Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Looking For Alaska - John Green

Title: Looking For Alaska
Author: John Green
Publisher: Speak, 2007 (Paperback)
Length: 221 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Realistic Fiction
Started: February 22, 2010
Finished: February 23, 2010

From Amazon.com:
Miles "Pudge" Halter is abandoning his safe-okay, boring-life. Fascinated by the last words of famous people, Pudge leaves for boarding school to seek what a dying Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps."
Pudge becomes encircled by friends whose lives are everything but safe and boring. Their nucleus is razor-sharp, sexy, and self-destructive Alaska, who has perfected the arts of pranking and evading school rules. Pudge falls impossibly in love. When tragedy strikes the close-knit group, it is only in coming face-to-face with death that Pudge discovers the value of living and loving unconditionally.

I think this is the first book that I've tried hard to like but couldn't, not because of something the author did or didn't do, but because of something unique to me. The book has a cool concept to start with, Miles wants to leave his safe and boring life for a boarding school that he hopes will be an opportunity for new experiences. He finds those in Alaska Young, and falls in love with her despite the fact that she has a boyfriend. I could identify with Miles because like him, I was relatively sheltered until high school and university, which luckily I grew out of, but I just couldn't make myself like Alaska. She reminded me of this bipolar roommate I had in university that made my life hell, and the happy-one-minute-crying-the-next just reminded me of her and I wanted to chuck the book out the window. But putting my weirdness aside, I can see why people like this book, Miles learns how to truly live even in the midst of tragedy.

I loved all the pranks the kids pulled in the first half of the book, I found them traditionally mischievous. I also liked the little quirk that Miles was obsessed with people's famous last words. The one thing that amazed me was that in spite of the fact that there's a ton of smoking, drinking, sex, and drug use in this book, there's also a lot of introspective religious thought about the meaning of life thank to Miles' and Alaska's world religions class. So in the end, not my cup of tea, but definitely would appeal to some people.

Lots of smoking, drinking, drugs, and sex....not for the kiddies or faint of heart.

Thoughts on the cover:
Kind of plain, I get the candle thing, but it's still plain.

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