I’d been pondering purchasing a John Green novel for a certain friend of a certain name, but I didn’t want to do that if the book turned out to suck. So I was going to read the book first, but then I found out that it was Green’s second book, and you know how much I dislike reading things out of order (lest I read the best things first, Jodi Picoult, cough).
So, even though Looking for Alaska has sod-all to do with that certain other book (okay, whatever, it’s called An Abundance of Katherines, like you didn’t Google it already), I popped in a request to the library and found out that it’s somehow quicker to get books from places two counties to the west of me than from my own friggin’ library. A complaint for another time.
Back to the book! The titular Alaska is a girl called Alaska Young, who befriends our hero, Miles Halter (whose name I had to look up because he is called “Pudge” pretty much everywhere else in the novel), who has just arrived at boarding school to seek his “Great Perhaps.” Pudge falls in love with this girl, who is kind of bipolar but also super awesome. SOMETHING BIG HAPPENS in the middle of the novel, which you know is coming because the little chapter sections are all labelled, like, “one hundred thirty-six days before” and “the last day” and “one hundred thirty-six days after” (see the symmetry!), but you have (or I, at least, had) no idea what that’s going to be until it does happen.
This is definitely one of those bildungsroman novels, and it has one of those overarching morals based on death and dying (Pudge is obsessed with people’s last words), and it is really quite good. The book is funny at times, sad at times, and definitely reminded me of coming to college and having to meet all new people and fit in. I just wished I’d pulled a prank or two like these guys. 🙂
Also, there’s a preview of that other book at the end of this one, and I totally have to read that, too.
Also also, John Green has worked for mental_floss and NPR, so really, you know he can’t be all bad.
(Countdown Challenge: 2005)