Sep 20, 2013

DeeJay Reviews: Looking for Alaska by @RealJohnGreen #YA


looking for alaska
by John Green

publication date: march 3, 2005
series: standalone
genre: young adult
source: bought

deejay's rating: 
A great study in adolescent torment

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" (Fran├žois 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. (Goodreads)

If there was ever an honest interpretation of what today's youth look, talk and act like, this is it.

At first, I didn't know what to make of this book. I couldn't see where it was going. But I soon realized that it wasn't really going anywhere. It was just a character study examined through the eyes of a young male by the name of Miles. I loved Miles right off the top. I found him funny and quirky and full of intelligent thoughts. Was he wise beyond his years? Nope. He was just as intelligent as you hope a boy his age would be, and that's why I liked him so much.

I loved the fact that he was obsessed with famous last words and kind of used that as his one trait that made him different from everybody else. He clung to last words like his life depended on them. His roommate at boarding school, the Colonel, was fantastic. Talk about raw humor. Everything the Colonel said put a smile on my face. He just seemed so real. He had real emotions and felt them all the way down to his bone marrow. This is something I felt Miles lacked a bit of. It was almost like he was too awkward to feel anything real. Got on my nerves sometimes.

I can't say I was truly fond of the strange and mysterious Alaska Young. I guess I just couldn't see why everyone loved her so much. Sure, she was very, very intelligent, which was definitely a plus, but I couldn't understand what her appeal was outside of that. This was one messed up girl, tormented by her past and so outwardly unhappy she even says so a few times. Why would one be drawn to that? I guessed they all wanted to save her, but no one knew how. She had terrible mood swings, but when she was in a good mood, she made poignant statements and told great jokes. She wasn't so bad when it came down to it, I guess.

Like I said, this was an adolescent character study. So not a lot of things actually happened. It was just them hanging out most of the time, going to class, eating together, and just being young together. It was all about their interactions with each other and how they formed relationships and how status and self-worth is ingrained in us from very early on. Adults won't take away as much from this story as teenagers will, but they can appreciate it. I sure did and recommend it to lovers of contemporary novels. I'm intrigued to read more of John Green's work and have my eye on Paper Towns, which stars another quirky female character. I'll be back to let you know how it is. Happy Reading!

Amazon  |  Barnes&Noble

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