Hilary's Reviews > Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska by John Green
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's review
Jul 27, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: a-miraculous-pleasure-read, ya-for-fun

I wish I had read this before I read Paper Towns by the same author, because he is a wee formulaic: slightly nerdy socially awkward boy (only child of helpful, understanding, progressive parents) meets Manic Pixie Dream Girl (yes, that is a technical film term, in case you're interested). Adventures ensue. Some event occurs that helps boy grow and learn life lessons. Boy does not get girl. (Sorry if that's a spoiler, though I do appreciate the realism.) This one is set in a private school, so there's a bit of that school-story element to it.

This is better than Paper Towns, though, so I wish I had been a little less knowledgeable about his formula before reading this, because it would have made it that much better. This narrator, Miles "Pudge" Halter, isn't quite as funny as Quentin Jacobsen, but the story is also more serious in tone, so. This also has some semi serious philosophical musings going on, but in a way that isn't fake, condescending or didactic. The buddy sidekicks, the Colonel and Takumi, are realistic and honest. Despite the aforementioned formula, the foreshadowing is subtle and even surprised me a little.

This is the superior story (it won the Printz Award) and if you're going to go on a John Green kick like yours truly, start with this. I'm on to An Abundance of Katherines next, though, again, I think I can predict what will happen. Green is funny enough that it doesn't matter.

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