I fell in love with this book. With all its characters and with John Green's beautiful writing style. However, there were some parts of the book, which I could do without. My overall impression of Looking for Alaska is positive. I finished the book with a small bit of sadness and tear-stained eyes, as well as a cheerful mind and a smile on my face.
1. The idea of before and after.
When I opened the book, the first word I read was before. This caught my interest and curiosity; I wanted to find out more. Every chapter has a headline, saying for example 129 days before. The reader does not know why Green is counting down, until we get to the after part. This keep us interested and occupied throughout the book.
2. The themes.
The way Green presents big themes, in a way, I would say everyone, can relate to. Dealing with death and guilt, is something all of us will go through eventually. The way Green shows both the good sides and the bad sides about friendship and about growing up, is so censer.
3. The contrasts.
I love the way Alaska and Miles is so different from each other. Miles is calm, inexperienced and naïve. Suddenly Alaska storms into his life, and she is the direct opposite. Alaska is dark, mysterious and a total wreck. In spite of their differences, they bond and get emotional. They help each other and become real friends.
1. The introduction.
The book was a bit inert in the beginning. I had to concentrate a lot to keep reading the first 100 pages, because there was lack of action and excitement. The book has only one highlight, which is in the middle of the book. A great one, do not take me wrong. However, the parts before that is slow and a bit boring. So, a far too long introduction for my taste.
2. Use of metaphors.
Green is spectacular with metaphors and comparisons. The book itself is known for all its great quotes and phrases. However, I personally think it was a little too much. It was a bit messy and unprofessional.
On a scale of one to ten, I will give the book a 9. I loved the setting, the characters and everything between. The book was beyond my expectations; it was more mature and purer than I had in mind, and it also had a strong message to the reader. I will definitely recommend this book to other people, it may suit teenagers and young adults best, but if you are into love stories and the drama genre, you should give it a try!
Looking for Alaska was a such a beautiful read.
There is explicit Language, and tomfoolery and realistic conversations between characters in Looking for Alaska. John Green uses a very orally language, using word-contractions and colloquialism.
For example in this extract from the book:
"C'mon Pudge. I'm teasing. I didn't know how bad it was - and I'm sorry and they'll reget it, but you have to be tough.
"I have a date," the Colonel explained. "This is an emergenzy." He paused to catch his breath. "Do you know" breath "how to iron?"
These lines are very orally, from all the stuttering and pauses it is easy to find that the Colonel is really stressed out. Because Miles is the first-person narrator, most of what we find out about the characters in the book is through dialogue and actions. Therefore, it is important that Green is able to communicate traits, personality weaknesses, important events and emotions through conversation and through Miles.
The fast-paced descriptions and dialogue, together with the short and intense sentences at the book's excitement-peaks, gets the reader dragged into all of the events. It is hard to stop reading at the most exciting parts, mostly because of the way Green writes.
Green uses a handful of metaphors in the book, and one example is when Miles refers to Alaska:
"If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane."
Green's writing style makes this an effortless read with beautiful, natural and an easy language. He draws the reader in by using catchy and funny lines.
While reading the book I found myself laughing and crying with the characters. Every quote stands on its own with witty metaphors and pure emotion. As the story unfolds, big questions arise: "How will we ever get out of this labyrinth of suffering?" and "What happens to us after we pass?"
Looking for Alaska has death as a recurrent theme throughout the book:
The theme death is coming up on almost all of the pages in the book. Especially about how the characters deals with Alaska's death, in the "after" part of the book. How they deal with the grief and how they manage to forgive and let go, especially Miles.
In spite of all the death and the misery, there is also other important themes.
Miles leaves Florida with one intention, to seek his Great Perhaps. He ends up with real friends, who accept him for who he is. I am not sure about if this was what he was seeking as his Great Perhaps in the first place, and I do not think Miles knew either. Even though his friends introduce him to rebellious pranks, smoke and alcohol, they also take him under their wing and treats him like an equal: one thing Miles has never felt like before.
The book also highlights how messy friendship can be: friends tell each other the truth, even if it is hard to receive. Friends do not always get along, and they do get into fights. When Alaska dies, the bonds between her grieving friends help them to come to terms with her death and their role in it.
Miles enters Culver Creek as a teenager with one intention, to seek his Great Perhaps and experience some excitement. If he finds his Great Perhaps or not, is not clear. At least he finds a part of himself. Miles enters a labyrinth of suffering over Alaska's death, and he is only able to leave after moving towards the rather adult concept of forgiveness. I think one important theme in this book is about developing and act more grown up. Simply about growing up and take matured choices.
While Miles definitely retains some of his childish ways, I think he moves beyond plenty of them and land in a more sophisticated and matured place.
