LOOKING FOR ALASKA

alaska

It was this book that won me over. It was different, fresh and John Green really knows how to put a new spin on books based on teenage life without landing them straight in the total cliché category. Looking For Alaska is a showcase to the book that can make you desperately want to finish he book yet never want to finish it at the same time. You’ll close the last page of the novel and come out as a different person through the raw truth of life and love. Looking For Alaska cannot be merely written off as a typical boy-meets-girl love story, because it isn’t. It’s more of a tale of how love isn’t as translucent as it seems. It’s a real book.

The book starts with Miles Halter leaving Florida to attend a school in Alabama for his junior year. His interest in famous last words drives his passion to discover the “Great Perhaps”. At his new school, Miles meets his new roommate, the Colonel (real name Chip Martin) and is later introduced to Takumi, and the beautiful, mysterious, clever and emotionally confused Alaska Young.

Alaska Young. This is a character that is going to stick with me for a long time. The funny part is Alaska is the type of character that I thought I was least likely to ever look up to. Alaska enjoys casual and random sex, drinks and smokes excessively, swears constantly and has absolutely no responsibility to her family, friends, work, and to herself. Yet there is something brilliant about Alaska that I just haven’t quite put my finger on yet. She was the character I grew most attached to during this novel and I think part of it was the mystery behind Alaska. She was quick to ask about Pudge and The Colonel’s life, but very seldom would she share her secrets. Alaska is a real character who carries all the childhood stories, emotional distress, hidden desires that all of us carry within. For that, her honest and bold character hit me that sometimes, there is raw beauty in characteristics that we normally don’t attribute as positive.

The three teenagers take Miles (nicknamed Pudge because he’s so skinny) under their wing and introduces him to the social order of campus; mischief-making, smoking cigarettes, and drinking, and already, his life is taking an exciting turn. The story progresses, mostly centred around Miles’ life at Culver Creek and his growing attachment to Alaska. But something terrible strikes the entire school and its something that doesn’t completely surprise the reader but is definitely something the reader won’t expect. That’s where the story’s core releases the perfection of raw imperfections of life, and it is timeless.

The beauty of the book is that it doesn’t hide anything. It showcases young love and growing up in a really brutal and honest light. How the characters communicate, their relationships with each other, their pasts and the pleasure that comes with being a bad kid shine through the pages. The experiences have the ups and downs as they do in real life. Why I prefer John Green’s debut novel to his other ones is because he’s made no effort to make it an appropriate and proper book that wraps up neatly with a happy ending. You might not weep buckets like most people did at the end of The Fault in Our Stars, but you’ll get attached to Miles and Alaska, just as they do to each other.

Bonnie W.

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