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Looking for Alaska (2005)

by John Green

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
14,232674282 (4.12)452
Sixteen-year-old Miles' first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama includes good friends and great pranks, but is defined by the search for answers about life and death after a fatal car crash.
  1. 60
    The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (HatsForMice)
  2. 62
    The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (kaledrina)
  3. 51
    An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (mad.)
    mad.: this his john green's first book and although it has a completely different plot and characters it has the same style as an Abundance of Katherines
  4. 40
    On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (thesundaybookreport)
  5. 30
    Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (fyrefly98)
    fyrefly98: More average-boy-meets-life-changing-girl.
  6. 20
    The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (Cecilturtle)
  7. 20
    Paper Towns by John Green (chwiggy)
  8. 20
    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  9. 20
    Can't Get There from Here by Todd Strasser (Dainichi-Goddess)
  10. 10
    White Noise by Don DeLillo (alaskayo)
    alaskayo: The place to start with one of the American literary monoliths of the 20th century. Green takes a lot of influence--good influence--from DeLillo's stylistic uniquities and adapts it for a YA audience, leaving him arguably with a catalogue as intellectually important and influential for future generations.… (more)
  11. 32
    Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (wegc)
    wegc: Both are about a teen leaving home, trying to broaden their horizons, trying new things.
  12. 10
    Cracked up to Be by Courtney Summers (kissthestarsxx)
  13. 00
    To Jaykae: Life Stinx by Jean Davies Okimoto (thesundaybookreport)
  14. 00
    Becoming Chloe by Catherine Ryan Hyde (curioussquared)
  15. 00
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  16. 11
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  17. 00
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  18. 00
    Undone by Brooke Taylor (kissthestarsxx)
  19. 01
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  20. 12
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» See also 452 mentions

English (652)  Spanish (6)  Swedish (3)  French (3)  German (2)  Dutch (2)  Hungarian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (670)
Showing 1-5 of 652 (next | show all)
I was hoping to like this coming of age novel better, since I'm a big fan of Green's later novels, especially [b:The Fault in Our Stars|11870085|The Fault in Our Stars|John Green|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1327880382s/11870085.jpg|16827462]. I can see the glimmers of later Green in this -- the quirky characters, the outsider/insider dynamic, the pop culture setting, etc. But this is definitely a "first novel," and lacks the depth and craft that Green has attained since. The plot is run of the mill -- a boarding school drama of cool kids vs nerds, and the shattering impact of a young person's death. But that's not what I found lacking. It was more that the kids just didn't seem all that troubled or interesting or perceptive. I think the author needed to dig deeper and complicate things more. For instance, Miles gets off way too quickly from his initial hazing episode. It isn't particularly scary or extreme and he resolves it handily. "The Colonel" is too friendly too soon, and again Miles doesn't really have to struggle to find a place. It's as if the place is ready for him, revealing, I think, too much authorial gamesmanship, i.e. the author needs to have the characters at a certain place in time and their development to have the plot work. The dialogue also felt too adult, and didn't really ring true. But I'm awfully glad Green has continued to write! ( )
  MaximusStripus | Jul 7, 2020 |
Unfortunately this one wasn’t for me.

Miles, eager for a more interesting life decides to attend boarding school where he finds a friend group and falls for the elusive Alaska.

I don’t find smoking, drinking, and pranks nearly as interesting as Miles does, I didn’t as a teenager and I don’t now. He needed boarding school in order to experience basic rites of passage that can be found at absolutely any school? If you’re sending a character to boarding school at least have him going because he’s being forced or because he’s running away from something, not just because he’s bored with his circumstances, if anyone desperately required more of a driving force for their story, like say, a significant reason for switching schools, it’s Miles.