The narrator in the book is Miles Halter, the humble and insecure teenager who has spent every minute of his spare time reading books in his boy room at home. The reader knows constantly what he is thinking and feeling, because everything is viewed through his perspective and how he experience things. However, it seems like Miles is not always a reliable narrator, especially when it comes to Alaska Young. His emotions tends to cloud the way he wants her to be, especially after her death. He is often describing her only as a loving and caring person, and not the impertinent and selfish person she could be. It is mostly through the Colonel the reader get to know the real Alaska. Eventually the Colonel yells at Miles:
"Do you even remember the person she actually was? Do you remember how she could be a selfish bitch? That was a part of her, and you used to know it. It's like now you only care about the Alaska you made up."
Miles is a pitiful and sympathetic first person narration, when the Weekday Warriors hazes him, we feel sorry for him: when he feels joy, we cheer.
Because the narrator is a junior on a boarding school, without his parents and no one else to look after him, the setting is almost devoid of adult authority. Miles is on his own for studying, for eating, for going to sleep in time and for waking up and go to class in time. This is a huge amount of freedom for a teenager who have almost never slept anywhere but at home.
Everything important in the book takes Place on campus at the Culver Creek boarding school in Alabama. Miles seeks his Great Perhaps at the Creek, he finds true friends and he meets his young love, Alaska there. He even kiss a girl for the first time at the Creek.
We get the impression of Culver Creek as this neat and insulated place where Miles finds the possibility of his Great Perhaps. Even though several events happen away from the Creek, the major events and the most important experiences that Miles has are right there on school grounds.
The authority at Culver Creek gathers all the students to the gym the morning after the little gathering at Alaska's room. The headmaster announces that Alaska has died in a horrible car crash the former night. An emotional crowd of students are shocked. The school's wag and entertainer is gone. An emotional train wreck ensues for all the students and the Teachers, but especially for her closest friends: Miles and the Colonel.
The two boys was probably the last people who talked to her, who saw her and who touched her pale skin. They are feeling guilt. They both fail in classes and with their friends. They also fail with themselves, because they are obsessed in finding out how Alaska died. They ask themselves if there were anything they could have done different, to prevent the accident. Obvious, there was lot of things they could have done different, and they spend all of their time regretting and being guilty.
Miles and the Colonel try to unravel the mystery: what happened the night of her death. Whether or not she committed suicide, and what her and her ex-boyfriend were talking about on the phone before she spun off. They talk to the officer whose car Alaska hit and they steal a breathalyzer from the authority at Culver Creek to figure out how drunk Alaska was. They also talk to Alaska's ex-boyfriend, all this only to find out nothing.
Miles is trying to come to grips with who Alaska was and who he wanted her to be. He feel betrayed and guilty at the same time. He and the rest of the crew decide to plan "the most epic prank" ever seen by Culver Creek Boarding School. It involves a class speaker, a stripper, and a lie told by Miles's father. All dedicated to the prankster herself, Alaska Young. It turns out as a huge success, and will certainly be remembered at the Creek for a long time.
Eventually, Miles and the Colonel come to terms with their loss and grief, and they give up on the mystery of Alaska. The book ends with Miles, finally, figuring out of his own labyrinth of suffering about Alaska. He conclude it all with forgiveness. He forgive himself and also Alaska, as life marches on.
Looking for Alaska is about a teenager named Miles Halter. For his junior year in high school, he moves to a boarding school, called Culver Creek. He is tired of his boring life at home, and tells his parents that he is going to seek a Great Perhaps, that there is something more to him. Therefore, he says goodbye to his strict parents and his predictable and friendless life in Florida, and welcomes crazy new friends and a completely different life at Culver Creek.
The story consist of two parts: one before a big event and one after.
The story begins with Miles transferring to Culver Creek where he meets his roommate, the Colonel and his friends Takumi and Lara. The Colonel introduce Miles to a girl named Alaska, and he instantly falls in love with her. The four former friends take Miles under their wing and introduce him to the social order of Culver Creek, making mischief, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol.
The Colonel, Miles, Alaska, Takumi and Lara usually spends their spare time at the smoking hole. Where they are planning pranks against their rival crew, The Weekday Warriors, also known as the shallow rich people.
Time passes by, and Miles's crush on Alaska is stronger than ever. They are planning their "prank of the year" on both the authority of their school and The Weekday Warriors. This includes blue hair dye and fake school progress reports. When their plan is succeed and they are celebrating, Alaska drops the big truth about her mom's death, which explains her moody depression.
A couple of nights later, Miles, the Colonel and Alaska are hanging out in Alaska's room. Miles is the only one not drinking alcohol to celebrate their succeed prank. Alaska and Miles makes out, which is a dream come true for Miles. She whispers "to be continued" before she falls asleep. Suddenly, Alaska's boyfriend calls for their eight-month anniversary. Alaska freaks out and drives of campus, drunk and tear-stained. Miles and the Colonel help her escape campus by setting of fireworks on the headmaster's porch.
"The Colonel" is a well-used nickname for Chip Martin. Every student at Culver Creek uses his nickname instead of his real name, because he is known as the leader. The kind of person who just got a gift for leading others, and always has a helping hand. The Colonel is also the mastermind behind all of the pranks that are going down at Culver Creek.
