Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
Looking For Alaska Hardcover – March 3, 2005
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
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.
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
Browse award-winning titles. See more
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.
As a coming-of-age story geared toward young adults, "Looking for Alaska" colors outside the lines enthusiastically and often. Its fanciful language is profane in a way that many grade school texts are not, and its handful of sexual encounters are explicit (hilariously so, in one memorable instance). I'm a preservice educator who's assembling a mental list of teachable texts, and these sequences did give me pause, if only because I can anticipate reasonable objections from parents who want to explore these ideas with their kids on their time.
But for students beginning to forge points of view on some of life's bigger ideas -- among them sex, loyalty, suicide, and how much thought to give the rules -- "Looking for Alaska" is a fine place to start. The book follows a worn groove for this genre, complete with experimental drug use and its own manic pixie dream girl, but it decorates these tropes with enough sincere flourishes to keep the attention of readers who've trod this path before. The way main character Miles shuffles off his introverted, largely friendless identity as soon as he gets to boarding school struck me as especially thoughtful. Kids try on different versions of themselves all the time, and the fact that Miles does so with minimal fanfare rang true to me.
For classroom use, I do have some reservations. The novel feels at times like the chattiest episodes of "Dawson's Creek," wherein cliquey bands of idle kids lay out or obscure their feelings using a kind of surreal, uniquely contemporary teenage eloquence that too often draws attention to itself. In "Alaska," this comes across not only in dialogue, but in Miles' narration, during which Green abuses hyphenated modifiers ("the Colonel's I-hate-the-rich routine") and capital letters as a means of demonstrating Very Important versions of otherwise pedestrian ideas -- several things happen Before a very grave thing happens, for instance.
The book is aspirational this way, and I think that's to be commended. I developed much of my own writerly identity, such as it is, from "Angel" and "Buffy" reruns, which teased out the flexibility of casual English but made me insufferably adjectival through most of college.
On the other hand, this deliberate approach to teenage chatter could make for rich lessons in voice. How, when and for what reasons do Miles, Chip and Alaska code-switch between high-minded literary English and colloquial talk? What does their preoccupation with slang and nicknames indicate about what they're actually communicating to each other and the staff at their boarding school? Until the halfway point, the book is divided into a series of picaresque misadventures, which lend themselves well to this sort of isolated close-reading. There are opportunities for cross-disciplinary work, too, the most obvious of which would be Dr. Hyde's world religions class. Teaching this book in ninth or tenth grade would dovetail with explorations into Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, and any other belief systems students take up in global history classes.
There's a lot to like here, and I think most kids will be able to digest the more challenging stuff on offer. I recommend the book cautiously to teachers looking for a more relatable substitute for "A Separate Peace," with one proviso -- mechanically, not all of the language in "Alaska" is the kind you'll want your students to emulate.