As a huge supporter of young adult literature, John Green is one of the authors that top my list. John Green is definitely an example of how young adult literature can be used as a viable source of literature and SHOULD be used in classrooms.
Moving on though, its been forever since I did a Book of the Week post because, sadly, I was so busy between Christmas and all the birthdays that I have going in December and I literally had no time to read anything. But now that I still have a month left of glorious winter vacation before I hit the books again in school, I can consume all the books that I received as Christmas gifts.
One of those books was Looking for Alaska, by John Green.
Which leads me to our book of the week.
Looking for Alaska by John Green
In this award winning novel by John Green, we meet high school junior, Miles also known as Pudge, who decides to go to a boarding school in Alabama because life at home is just normal and boring. He doesn’t have any friends; no one even shows up for his going away party. And he’s obsessed with last words; he can recall the last words of countless famous people and he knows that he can’t get those kind of events, those kind of words living at home, where nothing happens.
So he goes to boarding school, where on his first day, he immediately is pulled into the world that is created on that campus. He becomes friends with his roommate, Chip aka the Colonel, which gains him friends with Takumi and the extremely beautiful and kind of crazy Alaska Young. How could Pudge resist? Of course he falls in love with her! How could he not, how could anyone not? Soon there are pranks to pull, classes to ditch, a lenient but kind of scary headmaster to avoid and some seriously teen awesomeness to experience.
The Good or The Bad:
Honestly, I feel like I should have read Looking for Alaska before I read The Fault in Our Stars. The Fault was a one of a kind book that literally broke my heart and changed the way I see young adult literature… again. It was a unique story in the very familar world of teenage life. It was the third book I had read by John Green: I love An Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns was an extreme let down. There just isn’t a book like The Fault in our Stars.
That being said, I really enjoyed Looking for Alaska. I like the story of boarding school…there’s something awesome about kids and teenagers basically having the run of the place without the influence of parents around all the time. Why do you think Harry, Hermione and Ron got into so much trouble while tucked in away in wizarding boarding school? No parental guidance, just a bunch of teachers who are too busy knocking back firewhiskey (or normal) in their offices late at night to notice the mischief that is so clearly going on.
I really like Miles a.k.a. Pudge too. He’s a typical teenage boy, playing video games, smoking cigarettes, eating bufriedos, and so on. Pining after the insanely beautiful but completely unattainable Alaska Young. Getting his first blow job by the hot Romanian student. I love Pudge.
I didn’t like Alaska at all. I don’t know why but something about her drove me insane. I loved Pudge and Takumi and Lara and the Colonel and I could understand the allure of Alaska Young but she was hot and crazy and maybe that’s extremely appealing to most guys or something but she was insane. And everyone loved her; maybe that was the point. She had losses early in her life and sometimes she made mistakes and she didn’t know how to handle when she did. I could understand that and I can understand being so extremely confused by just being a teenager, with all those emotions.
But a lot of what happened to me, as far as storyline, was very predictible to me. I didn’t feel the kind of shock and heartbreak that I felt in other books. When (SPOILER) Alaska Young ends up dead in a car crash, I wasn’t surprised in the least. People said they cried like crazy when that part happened but I feel like I didn’t even flinch in the slightest. I mean, sure, I was sad but it didn’t feel like anything I felt when I read the Fault in Our Stars. Maybe I would have appreciated Alaska more if I had read it before The Fault, but that’s the way I read it and Alaska just didn’t reach me the way that Hazel and Augustus did.
I did like all the pranks pulled by people; they were totally fun. I didn’t pull off any pranks whatsoever when I was in high school, mostly because I was kind of shy and social afraid of doing anything that might actually be fun and I didn’t really know any people that would partake in anything like a school prank. So the pranks that I read in this book, like putting hair dye in people’s hair gel and firecrackers and sending out false progress reports and bringing a stripper to a speech day. All fantastic and classic. LOVED it.
Honestly, I did enjoy the book. I read it in one day and I only do that for a book that I am actually interested in and its still a GOOD book but it felt depressingly flat after The Fault in Our Stars and maybe people built up this book so much in my mind that I had extremely high expectations. I definitely recommend that people read this book but I wouldn’t recommend reading it after the Fault if you enjoyed it as much as I did. Like…I literally worship that book so maybe I’m just the slightest bit biased when it comes to judging these books.
The point is, its a great book and it’ll have you glued to the pages through out the entire book. Miles is a fun character and I honestly cracked up during his very blow job because, seriously, it was HILARIOUS! You’ll crave a bufriedo (fried bean burrito) because it sounds both artery clogging and absolutely delicious. You’ll want to take religions with Dr. Hyde because he makes the ideas of religion seem extremely interesting, even for a staunch atheist like me. I want to go to boarding school now, and I want to light firecrackers outside the headmasters’ house and go camping in the rooms and get chased by the evil swan. This is a great, great book and I’m definitely a John Green backer.
What did you think of Looking for Alaska?
One thought on “Book of the Week-Looking for Alaska”
First, it’s probably been 5 years since I read this book, so I don’t remember all the details. I liked the teenage antics and the idea of boarding school (esp. in Alabama). I didn’t love Alaska, but I felt bad for her. We learn at least some of the tragic life she lived. For me, this was about Miles, and Miles loved her. He was slowly understanding her tragic life and trying to make it better (while trying to get close to her).
I’m sure I’ve selectively remembered pieces of the story that support these thoughts and forgot pieces that don’t, but that’s life.