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Looking For Alaska Hardcover – March 3, 2005
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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
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An ALA Best Book for Young Adults Top 10
An ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers
A 2005 Booklist Editors’ Choice
A Kirkus Best Book of 2005
A 2005 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, that readers mourn her loss along with her friends." --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." --Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review
"Readers will only hope that this is not the last word from this promising new author." --Publishers Weekly
“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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Looking for Alaska by John Green (YA)
John Green is one of the most popular young adult authors today and a book like Looking for Alaska shows why. Miles, a geeky, unpopular kid, decides he wants to look for his Great Perhaps and wants to attend private school away from home. He connects immediately with his roommate Chip. His social circle widens instantly when Alaska Young, pretty, moody, popular, notices him. Miles now has a group of friends and they become close. About halfway through the book, the unthinkable happens and the rest of the book shows the aftermath and the search to find out why. This was a gripping, quick read that high school boys and girls would love.
What can I say other than that John Green has done it again: he's won over my heart by creating such recognizable characters, including such soul-touching quotes it seems they were written specifically for me, as if he was almost describing my own life and thoughts and dreams (or nightmares) in his books. I don't know how he does it, only that he's one of the most "true" writers I've ever read.
I had no idea what the book was going to be about, other than about love. So when the days were counting down to "something", I thought it would simply be the moment when Pudge and Alaska kissed, and then would follow some teen drama about how it couldn't work out, yada yada yada ... But suddenly the book goes "Bridge to Terabithia" on me and Alaska dies! But that's part of what makes this such a "true" story: life doesn't have happy endings, so why should books?
The book itself was beautiful.
I can't say that I loved Alaska as a character, and I'm not sure I'd like her if she were an actual person, but what she brought forth was something tragically beautiful. She's that girl that is interesting and is full of secrets, the kind of girl who you can't help but fall in love with which is, of course, what Miles does.
I feel like John Green is an author that all teenagers should read because he gives us something to chew on, something that makes us sit down and contemplate life for the rest of the afternoon. He does this through Miles's story and the way he falls for Alaska. I feel like I'm rambling but it's like my mind is still in the book with Miles and his pain and with the Colonel and all I want to do is contemplate life with them just a little bit longer.
This book is a whole lot of funny and more than just a little bit heart breaking and I recommend it to any teenager than can read.
I loved the characters, all of them, particularly Alaska. I found her to be quite intriguing. But I will say that it was a little irritating that she would get super cranky at times, and it was never really discovered what exactly she was so cranky about. And then there's the main plot point in this book which wasn't 100% resolved, which left me feeling kind of an empty void, but at the same time it fits in well with the story, it would have been unrealistic to get the answers to all the questions that were asked. Often times when someone is put into that experience, they are left with a lot of questions, that can never be answered but will still tear you up inside. However I feel like not knowing kind of drew me closer to the characters and everything they were going through.
This book is definitely one that will have you questioning a lot about life, and why we are the way that we are. It's something I think about from time to time anyways, but this book brought me right back into that mind setting. Very thought provoking, and just an altogether amazing read.
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