Monday, July 08, 2013

Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Publication Date: December 2006 
Publisher: Speak

From Goodreads:
Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (François Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, 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, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.

3.5 stars

"I go to seek a Great Perhaps."

Miles “Pudge” Halter is obsessed with people’s last words. In search of “A Great Perhaps”, Miles transferred to Culver Creek, a boarding school in Alabama. In Culver Creek, he soon becomes friends with a number of people from different backgrounds. There are the Colonel, Miles’s roommate who is very smart and loves to play prank; Takumi, a Japanese guy whom Miles is not really friends with until after; Lara, a beautiful Romanian girl whom Miles has his first sexual experience with; and finally Alaska, a free soul whom no one in Culver Creek really understands.

Soon enough, Miles’ life is filled with piled assignments, prank planning, and new habits like smoking and drinking. It doesn’t take long for Miles to fall for Alaska. The smart, beautiful, sharp-tongued, self-destructive Alaska. But Alaska plays games, and there are so many layers covering her true feeling. And after, nothing will ever be the same.

Reading Looking for Alaska, I was quite baffled by how different it is from my first John Green’s book The Fault in Our Stars. Both books are amazingly written and filled with brilliant conversations, yet the two books have their own charms that will appeal to very different kind of readers. I might have enjoyed TFiOS more, but Looking for Alaska with its fabulous characters, the thought-provoking questions, and the witty humor it brings also holds a special place in my heart.

Looking for Alaska brings up tastefully some heavy issues that made me stop and think for a moment. The complexity of the characters blew me away. As much as my divergence with some characters’ behavior, I couldn’t bring myself to dislike any of them. This book is an either love/hate book, and I’m glad (and so relieved) to say that I liked this book. Thought-provoking and brilliantly written, Looking for Alaska may end up as your next favorite book.

"Sometimes I don't get you," I said.

She didn't even glance at me. She just smiled toward the television and said, "You never get me. That's the whole point."

 3. 5 cups of tea!
An engaging story with gorgeous writing. 



  1. First off, HILDA! I haven't visited your blog in so long, and for that I'm so sorry. Nonetheless, it's so awesome to be reading your reviews again. *smooshes in a huge hug*

    Anyways, I'm so glad that you were able to love this one, Hilda! It really is a love/hate book, and I've been nervous for such a long time that it would be a hate for me. However, after reading your review, I think that I'd enjoy this one as well. I mean, the characters sound so deep and realistic, and I love when that happens. Even if you didn't agree with some of their actions, it's so awesome that you were still able to love them. That's actually something that doesn't happen too often for me, but it just shows that I can really understand the character if it does happen.

    Lovely review, Hilda! <3 I'm definitely going to have to pick this one up soon!

  2. This sure is a love or hate book. The characters do some idiotic things but I enjoyed all their flaws and discoveries Miles made. Fantastic review Hilda!

  3. Hilda, I'm so glad to have found your review of this one! I recently read THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, and it just blew my mind. I've been hesitant to try more of his titles because I'm worried I'll be let down though. Despite a few flaws, this sounds like an excellent book, and I'll definitely be adding it to my TBR. Lovely review :)

    I'm your newest follower!

  4. So glad you like this, Hilda <3 Looking for Alaska was my intro to John Green and I was so amazed at what it had to offer. It was intense and complex and beautiful and yet there was this innocence of youth mixed up in it- everything I want in YA! Thanks for the lovely review <33

  5. Another brilliant review, Hilda! I've only read one John Green book, which was The Fault in Our Stars, but I absolutely loved it (like pretty much everyone else who's ever read it!) and I really want to try some of his other books. Looking for Alaska sounds amazing, and I'm so happy for you that you enjoyed it. It's always fantastic when you are on the 'love' side of a love/hate book.

    And that quote you shared is so intriguing! I have GOT to get my hands on a copy of this novel. And ASAP! :)

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderfully written review with us, Hilda. <3

  6. I agree completely! I enjoyed this one, but I certainly didn't love it. I do see how many readers fell for this, though, but I'm glad that you liked it, Hilda. Fantastic review!

  7. I'm glad to hear you did like this! It was my first John Green book and still one of my favorites. I need to read it again soon. I'm now curious about people's last words because of the novel. haha


  8. I would love to read this, Hilda! So nice to see you enjoyed it. Great review. :)

  9. I haven't really read anything by John Green but The Fault in out Stars is such a popular book at the moment. I'm going to put both these books on the list to be read!

  10. And I STILL haven't read anything by John Green. Quite honestly, the premises for his books never seem to completely appeal to me, including this one, but I do think I should probably find out what all the fuss is about eventually. ;) Although you didn't love this as much as TFiOS, I'm glad you enjoyed it overall. Lovely review, Hilda!

  11. YOUR BACK!! *hugs* It's so great to visit your blog again! Hope all is well =D

    I've heard SO many mixed reviews on this book! I'm glad you enjoyed it even though it wasn't as great as TFIOS. I feel like none of John Greens other books can live up to TFIOS so I'm not sure I want to read any of them...

  12. Well said, Hilda!!! So many people LOVED this book, but I couldn't bring myself to connect completely with the characters, like you. Especially Alaska. While I appreciated John Green's ability to craft so complex characters, I just found her to be quite selfish. But you're right, Green's writing is BEAUTIFUL, and it always strikes a chord with me. LOVELY fabalicious review, Hilda doll!!! SO glad you're back. <3 *huggles*

  13. I have been wanting and DIEING to read a John Green book. *looks at TBR pile on shelf* Yeah...after I finish all the books i keep on buying first. XD And I kept being so scared of hating his books and getting paranoid that there will be a mob after me before i know! :$

    But I think I will start with Looking for Alaska as my first Green book because your fabulous review has convinced me that this book seems maybe what i need. By the way, Alaska reminds me a lot like Bev in The Disenchantments for some reason how mystery she is and she also has more going on than she lets on.

  14. I agree, this was SO different from TFiOS! I liked this but didn't feel very strongly about it

  15. I've been hearing so much good things about this book but I also keep on hearing how this one made them cry. I'm a little worried that the ending would be heart breaking. Haha! But soon, maybe, when I finally got the courage I'm going to pick this up! Wonderful review as always, Hilda! :)

  16. Looking for Alaska was my second John Green book, and I feel the exact same way! I didn't understand it at times but I loved the characters' charm and the heavy subject topic.

    - Ellie at The Selkie Reads Stories

  17. I loved the writing too!!! And Alaska's humor and wit. Perfect!

  18. TFIOS was my first John Green book as well, but I really ended up liking this book too! Great review- and great choice of quotes as well! :)

  19. I read this so long ago! It was my first John Green book. I think I forgot important parts because I know there is a ~controversial~ scene but I didn't remember it at all. It really is different from TFIOS. I'm glad you liked it overall though!

  20. This is a really nice review!

    I read this the first time last year, after TFiOS too, and I agree that they're both very different- I'm glad I enjoyed both- and will appeal to, I think, vastly different audiences, which is stunning. It's great he's such a versatile author, and I can't wait to read his other work.


  21. This is great information. Thank you for publishing this.


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