Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Review: Looking For Alaska by John Green

Title: Looking For Alaska
John Green
Genre: YA Fiction
Publishing Information: 221 pages; March 3rd, 2005 by Puffin
Series: Standalone

Where I got it:
E-book from the library

One sentence:
Miles Halter, awkward and friendless, leaves home for boarding school to discover his “Great Perhaps”, and there discovers friends, including the alluring and unique Alaska Young.

Humor, romance, pranks, boarding school, friendship, debut author

Main characters:
Miles was initially unlikeable, simply because his awkwardness made me feel disconnected from him. However, once he got to Culver Creek boarding school, his social disconnect became more endearing as he gained friends and grew into himself. His fascination was famous last words was interesting and from there, his adorable charm and well-written development made him a fun character to read. Alaska’s quirky and funny personality made me warm to her quickly, but her mood swings gave me a good balance and understanding of her character. And I loved seeing her through Miles’ eyes. I especially love how Green elucidated their friendship, but also Miles’ hope for something more.

Secondary characters:
I loved the diverse and clever cast of characters! Green developed even the secondary characters to such an extent that they could be real people off the street. Chip “The Colonel” was a stronger personality than Miles, but they complimented one another perfectly, and the Colonel’s presence definitely helped Miles grow. Takumi was just so gosh darn funny and adorable! I don’t know why, but I adored him. I know, not helpful at all, but fangirl moment! Even Lara was a complex character, and the relationship between her and Miles was remarkable because of it.

Writing style: 4.5/5
The fact that Looking for Alaska was written in Miles’ point of view was especially eye-opening, because I know understand what guys mean when they say they don’t understand women. In fact, a lot of the book is about trying to unearth Alaska’s motives for her different actions. The format was interesting and it grew on me as the novel progressed: its first half was a countdown to a specific incident and the second half was a countdown after the incident. Finally, Green’s style is easy-to-read, and yet, gorgeously well-written. His dialogue is realistic and his pace compelling, making it tough to put down. My only problem was that I had the hardest time getting into it at the beginning; I almost wish the first couple pages had been cut because I just couldn’t sit down and read through them.

I wouldn’t say that the plot was anything particularly special: the boarding school thing, the uncool kid finding his niche and his group of friends, etc. I think it was the way that Green wrote it, the twists and the minor details that really made it special. For instance, I personally thought that the smoking, drinking, swearing and sexual instances made it really realistic, and added in something besides just being gratuitous. I could really picture these characters being students at my school, and that made it all the more relatable for me. I also loved the details about the World Religions class they took and how that tied in, and the fact that Miles’ memorizes last words, and all the references to facts, figures, famous individuals and literature that were sprinkled throughout. I love books like that with added depth.

Ending: 4.5/5
Magnificent. I love how it pauses to look back at the events that changed Miles’. The only complaint was that it was a little long-winded, and took a while to finally wrap-up.

Best scene:
So many good ones! Probably the prank, or the BJ scene.

Fascinating and incredibly developed main and secondary characters, incredible writing style and pacing, excellent ending, attention to details, how relatable it was

Negatives: Tough to get into at the beginning, not remarkably unique plot, a little wordy on the wrap-up

First Line: The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother insisted on throwing me a going-away party.

Cover: Strikingly simple- I love how it ties into the minor details including in the novel

Extremely well-written with characters and a story that will capture your heart

9.3 / 10

1 comment :

  1. I always find it fascinating to read books that are narrated by the opposite sex as well...it really removes many gender boundries and lets me concentrate on the mere humanity within humanity.