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Showing 1-10 of 3,292 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 4,461 reviews
on April 12, 2016
The answer to "what did you think" is kind of complicated. Overall, I liked the book. John Green really has a way with words and such real character that I can't dislike any of his books. He tends to choose heavier topics and does a good job at...doing so. This one though, is by far the heaviest of the stories of his that I've read. It almost doesn't feel like the same author in some respects. It is a first novel. (At least in known publications.)

Pros:
Well-written
Complex, believable, real characters
Interesting story
Loved the narrator's voice
It's so normal and extraordinary all at once - if you know what I mean

Cons:
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.
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VINE VOICEon June 5, 2014
Miles has decided he needs to take risks in life, so he enrolls in a boarding school to escape his friendless and uneventful existence. There he meets a motley group of mischievous students, including his roommate Chip, aka "The Colonel" and troubled wild-child, Alaska, who becomes the object of his affection. There were several elements that I really enjoyed. 1) Miles' narrative voice, for both his innocence and his willingness to expand his horizons. 2) The characters' intelligence and resourcefulness. These kids are all smart in their own unique ways and use their talents in inspiring and sometimes misguided endeavors. 3) Green doesn't shy away from the realities teenagers face, including sex and substance use. 4) The Before and After format. Knowing that some significant event is going to occur allows for a sense of anticipation and drama. 5) Pranks!

(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.
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on July 3, 2012
I really loved this book. Mr Green does an excellent job in capturing the very essence of what makes these characters tick. Of who they are. No matter how out of left field they may seem at times. They were real. And they had real issues. This one is a very entertaining, heartfelt, endearing, and at times a hilarious read. I had plenty of laugh out loud moments with this one.

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
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on May 7, 2016
This is about teenage suicide. This is already a distressing, horrible topic and I think if I knew that before I started reading, I would not have read it. I would not recommend it to my teenage so. It is a very emotional ride.

I have previously read The Virgin Suicides and Thirteen Reasons, both excellent novels about a similar topic. From reading samples and reviews before I began, I was prepared for the topic of those books. Having said that, this book is better.

Alaska Young is an adventuresome free spirit. Her closest friends do not really know her, and she wants it that way. She frequently answers with lines such as “I’m unpredictable.” There are frequent mood acting outs, but we never really get to the why of them.

Miles and Chip are roommates at an Alabama boarding school where the novel takes place. Miles is a person with few friends, either at the boarding school or at his home. Roommate Chip has a dysfunctional family and wants to be addressed as Colonel. After introductions, they go to meet Alaska, a girl who has a single room because her roommate was expelled the previous term. As relationships develop, there is a center point of smoking, almost sexual incidents (and one semi-explicit one) and pranks played on other students, each other, or the Eagle, dean of students. A central moral code is emphasized “Never rat,” or its equivalents of never squeal, and never tell. Like someone told on Alaska’s roommate. No one knows who informed on Mary, but Takumi, a new friend, has made it his mission to find out.

In the table of contents there is “Before” and “After.” A suicide divides the book almost in half. The first half is entertaining reading in its descriptions of teenage angst suffered by teenagers trying to survive and establish identities at a boarding school. The second half begins on page 135 with the notification to the student body of a suicide. Predictably depressing descriptions of reactions of class colleagues do not make for entertaining reading.

Pages 216-224 are what makes this book the best of the three mentioned in this review. There is a lot of speculation on the meaning of life delivered through a mechanism of examination of “last words.” I found this to be a very clever device. I used a highlighter on most of these pages and far more than any other part of the book.

Don’t forget to look at the authors endnotes and guide. I found these best examined after taking a couple of days break after finishing the book. They are also entertaining.
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on September 4, 2016
I thought this book was well written but I think I'm 25-30 years too old to appreciate it. If I was 18, I think I would have related more to the struggles of the main characters in the book and how they respond when something happens to one of their fellow students. I'm trying to be cryptic so I don't reveal too much and spoil it for others but I think that one of the benefits of being older is that you're able to better process the crap that life throws at you and the experiences over the years enable you to learn how to cope and move on. I would much rather be my older self with the wisdom and experiences of life and would not like to be 17 or 18 again for anything! The characters in this book find it really hard to cope with 'said event' and to move forward. To me, the fact that much of this book was devoted to this struggle was much ado about nothing and there really wasn't much to keep me interested and turning the pages. I had to force myself to labor through this and it took several weeks for me to finally finish it.
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on December 29, 2012
This is my favorite novel since I read Gilead. It is simple, but profound, and emotionally true in a way that so few novels are. Its message resonated with me on a deep personal level. There are things that happen in your life that change you forever, and you can struggle all you want to figure them out, to no avail. As Fritz Perls used to say, "knowledge is the booby prize." This book teaches how to come to terms with the difficult, the impossible even. A lovely, kind, thoughtful book that persists after reading. Put this very high on your "must read" list.

