Looking for Alaska by John Green (5 Stars)

Looking for Alaska by John Green


  • Pub. Date: December 2006
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Format: Paperback , 256pp
  • Sales Rank: 356
  • Age Range: Young Adult
Miles is getting ready to head to boarding school at Culver Creek in Alabama.  He didn’t feel like he was fitting in with his public school, and he wanted something different.  His passion was reading biographies and memorizing people’s last words.  One of his favorites is from a poet who talked about the “great perhaps”.  Miles wants to search for that perhaps while he is still living.  In order to do that, he wants to start somewhere new.  The first thing he notices about boarding school is that the dorm is nothing like he imagined it to be.  This was just a plain box with no air conditioning.  How could you have no air conditioning is the blistering heat of Alabama?  He tries to cool down by taking a cold shower, but the shower head only hits about his chest and barely dribbles any water.  When he gets out with a towel wrapped around his waist, he meets his roommate, Chip.  From this instant on, the nicknames become the characters more than their true names.  Chip is the Colonel and Miles becomes Pudge (because he’s so skinny).  The Colonel introduces Pudge to Alaska (that’s her real name).  Alaska is beautiful, but has a lot of issues.  This begins the immersion into their high school lives.  They have pranks pulled on them, go to class, go to basketball games (and get kicked out), smoke, drink, and try to figure out relationships.  Pudge is hopelessly in lust with Alaska, but she is faithful to her boyfriend.  The group plans a major prank and it is  a huge bonding experience where we find out all types of secrets, but then a tragedy strikes that slices through the hearts of everyone (including the reader).  The rest of the novel is about dealing with that tragedy.
My thoughts:
This is the best book of the summer for me.  I don’t know why it took me so long to pull it off the shelf.  I fell in love with the characters.  I wanted to plot with them.  Some of the little pranks I could see myself pulling off if I had the chance.  The basketball games were the funniest parts of the story to me.  The Colonel’s strategy to screw up the opposing team was just priceless.  I feel like I could hear the giggles and snickers each free throw attempt.  John Green also is killer with the chapter titles.  Each chapter says something like 100 days before.  They count down.  It was a mystery for me to try to figure out what would happen at day 0.  I had to force myself not to look ahead and ruin the mystery.  I was excited for day 0 because I figure that it would be the day of the big prank, or them getting caught for something.  I finally figured out what day 0 was about three sentences before it happened.  Wow, my mood shifted immediately.  I went from excitement for the guys that just pulled off this amazing prank to practically weeping.  It takes true genius to do that to a reader and still have them come out loving the book.  If you have not read this book yet, then you don’t even have a clue what you are missing.  Pick it up now!
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