Review: Looking for Alaska

Title: Looking for Alaska

Author: John Green

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Release Date: March 3, 2005
Published: Dec. 2006

Pages: 160 (Hardcover)

Genre: realistic, contemporary, YA

Audience: 16+

Source: District book give-away

Summary from Goodreads:

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.

Overall Impression: This book has sat on my shelf for two years and I can’t believe that I allowed that to happen. I fell in love with this book. John Green is quickly turning into my favorite author. However, I must warn my students that Green is not for everybody. Looking for Alaska deals with some mature issues and some of the language could be deemed offensive. I highly recommend this book along with a few other Green titles that I will share at a later date.

What I liked: Everything! To begin with, the structure is unique. The chapters are broken down into a countdown of days. The very first page pulls you in and after that the book never lets you go. In addition, the characters are intelligent teenagers. It’s a nice to see teenagers portrayed as witty and smart, young adults. The quirkiness of the characters is what makes them so appealing (Pudge with his last lines and Alaska with her books).  I liked that the story was reminiscent of A Separate Peace and Catcher in the Rye  but with a whole new, modern twist. I don’t want to put in spoilers so I’m speaking vaguely but you will laugh out loud and cry. This is a book you won’t want to put down, yet you will dread the day you finish it.

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