Thursday, 29 May 2014

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Description from Goodreads:

Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (Fran├žois Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.

I have some very mixed opinions about Looking For Alaska. While I liked the story in general,  about having confidence in yourself, having regrets and how to overcome them, there were somethings that kept me from fully indulging myself in the story. I don't read contemporary books that often, and when I do, I'm usually pretty harsh on them (I don't even know why??) when reviewing the novel, so it might be why I'm being tough on this book as well.

John Green's writing is one of my favourite things ever. He has this very unique writing style which makes his books stand out with originality. It makes you almost think of how the protagonist is talking out loud, talking to the reader, and I can almost hear Green's own voice when I'm reading his books. The quirky, even a bit weird, dialogues are so much fun to read and the interactions between the characters never cease to surprise me. I will never stop loving Green's writing as it's witty, smart, and fun as I always seem to want to read another book by him (even though everything he does with the story isn't to my liking)

Even though I usually love John Green's characters as they are imperfect and flawed which essentially makes them human and realistic, I struggled to connect with Pudge and Alaska. Their story was really touching and definitely made me think about my own relationships, but Alaska especially was a bit frustrating from time to time. Of course that's part of her charm too - you can't decide if you love her or hate her. Green definitely knows what he's doing when he is trying to write complex characters, and he wonderfully succeeds in it, but I do want to identify with the characters too. And it didn't happen for me this time. 

However, despite the fact that I couldn't fully connect with the main characters, I was able to sympathise with them. None of them seem to have exactly an easy life despite attending a private school (or maybe that's one of the reason why they don't lead an easy life). One of the reasons why I liked Looking For Alaska, and Green's books in general, is because he always writes stories which are just heart wrenching. They aren't all about discovering who you are and what love is, but they are stories that could actually happen to you and show that life isn't all about rainbows and unicorns. There is certain authenticity in Looking For Alaska which makes you respect the book. 

Those who enjoyed Paper Towns by John Green will most definitely also enjoy Looking For Alaska. The Fault in Our Stars is one of my favourite books ever, but I feel like the other books by Green haven't been able to match with TFIOS. I still haven't read Will Grayson, Will Grayson or An Abundance of Katherines yet, but I do want to read them at some point as well. I love Green's style of writing so much that even if he wrote a manual for washing machine I would probably want to read it. Actual rating 3.5 


  1. A friend made me read this as she loved it. I gave it the same rating as you mainly because I couldn't stand Alaska. I found her so irritating. The friend that lent me the book though found her to be intriguing and complex and apparently does still. Each to their own I guess. I don't really have any desire to read any of his other books because they just don't interest me. I wonder if you would have liked his other books more had you read TFIOS after the others? Great honest review :) I like the new layout too.

    1. Alaska definitely is one of those characters you either love or hate - I sort of belong to the hate camp, even though I understand why Green wrote her like he did. That's a really good question that I hadn't ever thought before! But yeah, I think I would've liked his books better if I hadn't read TFIOS first. That book is just one of my absolute favourites and I think after reading it I saw John Green as demi-god, so naturally I though all the other books would have at least some level of similarity in their awesomeness. :) Thanks for the compliment for the layout - I'm having some difficulties deciding on what do with the whole appearance. :D

  2. It is hard to love a story if you don't connect to the characters. I especially detest female characters that are annoying, whiny, or bratty...LOL.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Tell me about. I really wanted to give the highest ratings for this book as I found the story meaningful, but sometimes the characters make it a bit difficult. Thanks for stopping by! :)


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