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Big Spring Books
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; Reissue edition (August 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014241221X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142412213
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 4.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,534 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up - Sixteen-year-old Miles Halter's adolescence has been one long nonevent - 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, AL. 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 orbit 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 elaborate pranks. Alaska's story unfolds in all-night bull sessions, and the depth of her unhappiness becomes obvious. Green's dialogue is crisp, especially 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 methodically to its ambiguous climax. The language and sexual situations are aptly 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. - Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"Miles's narration is alive with sweet, self-deprecating humor, and his obvious struggle to tell the story truthfully adds to his believability." School Library Journal "What sings and soars in this gorgeously told tale is Green's mastery of language and the sweet, rough edges of Pudge's voice. Girls will cry and boys will find love, lust, loss and longing in Alaska's vanilla-and-cigarettes scent." Kirkus "This is an amazing first novel by a writer who is young enough to vividly remember his powerful years of high school and he expertly turns remembrance into story." Children's Literature "The novel's chief appeal lies in Miles's well-articulated lust and his initial excitement about being on his own for the first time." Publishers Weekly "Debut novelist and NPR commentator Green perfectly captures the intensity of feeling and despair that defines adolescence in this hip, shocking, and emotionally charged work of fiction." Barnes & Noble --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

John Green is a New York Times bestselling author who has received numerous awards, including both the Printz Medal and a Printz Honor. John is also the cocreator (with his brother, Hank) of the popular video blog Brotherhood 2.0, which has been watched more than 30 million times by Nerdfighter fans all over the globe. John Green lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

(What's this?)
#5 Overall (See top 100 authors)
#2 in Books > Teens
#5 in Books
#87 in Books > Romance
#2 in Books > Teens
#5 in Books
#87 in Books > Romance

Customer Reviews

The characters are great and the pacing is very good.
Lukasz Malek
Another great book by John Green...his characters are real, unique and relatable.
Diane M. Shields
I read this book in one day and could not put it down.
Jessica Lancaster

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

407 of 431 people found the following review helpful By Richard Hurley on March 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
...and read this book in one sitting. Okay, it's short and incredibly good, which makes it easy to bolt down. But then you are going to feel like an idiot for not savoring the pleasure, and you're going to be bleary as hell the next day (if you finish it at 4 in the morning, like I did).

This book deals with the Big Ones: suffering, loss, and grief, but it does so with such compassion and humor that the net impact is uplifting. Even the principal turns out to be a human being. There are no cardboard cut-out characters here.

Be aware that the kids in this story do what kids actually do (smoke, drink, and have sex). If that bothers you, read it anyway. There are more important things in life than observing proprieties and pretending that bright kids aren't exploratory. You don't have to approve of these characters. It is enough to love them and learn from them.
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246 of 282 people found the following review helpful By S. A. Titone on March 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Somewhere between searching for the secret to winning at Texas Holdem in Doyle Brunson's SUPER SYSTEM II, A COURSE IN POWER POKER, and envying a 101 year old lady boat captain in Jimmy Buffett's A SALTY PIECE OF LAND, I found John Green's Young Adult Novel, LOOKING FOR ALASKA.

I kept looking at the alluring cover of ALASKA on my night stand and decided that POWER POKER could wait and rushed through A SALTY PIECE.

If you have a child going to boarding school soon, goes there now or has gone there, as my son did, you must read LOOKING FOR ALASKA. If you want to understand the loneliness, happiness, mischief, joy, sorrow, sadness and a few other emotions of a teenager, you must read LOOKING FOR ALASKA. If you are convinced your teenager will not mature until much later, you better not read ALASKA. If you are concerned about the experiences that your teenager might have, do not read ALASKA. If you are a teenager, read this book!

Need help with a pair of Aces? Simple - see Doyle. Got Margaritaville on your mind? No problem - Jimmy is your man. But if you want to come of age with an extraordinarily endearing group of kids, read this book.

My son tells me it is being touted as Young Adult Fiction. I don't know about that. I can only tell you that at 64, I am a younger man for having read it.
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100 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Lux on March 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Green's debut YA novel follows a year in the life of high school junior Miles Halter, a friendless Floridian who begged his parents to enroll him in the Culver Creek boarding school. Miles dreams of starting anew at his elite Alabama prep school, of finding Francois Rabelais's "The Great Perhaps." At school, he falls in with a prankster of a roommate, the Colonel, and the sassy, sexy, messed-up Alaska Young. For an unforgettable 128 days, Miles learns life lessons in love, loyalty, friendship, literature, and poetry, as well as experiences the thrill of a first girlfriend. When tragedy strikes Culver Creek, Miles is forced to undertake an even closer examination of his own character and relationship with his friends.

This is an outstanding coming-of-age novel that has already proved to be a favorite teen read. It doesn't resort to a cop out of a "happily ever after" ending, but the characters each seek closure on their own terms. The characters are well-drawn, witty, and full of individual quirks and spunk. Green even manages to bring in the reality of cigarettes and alcohol without a preachy or over-glorifying tone. This novel has won the Teen's Top 10 award as well as the Printz Award, and Green is well on his way to YA superstardom. I'm looking forward to his next novel.
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135 of 163 people found the following review helpful By X. October on January 17, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Edit: there be spoilers here.
Also, I wrote this a while ago, and it's really cute and amusing how my 18 year old self thought. Aw. (But I still agree with the main point of teen-me. Though I'm upping it to 3 stars.)

From all the hype, plus the fact that this is required reading for a lot of high schools, I figured that this would be the crown jewel of John Green novels, the best of the best. But annoyingly, I discovered that from page one it was Paper Towns all over again. I love John Green because God, he is so awesome, but I was really frustrated with the repetitiveness of the same type of plot. I've read Paper Towns, Will Grayson Will Grayson, TFIOS, and now Looking for Alaska and they have all been basically the same book. They all follow the exact same formula:

1. A nerdy, slightly awkward girl/boy who believes in shutting up and staying quiet, usually with a slightly odd name (Miles, WIll Grayson, Hazel, Quentin) meets

2. a super sexy (but nonconventionally so) girl/guy who is also really really intelligent, who usually has a weird name (Alaska, Augustus, Margo) and weird smart-kid quirks and a spirit of adventure, who

3. Takes the protagonist on pranky fun high school adventures and forces them to be something more than an introspective shy awkward person and then

4. Runs away from home/dies leaving the protagonist to

5. Sit around coping with the loss and ultimately come up with big deep conclusions about the meaning of life so that the book can end

6. With a cliffhanger or unsatisfying conclusion.

Obviously there is some slight variation but all his novels more or less follow this general outline.
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