Heyloo lovely readers, how are we all today? It feels like it's been an age since I last did a book review! I usually finish one book and move so quickly onto the next that I completely forget to write up a review - bad blogger! As I've recently finished this one I thought I'd share my thoughts whilst it's still pretty fresh in my mind - and still on my kindle!
I've been a big fan of John green ever since discovering VlogBrothers and reading his international best seller and soon-to-be-released movie, The Fault in Our Stars. I blubbered my way through the whole thing and I can't wait to see how they moved it from page to screen! Exciting!
Today I'm here to talk to you about John Greens first novel, Looking for Alaska. This young adult novel was first published in 2005. Take a 16 year old boy living a pretty non-existent life, filling his days with the dying last words of famous people and send him to Culver Creek High School in search of his great perhaps. Introduce him to the fascinatingly self destructive Alaska Young and watch how she leads him into a great perhaps he could have never imagined.
"..at some point, you just pull off the band-aid and it hurts, but it's over and you're relieved..."
Yes, it's a book intended for a younger audience than my *cough* 26 *cough* year old self, but I'll hold my hand up and admit, I do love young adult fiction. I really wish this book had been given to me when I was 16. At 16 we're all looking for our great perhaps, our adventure. We're standing on the precipice of adult hood, leaving the school days behind and starting to take leaps toward our future, who we want to be, what we want to be when we grow up. At 16, we're coming into our true identities, and being moulded by our experiences in a a very permanent way. This book really captivates that golden age, where we ask more questions then get answers to.
"...nothing can last, not even the earth itself..."
Miles 'Pudge' Halter is asking such questions. He makes the move from public school to boarding school, the same one his dad went to, in search of a new life, a better one that his current quiet, un-eventuful, friendless life. Upon arriving at Culver Creek he meets The Colonel, Takumi, Lara and Alaska. Oh sweet, sexy, dysfunctional, fly-off-the-handle-bars Alaska. She takes Pudge by the hand and runs him straight out of 'plains-ville' and into a world of pranks, booze, smoking, booze and sex. She opens his eyes to the world of girls, and the life behind those famous last words he's so obsessed with.
Though the book is filled with typical angst-ridden teens, their loves and dramas, as someone whose teenage years are well behind her, it brought back a lot of memories - ok, most not so dramatic or booze-filled as the ones in this book but, at the time, they seemed just as dramatic as they do in the book! I found I really related to Pudge - and it's not often I relate to male characters. He pondered - a lot, about a lot of things. He often over thought a situation, and created an image in his mind he was reluctant to let go.
I've read quite a few reviews where people have complained about the characters - and I can see why. They are very stereotypical teenagers, with a little too much of everything; booze, smokes, a love of fried foods and fast foods. Stereotypical. They're not the most developed characters and from start to finish, they don't exactly find themselves but they do go on a journey and, in some way, the age-old 'coming of age' moment does happen. It's a little cliché, but it's a young adult novel about teenagers away at boarding school, how else was it going to end?
"...if only we could see the endless string of consequences that result from our smallest actions. But we can't know better until knowing better is useless..."
After reading The Fault In Our Stars and Paper Towns, I would say that Looking for Alaska is the weaker of the few I've read, it reads like a first novel, and if you've read TFIOS, you'll knew just what John Green is capable of creating. It's a great example of how a writer can go from good - to great, and from that point of view it is definatly worth a read if you're into that sort of critique and study.
I did enjoy the book. Not as much as TFIOS, but still, it was a quick, easy light read that is filled with so many pinterest-able quotes (Johns Greens super power right there) that I saved more than a few of them on my Kindle!. I'd say read it just for that!
Have you read Looking for Alaska or any of John Greens other books?
Until next time,