P.S. While this book is about young adults, I wouldn't think of it as a "young adult novel" any more than I'd think of _Gilead_ as a "senior novel" just because it deals with an older protagonist.
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on June 21, 2016
I read the book because it was a popular book. I couldn't stand the book due to the boring plot, an uninteresting writing style, and my personal distaste. Don't read if you didn't like the fault in our stars
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on January 31, 2017
If you are looking for a realistic fiction that makes you think, then this is the book for you. This is one of the most interesting mind boggling books I have ever read. Looking for Alaska by John Greene is a very interesting book, and I would have never thought that I would like that type of book usually, but I am so glad I read it. John Greene's work is all kind of similar I would compare this book to Paper Towns. Looking for Alaska takes place in a Boarding School in Alabama. The main character is Miles Halter, aka Pudge. Pudge goes to a boarding school where he meets his three best friends Takumi, The Colonel, and last but not least Alaska, a weird and complicated girl. What Pudge does not know is that this time in Alabama will be mysterious and fun. I would give this book four out of five stars. It was amazing.
The setting of the book is a boarding school called Creek Preparatory School. I really liked how they incorporated the setting into the theme of the story. I definetly thought that this was the perfect setting for this book. The characters were raw and exciting. The Colonel is Pudge's best friend, and he is very smart and authentic. This whole story is funny because of him. Alaska is purely honest and has a lot of problems but is really unique and exciting and loves to read. Takumi is the quieter one of the group but still fun. Last but not least is Miles Halter. Miles Halter is very innocent and young minded. Miles Halter is obsessed with last words. Each one of these characters has a special interest in something like last words.
The conflict in this story is when Alaska dies. They keep on telling him that Alaska committed suicide but they don't know, so the whole story is them trying to find out what happened. The message this book is trying to portray is that things aren't always what they seem. Throughout this story there are huge surprises especially with Alaska theres a lot of unexpected twists.
This book is full of intellectual and outstanding work. It is very well written, very well composed. I would recommend this book to people who love romance, mystery, and comedy. This book is a book that I would recommend to hardcore readers. It is a very famous book and very well known. John Greene is an author that is very well known and is popular all around. Something unique about this book is the fact that inside the cover and in the back of the book are comments and questions for the author that he answered, so please take the time to read this book.
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on November 17, 2015
After enjoying a few of John Greens books, I was excited about Looking for Alaska. Unfortunately it was a huge let down. The characters were irritatingly predictable, and the use of profanity was ridiculous. Whereas Greens other books manage to cross over to enjoyable literature for older adults, this felt like I was reading something designed to be read by snickering teenage boys in the corner of the library.
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on October 19, 2015
Here's the thing. This was written in the midst of the "Harry Potter.. boys are suddenly reading now... juggernaut." Given that its the author it is and the publisher is Penguin, I am going to say that this was a product that was crafted for a particular market. Not all kids who read are emotionally and intellectually sophisticated. So why should all books be? For this reason I give it 2 stars. It creates an "ok" story for its audience. However, I am not loading much more on than that. The characters are thinly drawn and thereby pretty boring. Because of this, the story never really reaches any kind of climax. The final resolution in the end is nearly unreadable. (At that point who cares if anyone is having any kind of personal revelation?) But you see I judge this as somebody for whom this book was not intended. Its a big world of print out there and there is lots of room for everybody. I would steer clear of giving this book to any kid over the age 14 who is a creative/brainy type. They would be bored and annoyed by it. I would also steer clear of giving this book to any kid under the age of 14 (for its sexual content.)
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