Published: March 3rd, 2005
Age Group: Young Adult Contemporary
My Rating: 4.8/5
Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.
Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another. A stunning debut, it marks John Green's arrival as an important new voice in contemporary fiction.
This book is a masterpiece. My first John Green book ever, and his writingliv blew me away. The emotions that were just pouring from this book touched every nook and cranny of my heart. It's basically about Miles or Pudge as he's called by his friend, who's one awesomely awkward and smart boy, chicken-legs skinny and a budding idealist living a new life in boarding school. He is a very interesting character with an obsession with people's last words in which he believes, tells a lot about a person and he's on a journey to find the grandest "perhaps" of his life. He's basically trying to find out what life is all about, what is the best way to go about being a person, why do we have to go through suffering and how do we escape it (the Labyrinth).
Therefore, he meets his new friends, and we have the boisterous Chip "The Colonel" Martin who's basically a walking atlas (like seriously :P), Takumi the japanese tech-whiz, Lara, and then of course, Alaska. She's someone who's completely opposite of Miles. She's an intelligent, quick-worded and sexy character with a tender spot for reading, the enigmatic leader of the gang. Quite an amount of the book were about the mischief of these characters in Culver Creek boarding school, which consisted of curfew breaking nights, smoking cigarettes, rigorous pre-calc studies, eating junkfood and maintaining a steady level of drunkenness of strawberry wine. John Green amazes me with the consistency and spontaneity of telling the story and I could see that he took a lot of time to create these characters.
Now with Alaska, John has completely showered her with perplexing mystery that even her closest friends couldn't fully comprehend. I couldn't stop turning the pages and the relationship that developed between Miles and Alaska was completely fascinating to read about. Her and her friends have thrown Miles into a life full of real pain and pleasure, all that he had lacked before he moved to boarding school. Miles' prose was impressively philosophical, deep and meaningful that it was hard to believe sometimes that he's sixteen years old. John Green also did a very impressive job in making Alaska an enigma until the end of the story, it felt like the search for her and why she did what she did was still on, and will always continue. I love when books just leave you wondering long after you have read it. The end of the book truly made me shiver with the beautiful prose that John has engraved within the pages.
Looking For Alaska made me realize how important friends are in our lives. I'm in my last year of highschool right now in Indonesia, and before this, I have moved around a lot that saying goodbye was easy. But now, I feel so lucky to have found something that will make it so much harder to say. Friends may come and go, but there will be certain moments, and certain people that we will keep close to our hearts. In the end, we would always be reminded of the lessons they have brought to our lives, lessons that will help us continue on that journey.
I will forever praise this amazing book, with John Green's beautiful narrative, haunting with self-deprecating humor and heart. This book is about being vulnerable, the struggle of fitting in, finding your place under the sun to face the world with only a few decades of existence in this world. Thank you for this book, John.