Friday, 5 August 2011

Looking For Alaska - John Green

Book #19 of 50 on the Goodreads Book Challenge

GENRE: Young Adult
PAGES: 272
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins
FORMAT: Paperback
BUY IT: Waterstones

First drink, first prank, first friend, first girl, last words! A poignant and moving novel about making friends and growing up. Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words -- and tired of his safe, boring and rather lonely life at home. He leaves for boarding school filled with cautious optimism, to seek what the dying poet Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska pulls Miles into her labyrinth and catapults him into the Great Perhaps. Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another.

I first picked up Looking For Alaska after being commanded to by someone at work, and actually I'm pretty glad I did. It didn't initially blow me away but it grew on me and as I got deeper and deeper into the story I desperately wanted to know what this main even was. The story is split into two halves; BEFORE and AFTER. You might guess what the event is before you get to it, but it won't make it less poignant.

The book centres around Miles, or 'Pudge', who is very much like Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye. He's a clever boy, not particularly a misfit but would rather have more intellegent friends than the people he knows at school, so he follows in his fathers footsteps and enrolls at Culver Creek school. There he meets his room mate, the Colonel, and Alaska, the beautiful, smart and mesmerising girl-on-campus.

What I loved most about this book is that it teaches you and makes you think, and for that I think it should be a staple book of any teenagers reading. At it's heart it is a philosophical exploration of friendship, grief and our place in the universe. Through school we are supposed to learn about how the world thinks, how religion builds who we are and how we deal with the inexplicable things in life. It's also about seizing the moment, and how you never really know who someone is without knowing the events that have built them.

Though this book may not change you life, I do believe it will give you a new perspective on things. Maybe even you will search for your own 'Great Perhaps' out there someday.

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