Systematic Student + YA

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Looking for Alaska by John Green is a story of friendship, betrayal, grief, happiness, hope, despair, laughter, tears, and growing up. I could go on and on about how many facets of life this book embodies, but I think you get the point.

Miles, Chip and Alaska were perfectly drawn characters. We were able to see both their strengths and their weaknesses, their perfections and their flaws. These characters each have so many dimensions to them, it's hard to believe they aren't actually real. Sometimes they get along, sometimes they make good choices, and other times they act recklessly, with a complete disregard for the rules and their own well being.

This is definitely not a perfectly wrapped story, decorated with ribbons, and wrapped with a bow, so if that's the story you're looking for, look elsewhere. However, if you are interested in reading a story that is going to alter the way you view your world, I highly, highly recommend this book.

The characters in this story are really stupid at times. But they learn. Miles went to boarding school, searching for his 'great perhaps'. He's lived a fairly boring life, nothing exciting ever happens to him, and he's looking for something, but he doesn't know quite what that something is. When he gets to school, he meets his new roommate, Chip, and one of his best friends, a beautiful and exciting girl named Alaska.

John Green shows an amazing talent for writing with this story. He manages to create in Miles a character who is intelligent, and able to think deep and philosophically without talking over the reader, or condescending to them. Miles thinks a lot about what he's learning, especially in his world religion course, and because he is our narrator, we hear a lot about what he's thinking and feeling. But, I never once felt preached to or overwhelmed.

This is a story about the hard parts of growing up. It's a story about those things every parent wishes didn't happen. But these things do happen and to ignore them, brush them under the rug and act as if they are not real is doing everyone a disservice. I makes kids feel like they are alone and that no one else has ever felt the way they do. But this story lets us know that there are other people out there who can relate to us, and that it's okay to hurt, okay to cry and okay to move on.

John Green, I think you are a brilliant man and I cannot wait to pick up your next story.

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Relevant to: Looking for Alaska by John Green + YA