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4.4 out of 5 stars
Looking for Alaska
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on October 4, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love John Green. For me he is one of a very few male YA authors whose writing I really enjoy. His nerd-boy perspective on the world is fresh and interesting. For a change, it's nice to read how boys perceive girls instead of being stuck in boy-obsessed girls' minds portrayed in numerous female-POV YA books so popular these days.

"Looking For Alaska" is the second John Green's novel that I've read. This book is a Printz Award Winner, and rightfully so. The story is funny and sad, profound and silly. It explores the lives of several teenagers at a boarding school which include all usual attributes: pranks, hook-ups, and illicit activities involving alcohol and cigarettes. But the story goes beyond that as a tragic occurrence shakes the world of these teenagers and they are faced with issues of loss, suffering, and meaning of life.

What I like about Green is that he is never condescending in his writing, or overly simplistic, like many YA writers are. He skillfully tackles important questions of love, sex, death, religion and philosophy, all within the limits of an YA novel.

I think I would have been impressed by this novel more have I not read "Paper Towns" first. What bothered me was how similar the two books were. While I enjoyed the stories and writing, I wish Green would venture beyond the theme of a nerd boy obsessed with understanding of an enigmatic voluptuous girl who ends up to be a simply disturbed person with an artificially created air of mystery around her to cover her pain.

Having said that, I enjoyed this book very much and will read the third novel of Green's "An Abundance of Katherines" and follow his work in future.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
I just closed the cover on this book after neglecting my family for the day. I couldn't leave the world of Alaska and Miles. Let me preface this with the fact that I am an 8th grade teacher previewing YA lit. This book took my breath away. The characters are deep, smart kids. They all have different issues to face (known as the Labrynth) in their young adulthood. The book addressed teen longing, sex, drinking, suicide, peer pressure and the ability to make choices. The story is fast paced and riviting. The strong language (i.e. use of the "f-bomb") is used wisely to strengthen characters and their youth. Any teen, male or female, will find this book irresistable!

As a teacher I am excited by the possibility of this book. I can see deep classroom discussions about things that matter to kids. As a teacher, I also know that I won't put this book on my classroom shelf. As one reviewer wrote, this is absolutely a book for older young adults. Some parent would have my head if I suggested this book. But I hope kids come to find this novel on their own because I believe it speaks so solidly to this generation. As a teacher I am also excited because Waiting For Alaska will be enjoyed equally by young men and young women. I am constantly hunting for books that don't cater to just the ladies. This one fits the bill. Your son will love you for putting this book into his hands.

Parents, this book is one that you could read at the same time as your son or daughter. It may kick-start some rich discussions that every teen and parent should have.

Disclaimer... this teacher didn't edit or proofread her review. My family, after an entire day of neglect, need me. Enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This book brought me through another person's world, with many twists and turns along the way. Tragedy and love and everything in between. A must read, especially if your looking for something more after reading The Fault In Our Stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is, by far, John Green's best novel in every regard. It is also the best novel I have read in a long time. It has everything: great characters, action, romance, adventure, drama, metaphor, symbolism, etc. I highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
John's books are amazing, and are always a pleasure to read. I very much so enjoyed this one specifically, as the story-line is amazing. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in John's books-or any new book-as a must read. DFTBA!
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on July 31, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I was led to this book by the recommendation of a teenage friend and from all the good talk about this book and John Green. I don't get the hype at all. The main character Miles falls for his new friend, the rebellious and hot girl, Alaska. My friend said Alaska was a character she connected to and I would too. Sure, I smoke and drink like Alaska and half of other teenagers, but I found nothing insanely relatable to her. It didn't help that she never revealed much about herself.
The author never created a strong bond between Alaska and Miles he didn't even focus on parts with them together very much. I was not rooting for them or infatuated in their friendship, feeling for them. They really didn't have an amazing friendship at all or love connection. When a book has a romance you should really be hooked into it and rooting for the characters, totally head over heals for what's between them or what one character feels for the other. But nothing. The strongest bond was between Miles and his friend the Colonel if anything. This book just seemed to drag on. I was waiting for something to happen that was actually interesting especially with the countdown that happens in the book (example: 253 before). Once the event occurred I was not phased much. Due to lack of character depth and character connection this book just became boring because that's all this book really could rely on because nothing special was happening in the plot. It felt like it was the same idea of Cather in the Rye, just the life of a struggling teen the book not really going anywhere in particular. Yet Cather was interesting and THIS WAS NOT.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Having lived in an Alabama boarding school I can safely say he hit the head on the nail with what the weather is like and the friendships that come from living in a boarding school. It was quite good but I like his other books more.
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VINE VOICEon December 3, 2010
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I really don't even know where to start. I bought this book a looong time ago, but watching--getting addicted to--VlogBrothers is what made me pick it up, finally. I, of course new it was going to be good, it won the Printz! And I read Paper Towns a year ago so I wasn't completely new to John's incredible writing. And its just that, incredible!

Looking for Alaska is a real, honest account of being a teenager. There's smoking, and drinking, and sex. All things that most teens do or at least think about doing on a regular basis. John doesn't hold back or sugarcoat anything and that was one of the things that made me love the book. I would have read this over and over if it had been out when I was 15, because its so real.

The book starts off by counting down the days, counting down to what you don't know, but it happens about halfway through and its really surprising! It changes the entire book, turns it from a happy book about the lives of these teens into a book and sadness and how to deal with all the feeling someone can leave behind.

John Green's writing is fantastic and will sweep you off your feet. Not to mention that it is laugh out loud funny. This is an amazing book. It definitely deserved the awards that it won, but I still only rated it 4 stars. Why? I can't really put my finger on it. The book was great. I really, really liked it, but it just left me a little sad and unsatisfied. Not in a bad way. In the way that any good book that seems real can make you feel, I guess. Does that make sense? Anyway, I think you should read it! John Green's writing is something that you should not miss!
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on July 24, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I have mixed emotions about this book. On one hand the writing is outstanding and the book is an excellent read. On the other hand, the characters are teenagers attending a private academy who seem to spend more of their time drinking and smoking than studying. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not so naïve as to think that teenagers don’t indulge in such thing these days. Heck, I graduated from high school in 1958 and even then we did a bit of drinking and smoking, but certainly not to the extent that these characters do. Now, I never attended a private academy and I imagine that kids away from parental supervision will behave more outrageously. But even so, I thought their behavior was a bit over-the-top.

All the main characters are well-drawn with distinctly identifiable personalities and who exhibit all the emotional ups and downs so characteristic of that age group. But the central character, Alaska Young, did not seem particularly likable to me, which left me wondering about all the fuss generated over her by the others.

The book is divided into two parts, the days before a pivotal event and the days after. I thought the part about the "days after" came dangerously close to having pathos turn into bathos. Nevertheless, I had a hard time putting this book down. I would recommend it for adults but I don’t think it sends the right message to impressionable teens. In fact, the day after I finished the book an article on the front page of our local newspaper read: Police Identify Teen Killed in Crash. It’s worth noting that the teen in question was intoxicated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
John Greens books are amazing. I know of no author who can transmit such intense emotions through the paper, and even though his books are generally considered youth novels, I find them highly intruiging even though I'm an adult.
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