Tuesday 20 July 2010

Looking For Alaska by John Green

It has taken me a little while, but I am back on my American journey and I am still in Alabama. I really have been rather thorough with Alabama and I still have three more books to read. I just didn't realise how fascinating Alabama would be and I have really loved visiting the state. The following book threw me a little as the title would make you think it is set in Alaska, but it isn't. Alaska is a person, a wild outstanding individual who happens to go to boarding school in Alabama.

Pages - 268
Challenges - American Journey and Young Adult.
Published in 2006 by Harper Collins.
The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother insisted on throwing me a going-away party. To say that I had low expectations would be to underestimate the matter dramatically. Although, I was more or less forced to invite all my 'school friends', i.e.e the ragtag bunch of drama people and English geeks I sate with by social necessity in the cavernous cafeteria of my public school, I knew they wouldn't come.

Miles Halter leaves for boarding school in Alabama, hoping to find what the dying poet Rabelais called the 'Great Perhaps'. Miles has lived his life up until the present, as a social nobody and can't wait to reinvent himself and find the new Miles.

When he arrives at Culver Creek, he soon makes friends with his room mate, the Colonel and falls heavily for the charms of Alaska Young. Alaska is clever, funny, self destructive and dead sexy. Alaska pulls Miles into her web of charm and he falls completely for her.

Wow, what a book. This is the book of coming of age, that I wish I had read when I was a teen. It took me straight back to my teenage years with each turn of the page. I was back to the big haired, shoulder padded, puffball years of my youth.

Miles is the imperfect teenager that we all had inside us, full of insecurities on the inside and spots on the outside. It was interesting reading the story from a male point of view, as I realised it was something I didn't often do. Miles is a sympathetic narrator and I loved reading the book from his point of view. Alaska is the dark, misunderstood, heart wrenching James Dean style character that we all fell for during high school. She is the one every boy wants to date and every girl wants to be, but no one understands what hides within her heart and mind.

This book deals with a lot of emotional issues that even many adults would struggle to overcome. Alaska has had a painful past and you cannot help but want to hug her and make her feel better.

I loved this book completely. I couldn't put it down, once I started to read it. I loved the way the book is set out in a sort of diary format, although it isn't a diary. It reminded me a lot of Tully by Paullina Simons, which is just as heart wrenching in the end as Looking for Alaska.

John Green is quite a new author to me, but he is definitely one I want to read more from. I will be looking out at his new book Paper Towns soon.

Other reviews of this book

The Literary Stew

Lost In Books

Fluttering Butterflies

Things Mean Alot


  1. I tend to enjoy books set in Alabama...really anywhere in the deep South. :) It's funny you got 'stuck' there though!

    Isn't John Green marvelous?! You can read Paper Towns for Florida now. lol

  2. YAY! I'm so glad you finally read this and loved it! I did too. Read more John Green now!

  3. A great recommendation Vivienne. I love the thought of imperfect teenagers. And what a great cover - so simple yet so eyecatching at the same time.

  4. I haven't read John Green yet, but keep reading wonderful reviews of his work. I love that cover!

  5. Nice review. It sounds like a good book and I've added it to my tbr list. Thanks. Nice to see you back :)

  6. Eva - I wonder if I was a Southern girl in a previous life!

    Clover - I can't thank you enough for sending me this book. I really really loved it. Can't wait to read more.

    Petty Witter - it was fabulous.

    JoAnn- this is the only one I have read so far by him, but I will definitely read more.

  7. I'm still trying to decide if I should read this one or Paper Towns next for John Green.

  8. I had no idea this book is set in Alabama - I'll have to get to it soon. Great review!

  9. Mary - thanks. It is good to be back.

    Amanda - I can't comment on Paper Towns, as I haven't read it yet. I did love this one though.

    Kathy - you would be amazed at the books that are set in Alabama!

  10. I do love those books that you just can't put down, I will keep my eye open for this one

  11. I've just finished reading An Abundance of Katherines and I think I liked that one better than the other two. Not saying I didn't like the other two though. I can't wait to read more of John Green!

  12. Oh my gosh I heart-love-gush-squeal- over anything John Green. I read Paper Towns first then this one and I have his other two waiting for me to go.

  13. Definitely intriguing! Great review!

  14. Everyone seems to love this author but I haven't tried him yet.

  15. Blodeuedd - you would love it.

    Lahni- welcome to my blog. Lovely to see new people visiting. I shall look out for An Abundance of Katherines, as it sounds good.

    Christina - I am beginning to feel the same way. More John Green please.

    Jen - you would love it.

    Ladytink - you must join us in reading Green. Perhaps we need to set up a fan club.

  16. Vivienne, this sounds like a really great book. I have never read anything by John Green, but that may need to change very soon. Wonderful review!

  17. Sounds like you really liked this one. I would never have considered reading this if I hadn't read your review. Thank, I hope to get to it.

  18. Thanks for the link! I loved this book too and yes I wished I had read it as a teen too!

  19. I'm so glad you loved it, Vivienne! That book will always hold a special place in my heart. :)

  20. Welcome to the John Green fanclub - let me get you a badge ;) So glad you loved it, Vivienne :D

  21. Another one for my must read list! Thank you for the excellent review, Vivienne!

  22. Alabama, huh? Reminds me of the deep south and comfort food! I actually just picked up this book at the store and look forward to reading it. I listened to Paper Towns on our bike trip and really enjoyed it. Hope you like it, too!

  23. I've got to read John Green's books. I've been postponing and postponing. Thanks for the reminder, Viv!


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