Looking for Alaska by John Green

Looking for Alaska by John Green
Published 2005 by Harper Collins.

Links: Goodreads. Amazon. Book Depository.

Source: Purchased (paperback).

Genre: YA contemporary.

My rating:

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy 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. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . .

After. Nothing is ever the same.

srcekI finally read my second John Green novel. I read The Fault in Our Stars before I started blogging so I never reviewed it here – and while I knew the book was fabulously famous, I also didn’t really understand just how much hype there is around Green’s books. I really liked TFIOS but because of all the pomp surrounding his books, I was really afraid to read Alaska for some reason.

I shouldn’t have been. It didn’t hit me as hard as TFIOS but it was a very nice novel all the same. I don’t often read YA contemporaries (I recently read The DUFF and liked it!) and I’m glad I made another exception. I don’t exactly know how to write this review – or what to say about a book that’s been sitting on top of the NYT Bestseller list for ages.

I liked Miles. I liked Colonel. I even liked the Eagle. My only real problem (and the reason for a slightly lower rating) was Alaska – I didn’t, couldn’t care for her as much as I was supposed to. Miles is a socially awkward boy who collects famous people’s last words. He’s new to this school and finds the first friends of his life there – as well as his first love. I really liked the relationship he had with his parents! They didn’t understand him but they still loved him unconditionally.

I admired the pacing in this story. It’s one of those things that can make of break a book for me. Chapters are numbered in a descending order – they count down the days to some EVENT and up until it happens, it’s unclear what it is. I assumed it was something bad because the countdown seemed vaguely ominous. Then we have the “after” part, which is just as interesting because the way Miles deals with this EVENT changes as time passes.

As with TFIOS, this book is full of quotable quotes. These are just two of them – I hope they catch the vibe of the text. If not, sorry! They sounded great to me.

looking-for-alaska-1a

looking-for-alaska-2a

Want more YA contemporary? I will never stop recommending Ketchup Clouds. It’s that good.

srcek

Have you read Looking for Alaska? Or The Fault in Our Stars

Are you ever afraid of reading over-hyped books?

Should I read any other Green books?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

  • I read ALL the John Green books! XD I’m definitely a fan…and yeah, I think the hype is terrifying, buuuut, I’m biased already because I like his book so much. ;-) hehe I think Paper Towns is worth trying, although the characters are pretty similar to the ones in Looking for Alaska. AGH. I’m reading an over-hyped book right now though and. the. pressure. is. intense.

    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

    • I think that sometimes hype can be the downfall of a book. I would have liked ACOTAR better, for example, if I just picked it up at random from a bookshelf, without expectations. But I’ve been seeing so so many screaming reviews, teasers, and such – and I probably created a fantasy in my head that the poor book could never fulfill!
      I might give Paper Towns a try! I saw the movie is releasing soon…

  • I read this book a while ago and really enjoyed it. In fact I think I actually liked it slightly better than TFIOS (which is probably a pretty unusual preference)! I kind of agree with you about Alaska though. I didn’t hate her as a character, but I didn’t particularly like her either. I loved all the other characters though, and I think that Miles is a really relatable hero, even if he idolises Alaska a bit more than she probably deserves.
    Great review!

    • Thanks, Laura! :)
      Miles was great. I really liked seeing how he gets his first friends. And we all had that one person in high school we idolised too much, no? ;) Only in his case, it ended in a tragedy…

  • Maraia

    I’m not the biggest John Green fan. I did love TFioS, and Looking for Alaska wasn’t bad, either, but for me Paper Towns was a totally pointless. Also, the characters are essentially more annoying versions of the ones in Looking for Alaska. So, in my obviously biased opinion, I don’t think it’s worth reading any more of his books. :p

    Reading over-hyped books is such a huge risk. It does sometimes work out (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda!), but often by the time I finally read a book I’ve been hearing about for months, my interest has waned. Or I’ve read so many reviews that I wonder why I even bothered reading the book itself. Nothing ruins a good book as thoroughly as hype exhaustion.

    • If I really want to read a book, I never read the reviews beforehand! I’m mortally afraid of spoilers and I often don’t even read the blurb, especially with books from authors I auto-buy or sequels I know I’ll read anyway. I hatehatehate spoilers! :)

      I think I tend to create a very idolised version of a hyped-up book in my head and then usually the book doesn’t live up to my expectations :( Poor books. But sometimes it does work out, as you said – for me, this happened with V. E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, which was ALL OVER THE PLACE and still managed to be the most excellentest, fabulousest book I’ve read in a while! (Have you read Schwab yet???)

      • Maraia

        Haha, I’m the opposite. I mean, I hate spoilers as well, but I always read the blurb before starting a book. Sometimes I read it several times during the first couple of chapters. I also read reviews of books because, if I like a blogger, I feel somewhat obligated to read her reviews. I know reviews are bloggers’ least trafficked posts, so I try to at least skim them and comment if I can. When Blue Lily, Lily Blue came out, though, I refused to read any reviews until I had finished the book myself.

        I have read Schwab! The Archived series is my favorite, followed by ADSOM and then Vicious. I loved ADSOM, but I will admit that I didn’t love it *quite* as much as I could have because of the hype. I still can’t believe how hyped it was. Maybe I just follow the wrong (well, right) people on Twitter! I’m going to try to ignore reviews before the second book comes out.

        • No, don’t get me wrong – I DO read the reviews of books I really want to read, just afterwards – I read the book first and then I go and see what they have to say about it :) I’ve started linking to other bloggers’ review posts, too, because I always find it interesting to see the different opinions on one book. I also like writing my review first so I don’t get influenced by the reviews.
          And I read reviews of other books – a great review by a blogger I like is the best recommendation for a book! :)

          ADSOM was one such book – I only read the reviews after I read and reviewed the book myself, so I escaped the worst of the hype ;)

          • Maraia

            I’ve heard other bloggers mention that they never read reviews for a book they’re also planning to review, and it makes sense. Even reading reviews after I’ve read a book always subtly changes my impression of it. It’s hard to be completely uninfluenced by other people’s opinions.

            I think my memory is so bad that sometimes I can read 10 reviews for a book and still not remember what it’s about. I do stop reading reviews once I have the book waiting for me to read. For example, I just picked up Uprooted from the library today, so I will wait until I finish it to read your review. :)

  • I still haven’t read A SINGLE John Green book. It’s shameful, but admittedly, contemporaries aren’t really my thing. I do have most of his works, including this one, on my tbr shelf though. It’s not that I don’t want to read them, I just feel like I need to be in the right mood for the feels XD The hype kind of scares me too but I WILL take the plunge one of these days! Lovely review Kaja^^ xx

    • I have a couple of authors like this – I know I should read their books and I fully intend to – some day :) I like a contemporary sometimes, like a palate cleanser between all the fantasies I read!
      I’d start with The Fault in Our Stars if I were you – I liked it better even though it broke my heart.