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Looking for Alaska by John Green

Looking for Alaska (original 2005; edition 2006)

by John Green

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
11,023574255 (4.18)407
Title:Looking for Alaska
Authors:John Green
Info:Speak (2006), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Looking for Alaska by John Green (2005)

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» See also 407 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 560 (next | show all)
I was ready to hate this book.

Why? Because I don't like John Green's style and because I am no fan of love stories. However, a friend insisted on the fact that I had to read it, so I borrowed it at the library (no way I'd pay for an author I don't like).

At the fifth page I was already rolling eyes. It didn't start well. But, hey, I told my friend I'd read it so I continued. Then, something magical happened...The story started becoming interesting. Suddenly, I wasn't rolling eyes anymore, I was really into the plot. It was different than I was expecting. It's still a love story, but a different one. It's kind of special. I don't want to spoil anyone, but let's say that it's not what we are usually expecting from a YA romance novel.

The other thing that I really liked was the obvious evolution of the main character. John Green is known for giving very intellectual discussions between his young characters which is not something we typically see in reality. Miles started like this but then, as the story went on, he started being a real teen, talking like a teen, acting like a teen and not like a young intellectual man with a broom stuck up the ass (not like the characters of The Fault In Our Stars). The questions he asked himself were the type of things we wonder when we are teens. He started discovering who he really was and what he really wanted. It was very very pleasant.

If you want to read the book and don't want to be spoiled, stop here. The rest of the review contains spoilers.

The MAIN reason why I liked this book is because of the absence of love story despite being a YA romance novel. Let me explain, Miles loves Alaska, but she has a boyfriend whom she loves very much. She flirts with him and, at the middle of the book, even kiss him. We will never know if she was ready to leave her boyfriend for him and Miles will never know if Alaska felt something for him, and this, my friends, gives a special something to the novel. I didn't feel that I was reading a cheesy love story (Which I consider being Green's signature). I felt I was reading a very well balanced novel.

Will I read another Green's novel? I seriously don't know (Just thinking about The Fault In Our Stars makes me wanna throw up), but I was pleasantly surprised by Looking For Alaska. ( )
  AmelLou | Jan 18, 2017 |
This was pretty gritty. Too much smoking, alcohol and sex. I guess for some people that's how teen years are. ( )
  searscho | Jan 5, 2017 |

Originally posted here

WARNING: unpopular opinion.

So this is my second John Green book that I have read, the first being the underwhelming Paper Towns. I am sad to say that Looking for Alaska disappointed me.

I really didn't fully know what this book was going to be about before I started reading it as I didn't read the blurb. I thought maybe it could be a teen love story set in Alaska but its not. It's actually a story about main character, Miles's experience in a boarding school where he becomes infatuated with Alaska Young - a manic pixie dream girl. The story is about these teens smoking, drinking, and pulling pranks. Nothing particularly deep, and reading it involved a lot of eye rolling.

I have been a teen fairly recently (within the last ten years), I understand that there are teens that smoke and drink all the time because I was one of them; BUT goodness gracious it is incredibly tedious to read about. I was just so bored with these baby philosophical crises that these characters went through, it was just so over-dramatic. The main pivotal deep question being: How will I ever get out of this labyrinth? How indeed. Maybe I would have liked this better ten years ago when I went through an existential crisis common to all the teenagers on earth. I can't say.

There is a pivotal event that happens around halfway through and I just didn't care, call me heartless. I was relieved when the story finally ended. Miles as a character just irritated me as he was very reminiscent of Quentin from Paper Towns, as they both share the same obsession with a girl they know hardly at all. Maybe I just disliked this book because this kind of story is just done better in so many other places, the TV series Skins comes to mind.

Can see why it is a beloved book but it did nothing for me. ( )
  4everfanatical | Dec 28, 2016 |
This is my all time favorite book by John Green, I don't think I could ever tire from reading it ( )
  Annabelleurb | Dec 12, 2016 |
Well this proves it. Even in the 21st Century, you can write serious, literary, complex, profound and spiritual mainstream fiction that appeals to a wide audience, of both teenagers and adults.

At least you can if you are John Green. ( )
  JackMassa | Nov 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 560 (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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142402516, Paperback)

New York Times Bestseller

Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award

An ALA Best Book for Young Adults

An ALA Quick Pick

A Los Angeles Times 2005 Book Prize Finalist

A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age

A 2005 Booklist Editor’s Choice

A 2005 School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy 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. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.







(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:01 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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