Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Publication Date: December 28, 2006
Age Rating: Readers over 14
My Opinion: 10/10
Now that the school year is coming to a close, everybody will have more time to read. This week's book review is about a book that is an absolute summer must-read. Looking for Alaska, a novel by John Green (pre-TFIOS), is one of the most intense novels that I have ever read in my entire life. Each and every page had a different thought about life that has made me view the world in a different way.
When Miles "Pudge" Halter decides to transfer to boarding school, he is searching for a "Great Perhaps". He is not a popular kid, and he wants the opportunity to reinvent himself and find his niche. As soon as Pudge moves into Culver Creek boarding school, he meets a few people that will change his life forever. He gets to know his roommate, the Colonel, and his friends, Takumi and Alaska. Pudge instantly becomes obsessed with the beautiful Alaska, and she represents adventure and mystery to him. The group welcomes Pudge into their pranks and trouble-making. However, when things go too far and a terrible accident occurs, they only have each other to turn to. Throughout the novel, Pudge learns about life, love, and finding happiness when everything around him seems to be going wrong.
This book was so good that it is difficult for me to put my thoughts about it in words. Although I absolutely loved John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, in my opinion, Looking for Alaska is even better. It is more relatable for high schoolers who are trying to figure out relationships and friendships. John Green portrays a number of social issues in the novel, such as drug and alcohol abuse and broken families, in a deep and meaningful way. I felt myself becoming more and more emotionally attached to all of the characters as the novel went on.
My absolute favorite part about Looking for Alaska is that it is written from Pudge's perspective. It gives insight into the teenage mind because Pudge wants to be liked by those around him. He's certainly not perfect, and reading about Pudge's foibles and flaws makes the novel all the more interesting. For instance, Pudge has an obsession with last words, and he has memorized thousands of the unimportant phrases that people say before they die. His quirky habit quickly takes a deeper meaning and adds to the significance of the novel.
The only thing that I was not a fan of in Looking for Alaska was how Pudge and his friends were avid cigarette smokers. I realize that it is important to the story, but it seemed unrealistic that they could smoke every day and never get caught.
The novel is certainly geared towards a high school audience, and I would not recommend that anybody under ninth grade read it because it has some advanced concepts. However, I think that everybody, both teens and adults, should eventually read this book because it has so many life lessons spelled out in a mere 221 pages. Almost every page of the book has at least one quote about life that I wanted to write down and remember forever. I hope that you take the opportunity to learn more about the world around you by reading Looking for Alaska.