Monday, 21 July 2014

Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Cover Artist: Linda McCarthy
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: March 2005
Genre: Contemporary YA fiction
Page Count: 221
Original Language: American English
Format Read: Hardback
Other books in series: N/A
Movie Adaptation: In progress

Where you can buy it: Amazon, The Book Depository, Waterstones, Ebay, Barnes and Noble

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Looking for Alaska by John Green is a book that everyone seems to adore. And I semi-agree with everyone. If I had to pick one person to meet in my life, it would probably be this man, because I am constantly amazed by his intellect and his ability to just be an incredible human being. So when I'm reviewing this book, please take into account the fact that I'm reviewing the book and not the man behind it. 


Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words - and is tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Fran├žois Rabelais called "The Great Perhaps." Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.  

The first page:

*Spoiler Alert - this review assumes you are very familiar with the story*

This is the fourth book of Green's that I've read and I did notice it to become slightly repetitive of his other works. It was more to do with the characters than anything else - every John Green book is like a tick list, that has to include a nerdy guy chasing after a slightly-nerdy-but-not-too-nerdy independent girl who has a lot of emotional problems and when the guy doesn't get what he wants straight away he goes to ridiculous lengths to get it. It's only after a few books that you begin to notice that problem, which is why I enjoyed the first two books I read of his more than the other two. 

It was very philosophical throughout and I really liked that. The whole labyrinth of suffering was actually a very original concept and probably my favourite element of the book. I could relate to the feeling of the labyrinth, and I think that's why people like Alaska. Not for her personality, but for her ideals. None of them were very strong or likeable characters, but I think that was the point of the novel. No one is perfect... you cannot simply build an image of what you think they are and then they become it. It was very true to real life and I really respect that.

It got boring a long time after Alaska died. It felt like a bit of a task to read, but once it got to the big prank I was laughing so so much! I just loved the imagery of the whole scene. It is a rare moment when a book makes me laugh out loud. 

It is often frustrating to never know the truth, and this book captured that perfectly. I'm not sure about the whole goose chase to find out why she died though. It was clear Mile's intention was to figure out her last words which even he knew was never going to happen, and so it was a but pointless. 

As always with John green books, there are some gems of quotations in there. You cannot fault his writing technique. It was a little bit like The Great Gatsby's in the narration because of the tense changes just as and after she dies. He goes to present tense just after she dies which was a very clever writing technique and then he slides back in to past tense, which shows that he has really thought about his structure rather than just the words. 

I admit, I didn't understand the hype with this book. I only liked it so much because of its philosophy, and although I understood it I felt as though something was missing. Don't ask me what that something is... I'm stuck in the labyrinth of suffering aka FEELS.

I decided to give it 3/5 cups of British tea:

About the author:
John Michael Green (born August 24, 1977) is an American author of young adult fiction, YouTube video blogger (vlogger) and creator of online educational videos. He won the 2006 Printz Award for his debut novel, Looking for Alaska, and his most recent novel, The Fault in Our Stars debuted at number 1 on The New York Times Best Seller list in January 2012. The 2014 film adaptation opened at #1 at the box office. In 2014 Green was included in Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world.Aside from being a novelist, Green is also well known for his YouTube ventures. 

Where to find John Green: Website, Youtube, Tumblr

1 comment:

  1. This book gave me a hangover when it ended. I now want everyone I know and everyone who matters to read it. Its really enriching because it blends in all the components of self deprecating humour rightly angled. It's funny and it's opaque, its a lot like Catcher in the Rye but Rye never gave me a hangover. I don't miss Rye as much as I miss this book. A definite modern day classic. Watch out for the Eagle. This could be the best y.a.f in a while.


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