Looking For Alaska by John Green
|Looking For Alaska by John Green
|Reviewer: Loralei Haylock
|Summary: The sort of book that should be just picked up, read and enjoyed, with no preconceptions or prior knowledge. Unputdownable.
|Date: March 2011
|Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
|External links: Author's website
The Author's Cut 10th Anniversary Edition'
When Miles Halter leaves his safe, comfortable life in Florida for Culver Creek – a boarding school his father used to attend – he's looking for what French poet Francois Rabelais called the Great Perhaps. Miles thinks he's found it in Alaska Young – beautiful, flirty, sexy, but messed up Alaska. Her mood changes like the flip of a switch. She smokes and drinks too much. Miles couldn't be more in love with her.
When life at Culver Creek takes an unexpected, tragic turn, Miles has to come to terms with not only the loss, but how irreparably changed he's become.
And I don't really want to say much more than that... I worry that that short summary itself is too much. This is one of those books that should just be read. Don't worry about what it's about, don't worry about what other people thought about it – in fact, don't even bother reading this review. Just buy it, set aside an afternoon and enjoy.
But for those of you who do want a little more, I'll tell you this:
Looking For Alaska is a coming of age story of the blunt and occasionally brutal variety. Miles is a compelling character – as flawed as he is likeable – as is Alaska, and indeed all the other characters. Reading it is like viewing a photograph of what teenage life is all about: friendships, heartbreak, discovery, school, exams and the future, hopes and dreams, and what happens when you realise all those things might not happen to you because life can be short and harsh.
The narrative is split into two parts, Before and After the tragedy. Throughout the build up you get attached to the characters and want to know what happens to them, but the second half – spent deconstructing the event as Miles tries to find a sense of closure, of how such a thing could happen, and seek absolution for the part he played in it – is where the real page turning drama happens. I literally couldn't put the book down.
My thanks to the publisher for sending a copy.
Moments of this novel reminded me very much of Meg Rosoff's stories, and her unflinching approach to sensitive issues. Bookbag recommends How I Live Now.
You can read more book reviews or buy Looking For Alaska by John Green at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Looking For Alaska by John Green at Amazon.com.
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