A deeply affecting coming-of-age story, Looking for Alaska traces the journey of Miles Halter, a misfit Florida teenager who leaves the safety of home for a boarding school in Alabama and a chance to explore the “Great Perhaps.” Debut novelist and NPR commentator Green perfectly captures the intensity of feeling and despair that defines adolescence in this hip, shocking, and emotionally charged work of fiction.
Miles has a quirky interest in famous people’s last words, especially François Rabelais’s final statement, “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” Determined not to wait for death to begin a similar quest, Miles convinces his parents to let him leave home. Once settled at Culver Creek Preparatory School, he befriends a couple of equally gifted outcasts: his roommate Chip―commonly known as the Colonel—who has a predilection for memorizing long, alphabetical lists for fun; and the beautiful and unpredictable Alaska, whom Miles comes to adore.
The kids grow closer as they make their way through a school year filled with contraband, tests, pranks, breakups, and revelations about family and life. But as the story hurtles toward its shattering climax, chapter headings like “forty-six days before” and “the last day” portend a tragic event―one that will change Miles forever and lead him to new conclusions about the value of his cherished “Great Perhaps.”
Man that’s long, also the fact that this book is described as hip really annoys me. I mean, bro. Who describes a John Green book as hip? Okay, so seriously, basically nothing happened. Accept for that one incident that the entire goddamned book was centered around. Like it was so frickin’ dull. I had always thought of John Green as a decent writer, but now I see how wrong I was, he’s passable at best.
That final prank was pretty darn weak if you ask me. Like damn, they really could have tried harder. But the sad thing is I didn’t really expect more from these characters. They weren’t the strongest I have ever met and that seems to be a recurring theme with Green. He has a really great premise and then lets us down. Also it’s the same formula every time. A girl who is somehow either dying or mysterious, or both in the case of Alaska and a boy who tries to win her heart and basically never succeeds. Apart from Gus, he was successful and that’s cool. Although as TFIOS was the first one of his books that I read, I have since been let down. Many times. It’s like he’s a romance writer (no offence to romance writers): the same formula every time to make a bestseller. And they’re mostly only bestsellers because of the success that TFIOS brought him. Sorry, I realise this is turning into a massive rant, let’s get back to the actual book shall we?
So the main character is Miles who later becomes Pudge and he is looking for his ‘Great Perhaps’ – spoiler alert, he finds it – and decides that in order to find it he needs to leave his current situation and move from Florida to Alabama where he goes to a mixed boarding school. The rules there are pretty lax and he ends up with a habit that will haunt him for the rest of his life, smoking. Literally no where in the book does Green say that smoking is not good and shouldn’t be done and seen as this is a book for tween and up that is really worrying. Like son, people should be discouraged from not be made nuetralised towards it. Also before ‘Pudge’ starts smoking he doesn’t even think ‘maybe I shouldn’t do this, cause y’know death’, nope, he just starts smoking which I really hate him for. Sure in the long run he might end up fine but lets be real he’s probably not going to. And on top of that they start Miles drinking. This book is basically an advocate for underage drinking, sex and smoking and I would love to be being dramatic about this but nowhere in this entire book is it even remotely frowned upon besides the school rules that literally ask for students to do these things off of school grounds. Also I would like to add that he is white and so are at least 90% of the other characters. I really would love to see more diversity here.
That school really irritated me. The students basically ran it. They pretty much had free reign, enough free rein that a student was killed/died and if that doesn’t worry you then I don’t know what else will. Also that student was treated as if the sun shone out of her ass by basically all of the students. And even some of the teachers. God students like that annoy me. Calm down with your being loved by everyone for like 5 minutes would you? Whilst Alaska was a pretty hardcore feminist, Green basically got Miles to objectify her the entire book. On more than one occasion he called her hot – it’s even in the fucking blurb – and after she (spoiler alert) died he just wanted to remember her as the girl who had made out with him for like 5 minutes before driving into a police car. That’s also pretty much the first thing he thinks about after she has died and if that’s not disgusting then I don’t know what else is. At least he is grossed out by the necrophilia that he thinks about almost straight after. Ugh, god that’s disgusting. See. I’m grossed out right now. So thank’s for including that John, thanks.
Honestly this book only gets 2/5 stars, I don’t know why I’m giving it the second one but it doesn’t deserve only one star. It isn’t on the same level as books that have pointless rape scenes in them. Not that I am shading any other books here or anything. This book could have been improved in many ways and I hope that the next book that Green writes is a heck of a lot better than this one was. Because lets face it, he’s gonna write at least 5 more. Also I would just like to add that I wasn’t deeply affected by this book like the blurb predicted, I was just annoyed.
Have fun reading.
Until next time,