Which brings me to my biggest problem with this book, I didn’t find Miles himself that interesting. Even in the end I didn’t feel like I knew Miles particularly well. He randomly likes famous last words and he didn’t socialize much until boarding school (not much of an explanation why), other than that, I can’t really pinpoint his personality traits, his interests, what he wants to do with his life, etc.. He doesn’t really have any issues he’s working through, there’s nothing poignant in his backstory or home life, as mentioned there isn’t even a concrete or compelling reason for him to suddenly be at a boarding school, nothing really to build a character arc on. I know this is a very much loved book by many other readers, probably who relate to these characters far more than I did, but for me, it didn’t work to have an entire book told from the point of view of someone who doesn’t really have his own story to tell.

I may have been more emotionally involved with this one had the first half come from Alaska’s point of view, she had a lot more going on internally than Miles did, she has actual problems, she’s carrying some heavy burdens and making choices that have consequences, I just feel like all of that would have been much more engaging than what the underdeveloped Miles had to offer.

Towards the end as the boys experience some guilt and attempt to solve a mystery, I became mildly more interested, still, it wasn’t enough. ( )
  SJGirl | Jun 29, 2020 |
This is a novel about endings. The central character Miles - who is almost immediately named Pudge by his new room mate and soon-to-be best friend - has an obsession and subsequently a encloypedic knowledge of famous last words. The chapter headings announce that we are working towards a life changing event for Miles and his group of pranksters.

This is Green's debut novel. He seems to have a thing for unobtainable, mystifying, intoxicating girls that his protagonists just can't help but pursue. Because of this, I was 75% though the novel thinking this was a three star read. However, the ending of the novel brought it up to four for me. Now the sort of enlightenment that is gained by Miles maybe in no way believable for a character of his age but the sentiment is powerful and reflective. ( )
  Georgina_Watson | Jun 14, 2020 |
I read paper towns and the fault in our stars. the heartbreak of those books don't hold a candle to this. ( )
  JulianaMD | Jun 1, 2020 |
best john green book. i especially liked the last 2 pages. ( )
  erinrita | May 28, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 652 (next | show all)
Miles Halter is a teenager from Florida who likes to read bibliographies and collect last words of famous people. He decided to go to Alabama to finish last two years of his high school education. Miles chooses Culver Creek Preparatory School. His parents are questioning if he decide to go to preparatory school to meet new people and change his boring life style.
Miles instantly became a friend with his roommate Colonel who gave him a nick name Pudge. The Colonel is clever, proud, and financially poor. He is a born leader. Miles got introduced to Alaska Young. She gave his life a new dimension. Alaska is a beautiful, funny, intelligent, and rebellious. Miles falls for Alaska. She became a center of Miles universe.
This book is made using a before and after counting element to build up a grand climax of events. It is an unusual, but effective way of presenting a story. It is a great read. Many teen topics are addressed here: smoking, alcohol consumption and consequences, meaning of life, friendship, belonging, religion, death and dying, grief, and healing.
The author of Looking for Alaska, John Green, made me think about life and our attitude about it. A topic of depression got brought in with Alaska’s behavior. She gave out many times signs that she is suicidal. Her attitude about dying and her struggle with her mother’s passing away was never addressed in a productive way. Her depression was not taken seriously. Consequences are tragic and unbearable.
added by sla3 | editschool review, sla3
Miles's narration is alive with sweet, self-deprecating humor, and his obvious struggle to tell the story truthfully adds to his believability.
added by khuggard | editSchool Library Journal, Johanna Lewis

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Greenprimary authorall editionscalculated
McCarthy, LindaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vandervoort, IreneDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodman, JeffNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my family: Sydney Green, Mike Green, and Hank Green
"I have tried so hard to do right."
(last words of President Grover Cleveland)
First words
The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother insisted on throwing me a going-away party.
How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!
If only we could see the string of consequences that result from our smallest actions. But we can’t know better until knowing is useless.
When adults say, "Teenagers think they are invincible" with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we are never irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they are old. They get scared of losing and failing.
You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.
When you're walking at night, do you ever get creeped out and even though it's silly and embarrassing you just want to run home?
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