Lisa Wolf's Reviews > Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska by John Green
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Feb 29, 12

bookshelves: young-adult, boarding-school-or-college
Read from February 24 to 29, 2012

I'm grading on a curve here. I'd give "Looking for Alaska" 3.5 stars if I could. Definitely above average, but not deserving of the highest marks either.

Looking for Alaska is well-written, funny, and moving... but felt very familiar. It's a coming of age story about a smart but lonely teen boy who transfers to boarding school, meets a bunch of wacky, endearing friends who really "get" him, and - inevitably - falls in love with the crazily-impetuous-but-wounded-on-the-inside girl down the hall. Pranks abound. There's a crotchety but wise old professor whose class changes the boy's life. Tragedy ensues. The boy comes to a new understanding about suffering, the meaning of life, love and friendship.

It's not that I didn't enjoy Looking for Alaska. I did. It was hard to put down, well plotted and paced, and captured the turmoil - the highs and lows - of the teen years. It's just that nothing seemed terribly surprising in this book.

John Green is a terrific writer. His newest book, "The Fault In Our Stars", is one of the best books I've read. While I realize that Looking for Alaska is very well-regarded (it won the Printz Award for young adult fiction), it follows too many well-trodden paths for me to consider it truly outstanding.
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