Sunday, October 11, 2009

Looking for Alaska by John Green



Miles "Pudge" Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole existence has been one long nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the Great Perhaps (Francois Rabelais, poet) even more. 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.


Nothing is ever the same.


Character Development: 10/10
Originality: 10/10
Overall Enjoyment: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Voice: 10/10
Setting: 10/10
Recommendation: 10/10
Total Score: 70/70*
(*NOTE: as I'm considering each category, I'm shaking my head in awed exasperation, because John Green really does deserve these scores for this masterpiece of a novel; I admire him.)

Grade: A+

Age Appropriate?

Cussing: Very frequent throughout.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: A lot of teen smoking and drinking. Talks about drug use.
Sexual Content: A lot of talk and narration/discussion and speculation; some graphic imagery; contains one scene of oral sex.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Some discussion of child abuse.


Such a brilliantly crafted novel in the style I have come to associate exclusively with John Green--quirky, philosophical, and deeply meaningful. Again, he displays his passion for the bizarre and the slightly messed-up. With an illustrious cast of characters who are delightfully badass even in their nerdiness, Green tells a massively cathartic story of loss, and grief, and acceptance.

Through the endlessly fascinating Alaska Young, along with the tender narration of Pudge Halter, a story emerges that is both terribly tragic and wonderfully uplifting. Love, friendship, youth--these things are important, and Green has a way of showing this through writing that can make even the most mundane things sound poetic.

Wow, what a beautiful, carefully wrought plot line. I admire John Green forever for his work here, for the perfect build-up, for the surprising "after" that is a shock even if I was half expecting it. And, naturally, for the ending, a flawless conclusion to an important book, one that anyone should read who has ever asked themselves "How do I escape from this labyrinth of suffering?" or pursued the Great Perhaps.


  1. John Green is an amazing writer! His work is so realistic and includes those questions that everyone wonders about. This one was probably my favorite out of his three books. You should read (if you havn't already) Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherines.

    Thanks for the review! :)

  2. Wow great review- I really need to read this!

  3. Great review! I really need to read this book sooooon!I like good plot lines and being surprised by a book :-D

  4. I love this book. So much. John Green is one of my heroes for creating this. (among other things, whatever.)

  5. I'm with you. It's one of my very favorite endings ever.


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