The Colonel is a short, muscular guy with brown hair and a charming smile. He is one of the main characters in the book, as he becomes one of Miles's best friends and his roommate.
The Colonel comes from poor condition, his mother lives in a trailer park and his father left when he was younger. Despite his difficult background, he is an intensely loyal person who does not believe in snitching or ratting anybody out, under any condition. He strongly believes taking care of things himself.
The Colonel became best friends with Alaska Young when they met at Culver Creek in freshmen year. They became such good friends quickly, because they both shared an interest in booze and mischief.
When Miles arrives at the Creek for junior year of high school, with his somewhat tragic life, The Colonel takes him under his wing and teach Miles everything he knows about smoking, drinking and Alaska Young.
Alaska Young is a perpetual mystery throughout the book, both to Miles and to the readers. John Green reveals Alaska's character mostly through key conversations and actions in the book.
Alaska is clearly one of the most important characters in the entire book. She is a gorgeous, clever, funny, spontaneous and self-destructive person. She is very flirtatious, as she is constantly flirting with Miles, even though she has a boyfriend.
When Miles meets Alaska for the first time, he describes her as "the hottest girl in all of human history", and develops instantly a huge crush on her.
Halfway through the book he describes her personality more specific, as he starts to get to know her better:
"I didn't know whether to trust Alaska, and I've certainly had enough of her unpredictability - cold one day, sweet the next: irresistibly flirty one moment, resistibly obnoxious the next."
She is not an ordinary teenage girl. She is outgoing, but at the same time as she keeps the darkest secret to herself. She is moody, smiling one day and depressed the next.
In the middle of the book, Alaska reveals to her closest friends and to the reader the reason of her rebellious behavior and moodiness. Her mother past away when she was younger, and she felt that it was her fault because she had not been able to call 911. Alaska blames herself for this tragic accident, and she lives with a huge amount of regret and guilt.
This experience has an influence on the person she is, difficult to understand and with an unbreakable wall of protection and uncertainty around herself.
To forget about the guilt and pain, she smokes, drinks and is constantly in trouble.
She is a mystery to get to know, and a character that the reader is interested in finding out more about.
The main character is Miles Halter. He is from Florida, but for his junior year of high school, he transfers to a boarding school called Culver Creek, located in Alabama.
Miles is a scrawny, thin person with "chicken legs", who would rather sit and read a biography than go out with friends. The explanation of that might be caused by his friendless and awful predictable life at home in Florida.
Miles only want adventures and excitements, but there is more to him than an average teenager. He seeks a "Great Perhaps", and has enough self-awareness to know that he will not find it at home in Florida. Miles does not just yearn for adventures and excitements anymore; he goes out and finds it - at Culver Creek.
Miles knows the last saying of incredible many dead people, he is obsessed with last words and has always a book nearby. His hobby is reading biographies about people, only to find out what their last words were. He describes his fascination for this by saying:
"But a lot of times, people die how they live. And so last words tell me a lot about who people were, and why they became the sort of people biographies get written about."
His parents are strict and Miles has always followed their rules, this changes fast when he realizes that he will not be accepted at Culver Creek without smoking and drinking.
He gets the nickname "Pudge" when he arrives at the Creek, because he is, as his roommate states, noticeable skinny.
Miles wants his Great Perhaps, but the reader never really get to know what he envisions as his Great Perhaps and whether the boarding school of Culver Creek lives up to his expectations.
I will read the book Looking for Alaska, written by the New York Times bestselling author John Green. His books are published in more than a dozen languages. One of his most famous book of all time, The Fault in Our Stars, is also transformed into a movie, playing in theaters all over the world.
John Green has received incredible much praise from known people and acknowledged reviewers for his work, and his first book, Looking for Alaska, is not an exception.
Looking for Alaska is John Green's first book and the big breakthrough for his career. He published this book in 2006, and since then his career has only pointed upwards. The book is a part of the curriculum in many high schools and colleges, and is published in more than fifteen languages. This famous book brought home plenty of awards and glory for the popular writer. In 2006, it was one of Kirkus's best books of the year, and it also got the prestigious Printz award the same year. Looking for Alaska received the ALA best book for young adults top ten list, and all of this is just a small part of his huge success.
I would like to read Looking for Alaska because of all the great reviews it has received. I have read number of books by this author, I really admire his work and the way he catches the reader with his stories.
A friend of mine did recommend this specific book to me some weeks ago, and her excitement for the book really caught my interest.
From the book cover:
"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."
These lines from the book's cover blurb give the reader a little sneak peak of what to expect if we open the book. This little summary caught my interest for the book in the first place. It seemed like the exact kind of book I would like to read, a book that includes unrequited love, pranks, rule-breaking and illicit behavior, but also about the meaning of love, the power of grief, hope, and redemption.
Looking for Alaska sounds like a perfect match for my taste and a great young adult book, I look forward to read the book, and I hope it will live up to my expectations.