Looking for Alaska [Paperback]
John Green (Author)
Price: CDN$ 9.89
Sixteen-year-old Miles Halter’s teenage years had been one long failure – no challenge, no girls, no mischief, and no real friends. Seeking what Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps,” he leaves Florida for a boarding school in Birmingham, Alabama.
His roommate, Chip, is a dirt-poor genius scholarship student with a Napoleon complex who lives to one-up the school’s rich preppies. Chip’s best friend is Alaska Young, with whom Miles and every other male in her path falls instantly in love. She is literate, articulate, and beautiful, and she exhibits a reckless combination of adventurous and self-destructive behavior. She and Chip teach Miles to drink, smoke, and plot intricate pranks.
Alaska’s story unfolds in all-night bull sessions, and the depth of her unhappiness becomes obvious. The author’s dialogue is crisp, particularly between Miles and Chip. His descriptions and Miles’s inner monologues can be philosophically dense, but are well within the comprehension of sensitive teen readers.
The chapters of the novel are headed by a number of days “before” and “after” what readers surmise is Alaska’s suicide. These placeholders sustain the mood of possibility and foreboding, and the story moves precisely to its uncertain climax. The language and sexual situations are suitably and realistically drawn, but sophisticated in nature. Miles’s narration is alive with sweet, self-deprecating humor, and his obvious struggle to tell the story truthfully adds to his believability. Like Phineas in John Knowles’s A Separate Peace(S & S, 1960), Green draws Alaska so lovingly, in self-loathing darkness as well as energetic light, that readers mourn her loss along with her friends. –
LOOKING FOR ALASKA is mostly the story of growing up, of falling in love, of dealing with loss, and getting through life as best that you can. It has wonderful dialogue, fascinating prose, and characters that are so real you’ll think you know them personally; this is a book well worth reading. This is not just the story of a group of teenagers looking to find their way out of the maze of loss, or just the story of finding our Great Perhaps, LOOKING FOR ALASKA is about living the best life that can be led.
Professor Owl’s Book Corner loved this story, and highly recommends it. Once you read it, you will realize it’s no surprise that it won the “Teen’s Top 10 Award” and the “Michael J. Printz Award.”—We are sure you will agree it probably deserves more.