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Looking for Alaska by John Green

Looking for Alaska (original 2005; edition 2006)

by John Green

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,397492313 (4.23)390
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 390 mentions

English (481)  Swedish (3)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (490)
Showing 1-5 of 481 (next | show all)
Given that I had recently read "Gone Girl", where there was a count of days to and from the big event, it was very clear that something was going to happen at a specific day. However, this book was not an emotional spiraling roller coaster of a ride, of which I was grateful. That is not to say that the reader will not feel anything, quite the opposite.

Let me explain, without spoiling anything.

It is very easy to settle into this book, the author has a great sense of humor particularly in the dialogue. For the most part, you can generally begin to develop bonds with these characters as they begin to develop bonds with each other. As events occur that are quite similar to shenanigans that teenagers often get into (pranks, smoking, drinking, crushes, unrequited love, avoiding getting caught, more pranks, lying to authority/parents) the reader can follow along with recurring references such as: "POOF...gone" and "How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!". The main character Miles, or "Pudge" as he is more often called, has a huge transition from a quiet kid without any friends to being a main component in a tight-knit group of 5 kids. Miles pines for another member in this group, Alaska Young, who is quite the opposite of Miles, and has a boyfriend who does not go to the school throughout the book, therefore unattainable. She is both sides of the coin, as it were. On one side she is deep, dark, full of mystery, yet on the other side she is also a bubbly, encouraging, mastermind of pranks. One of the lines that clearly explains their strange friendship is "Don't you know who you love, Pudge? You love the girl who makes you laugh and shows you porn and drinks wine with you. You don't love the crazy, sullen bitch".

I gave this book 4/5 stars because I did love the story. I loved the characters and the way that the story was told. The themes of the book are basically the raw emotions of loyalty, guilt, forgiveness, and the value of friendship, and I loved them. My only issue was the drawn out part 2 of the book. Once the big event happens (which hit me like a ton of bricks, as it does the characters), there is a lot of investigation as well as, obviously, a lot of figuring out how to feel. I just felt like there were quite a few pages in the middle of part 2 that could have been omitted. It felt a little bit like stalling or just filler mini-stories, to me anyway. I still highly recommend the book and can clearly see why it is the favorite of so many of my peers. ( )
  JanJanFreeman | May 5, 2015 |
Still not quite sure why I decided to read this. It was okay. Too much angst for my liking, granted it was a book about high school, boarding school no less. It played out just how I thought it would. Nothing to exciting. However, I do think it is hilarious that some people have wanted to ban this book. Is it due to the high school age kids having sex and drinking alcohol or is it because of the death/suicide? If it is the latter, high school age students are plenty old enough to learn how to cope with the death of a friend. And if it is the former: do the people who want this book banned really think that high school age kids don't drink/smoke/fuck each other? Just curious. If you are over the age of 18 and have graduated from high school, I would say pass over this, if not: read away! ( )
  katherineemilysmith | May 4, 2015 |
This novel is told by a boy named Miles who transfers into a boarding school where he befriends his roommate "The Colonel" and falls in love with an intelligent, attractive, but impulsive young woman named Alaska. Like other works in the boarding school genre, the story involves a lot of drinking, smoking, sex, and pranks. But Miles also attends classes and his religious studies class in particular play's an important role in helping Miles deal with some of the issues he's facing in his life.

I don't want to give anything away, but the novel turns on a tragic moment. On the downside, I found the book draws a little too much on the "women in refrigerators" trope and moral lessons that are a bit too pat. Overall though, I found it an accurate and entertaining depiction of teenage life. ( )
  Othemts | Apr 27, 2015 |
I really really liked this book! I thought "pudgy" was very easy to relate to. The way the story was told was pretty awesome. I even cried for a few parts. I would recommend to anyone who doesn't mind a bit of cursing (swear words) ( )
  AngelaFries | Apr 20, 2015 |
If for no other reason, you should be reading John Green because of his variety of interests. In this a religion class plays an important role as four friends go through their junior year at a boarding school. Drinking and smoking play a big part in their social scene. Alaska’s the leader. She had a miserable childhood in a small Alabama town. As the story develops, this past has a lot to do with her wild, moody behavior and ultimate death. It leaves the three remaining friends blaming themselves and trying to decide if Alaska’s death is suicide or an accident. All through this the old man who teaches religion brings insightful commentary about existence and death to the class giving at least the protagonist a lot to think about. The last chapter, the final for the religion class about “finding the way out of the labyrinth” proves that John Green deserves all the accolades he has received. ( )
  brangwinn | Apr 14, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 481 (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 editionsconfirmed
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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:48 -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 5 descriptions

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