Green made me care for, hay LOVE, these characters.

WIth this last John Green novel under my belt, I can confidently say he is a favorite writer, which is big. I usually only have favorite books. I can only say with certainty that I have 3 favorite writers now. Neil Gaiman. Wilkie Collins. And John Green. Oh, and JK Rowling. Why does I always forget her? Oh yes, stay on point Heather. Yes, John Green is a favorite writer, for his amazingly real characters, his way with words, with dialogue, with pulling at these heartstrings. I can totally see why it won the Printz award, despite being a first novel.  He kills me with every book and I know the next one will be even more killer. My heart is bidding it’s time until January. Thank goodness I already preordered The Fault in Our Stars. And it will. be. signed. Fangirl swoon.

I have so many favorite quotes I want to share, but I’ll try to keep it to two. Or maybe three. Quite possibly four. Let’s just see how this goes….

“When adults say, “Teenagers think they are invincible” with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”

“It’s not because I want to make out with her.”

Hold on.” He grabbed a pencil and scrawled excitedly at the paper as if he’d just made a mathematical breakthrough and then looked back up at me. “I just did some calculations, and I’ve been able to determine that you’re full of shit”

“Have you really read all those books in your room?”

Alaska laughing- “Oh God no. I’ve maybe read a third of ‘em. But I’m going to read them all. I call it my Life’s Library. Every summer since I was little, I’ve gone to garage sales and bought all the books that looked interesting. So I always have something to read.”

The Colonel led all the cheers.
“Cornbread!” he screamed.
“CHICKEN!” the crowd responded.
“Rice!”
“PEAS!”
And then, all together: “WE GOT HIGHER SATs.”
“Hip Hip Hip Hooray!” the Colonel cried.
“YOU’LL BE WORKIN’ FOR US SOMEDAY!”

I particularly love that last one. 🙂

So, I don’t think I was particularly concise, okay yeah, I wasn’t AT ALL, but I didn’t really think I could be. And at least I got it written. I hope I’ve encouraged you to give Looking for Alaska a try. It’s an amazing book, by an amazing author and one not to be missed.

iconicon

8 thoughts on “Looking for Alaska by John Green

  1. This was my first of Green's books and it compeltely hooked me. I loved the writing, the characters, the pace, everything. Paper Towns was wonderful too and I have the Katherine book, but have been saving it.

  2. This was the first John Green book I read and fell in love with. I quickly grabbed everything he'd written and loved them too! Waiting for his next one to love.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *