“‘Don’t you know who you love, Pudge? You love a girl who makes you laugh and shows you porn and drinks with you. You don’t love the crazy, sullen bitch.’ And there was something to that, truth be told.”
John Green knows how to pull you in and twist your heart. I am not a fan of John Green, so obviously do not read his novels. BUT a few of his books appear on Times Best 100 YA list, so I must push through my bais and read them.
I borrowed this book, as an ebook, from my local library. Almost all of John Green’s books are available as ebooks, audiobooks, and in physical copies. Green’s work is prevalent, so you can probably find this book anywhere books are sold.
Looking for Alaska is the first John Green book I have read. I cannot say I want to read more…
This story took a turn I was not expecting for a YA novel. I feel the need to give trigger warnings for:
- Underage drinking and driving
- Sexual content
Do these mature themes take away from the story? No, but might not be suitable for all ages (13+).
Miles, aka Pudge, is sent a boarding school called Culver Creek. He rooms with a guy who becomes a close friend. Miles quickly became the victim to a series of pranks and caught in the middle of a prank war. He also catches the eye of a fellow student named Alaska.
Alaska smokes, drinks, sells cigarettes, and has family problems. She is also well read and doesn’t need a boyfriend in her life, but has one. Almost all of the students smoke and drink out of boredom, too much freedom/lack of supervision, and frankly because they are young and dumb. All of their actions played out like a typical teenage drama. The students gather to have parties and prank each other, all while Miles is slowly falling in love with Alaska….but also has a “girlfriend.”
One night after a party the unthinkable happens. Miles and his friends’ are shaken to their core.
While I do not enjoy John Green’s style, I did like Looking for Alaska but not nearly enough to recommend to all readers or to go on to read his other books (minus the ones on Time’s list). I went into Looking for Alaska with very low expectations, because of the reviews I have read but liked a few things: the grittiness of the story, the timeline style in which the story was told, and reading from the perspective of a young male. I also enjoyed the other male characters in the story and their take on relationships.
But, as always, there were things I did not like.
- Alaska/Miles/Lara lust triangle *rolls eyes*
- The feelings of a cautionary tale—similar to Go Ask Alice.
I am not going to discuss these things in more depth because I will ruin the story.
Do I recommend Look for Alaska? Honestly no, unless you are a teenager. There was nothing special about Looking for Alaska. I rated it 4 stars simply because I could not give it 3.5. Looking for Alaska is most definitely written for teens eyes only. If you are an older YA reader, like me, you can skip over Looking for Alaska. That being said, I can understand why Looking for Alaska made Time’s Best 100 YA list. Green pushed boundaries in a sensible way that was very realistic and relatable to teen readers.