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Looking for Alaska Paperback – December 28, 2006
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—From the very first page, tension fills John Green's Michael L. Printz Award-winning novel (Dutton, 2005). Miles Halter, 16, is afraid that nobody will show up at his party because he doesn't have many friends. He loves to read biographies and discover the last words attributed to famous people. He's particularly intrigued with the dying words of poet Francois Rabelais: "I go to seek a great perhaps." Miles is leaving his loving Florida home for the "great perhaps" of the same Alabama boarding school attended by his father. Ominous chapter headings (40 days before, 10 days after) reveal that something tragic may happen. At school, Miles is accepted by a brainy group of pranksters led by his roommate and Alaska Young, a smart and sexy feminist. The teen becomes captivated by his new friends who spend as much energy on sex, smoking, drinking, and cutting-up as they do on reading, learning, and searching for life's meaning. As the school year progresses, Miles's crush on Alaska intensifies, even after it becomes evident that her troubled past sometimes causes her to be self-destructive. This novel is about real kids dealing with the pressures of growing up and feeling indestructible. Listeners will be riveted as the friends band together to deal with the catastrophic events that plague their junior year, and rejoice at their triumphs. Jeff Woodman clearly delineates the voices for each character in an age-appropriate, smart-alecky manner, injecting great emotion while managing not to be overly sentimental. This story belongs in all collections for older young adults, especially those who like Chris Crutcher, David Klass, and Terry Trueman.—JoAnn Carhart, East Islip Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
★ Michael L. Printz Award Winner
★ Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist
★ NPR's 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels
★ TIME Magazine's 100 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time
★ An ALA Best Book for Young Adults Top 10
★ An ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers
★ A Booklist Best Book of the Year
★ A Kirkus Best Book of the Year
★ A SLJ Best Book of the Year
★ A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
“What sets this novel apart is the brilliant, insightful, suffering but enduring voice of Miles Halter.” –Chicago Tribune
“Funny, sad, inspiring, and always compelling.” –Bookpage
“Stunning conclusion . . . one worthy of a book this good.” -–Philadelphia Inquirer
“The spirit of Holden Caulfield lives on.” –Kliatt
★ “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, starred review
★ “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, Green draws Alaska so lovingly, in self-loathing darkness as well as energetic light.” –SLJ, starred review
★ “Miles is a witty narrator who manages to be credible as the overlooked kid, but he's also an articulate spokesperson for the legions of teen searching for life meaning (his taste for famous last words is a believable and entertaining quirk), and the Colonel's smarts, clannish loyalties, and relentlessly methodological approach to problems make him a true original....There's a certain recursive fitness here, since this is exactly the kind of book that makes kids like Miles certain that boarding school will bring them their destiny, but perceptive readers may also realize that their own lives await the discovery of meaning even as they vicariously experience Miles' quest.” –BCCB, starred review
“John Green has written a powerful novel—one that plunges headlong into the labyrinth of life, love, and the mysteries of being human. This is a book that will touch your life, so don’t read it sitting down. Stand up, and take a step into the Great Perhaps.”
–K.L. Going, author of Fat Kid Rules the World, a Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book
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Top Customer Reviews
Complex, believable, real characters
Loved the narrator's voice
It's so normal and extraordinary all at once - if you know what I mean
It's very sad. Very
I am left with a feeling of loss -- which goes to show good writing, but it still hurts
I found it weird how this straight-laced kid goes from no friends at home to friends and doing all kinds of not straight-laced things at his new school
It's very, very sad
I can't John Green's novel. I just can't. The voice of the narrator is just so wonderful...it's amusing and it's like someone is really talking. You can hear it. I love it. This isn't my favorite John Green novel, but it's still a good one.
(Warning: MILD SPOILERS) Though not as emotionally charged as The Fault in Our Stars, this book did convey how tragedy affects an individual and a community. I could sympathize with Miles' grief and how it changed his friendship with Chip and his other classmates. Alaska herself was somewhat of an enigma, rarely exposing her own vulnerability. My only qualm would be that the conclusion was a bit tidy and mildly ambiguous. Though the cause of the incident was eventually defined, it was never determined whether Alaska was truly self-destructive. Despite any vague inferences, it was a great book that depicted the tumultuous teenage existence quite well.
This story is the story of Miles. A 16 year old average boy who leaves his home in Florida by choice, to attend a boarding school in Alabama.
There, his world is opened up. Mainly surrounded by the people he meets and the experiences that come with that. Good and Bad. But ultimately it causes him to find himself. This is just one of those stories that sucks you in and keeps you there. But you're always aware that something tragic is about to happen.
I could have done without all the "Detective" work that came about in the middle of the second half of this book. It just didn't really read as a realistic event concerning these characters to me, and I was really wishing that during this time, it would have taken a different route. But the internal struggles that Miles and his friends go through rang true for me. And is what kept me reading through to the end. And how the "answer" came about surprised me. In a good way.
All in all this one is a great read. I highly recommend this one.
I have to say this though.. Although I got her, I really could not stand Alaska! LOL