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Looking for Alaska

By: John Green

Published: December, 2006 by Speak

Length: 221

Genre: YA Realistic

Rating: Five Stars

Acquired: Gift

 In searching for “The Great Perhaps” Miles “Pudge” Halter finds himself at boarding school with a new life, new friends, and Alaska Young. It all comes to Alaska. The taken Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

Miles Halter grew up in Florida with very few friends and a limited existence. It isn’t until he is attending Culver Creek Boarding School in Alabama that his life starts to change. He goes there, inspired to find his “Great Perhaps” the famous last words by poet François Rabelais. Obsessed more with famous people’s last words and biographies, Miles doesn’t know know how to really live until he meets Alaska Young. Alaska Young is beautiful, smart, well read, and completely unattainable. She is moody, careless, reckless, and fun. She is your A-typical Manic Pixie Dream Girl. And Miles “Pudge” Halter is in love. But, there is more to Alaska than he, and even her closest friends, know. 

Split in a before and after an event you don’t find out about until the end of before, Looking Up for Alaska is John Green’s debut novel about a boy learning the ins and outs of growing up, falling in love, and what it all means. It’s a well written story that deserves every ounce of the acclaim it has received. Part humorous, part heart-warming, and part heartbreaking, John Green crafts a universal story of what it means to grow up. How hard it can be at times. And, when something happens, who you can count on. The event that happens is somewhat surprising and somewhat expected. How Green handles it is metaphorical beautiful. It’s all in the title. If I ever have a child, my teen is receiving this book from me hands down. It’s universal. Teaches you about friendship, love, and letting go. Even Miles’s obsession with famous last words was great.

There are two major themes/questions in this book both based off of famous last words. The first, of course, is the Great Perhaps. I loved this immensely. Especially through the eyes of a teenager. You are always looking for something, at that age. It’s not always philosophical,  but it’s something. The depth Green added worked. It was convoluted; nor, was it too heavy to understand or believe. It was perfect. The second major theme was more of a question that was asked by Alaska Young, through the possibly fictional words of Simon Bolivar, ” How will I ever get out of this labyrinth?” That question, which Alaska often repeats and becomes central to the plot, `perfectly sums up her. She forever thinks she is living in a labyrinth; but, she is also one to everyone she knows. You never knew what Alaska you would get that day; what wall you would hit that day. Green crafted her well.

I cannot recommend this book enough. Although The Fault in Our Stars is still my favorite book of his, and Paper Towns was more adventurous, this was more realistic and philosophical. It surprised me. I connected to it more than Paper Towns. And, I can see more of a universality to it. This is definitely a book not to miss. I agree with the hype. Maybe not to the whole extent, but to most of it. It leaves you with something. A good something.

 

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