Gail's Reviews > Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska by John Green
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's review
Jan 31, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: young-adult
Read in February, 2009

There were a couple ways this book found me. It started when a book club friend (Laura) nominated it as a possible pick for the club back in December and, upon hearing the plot, my interest was piqued.

Then John Green found me again, as he was the person behind a NYT book review about The Book Thief (one of my favorite books ever) that I recently stumbled upon.

Oh, and the guy lives in Indianapolis too, so we'll add the fact he's a transplanted Hoosier to my list of reasons to check him out.

Back to the book here -- for a debut, it's a powerful novel. And while it's YA, its theme of teen angst and recovering from that first major loss in your life - well, it's a universal kind of experience, one that resonates with anyone, at any age.

There were points where I admittedly felt as if the plot went a little..hmm- how best to describe it--...OC-ish? (and by OC-ish, I'm referring to Josh Schwartz's teen soap on FOX). But hey, for a short period, I was a fan of that show myself ("Calliffooorrnniaaaaa, here we commmmeee" - sorry, couldn't resist) so I guess it makes sense I'd take note of some of that same kind of dramatic flare here. And speaking of Schwartz, the buzz is that he'll be the man behind the screenplay as well as directing the film adaptation of this book when it hits screens in 2010 (so sayeth Wikipedia).

In a nutshell, the novel is about Miles "Pudge" Halter, his experience at an Alabama boarding school, and his merry band of prankster friends -- most notably his roommate "The Colonel" and Alaska -- the girl that's more mature ( more ways than one) than everyone in the school, full of the kind of angst that makes every hormonal teenager there (Pudge included) want her.

To give away any more of the plot would be taking away from your own experience reading it, though the foreshadowing is weak enough that when the book reaches its "Big Reveal," the plot twist does feel a little anti-climatic -- at least, it did to me.

My favorite element to novel is the way Green uses Pudge's obsession with people's last words as a story-telling device. This is a quirk of the author, and I like that he's incorporated into the book - kind of like his own fingerprint on its theme -- very clever.
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message 1: by Jonathan (new) - added it

Jonathan Thanks for this, G. I just picked up The Fault in Our Stars tonight at Indy Reads Books, a shop you'd love, no doubt. It's on Mass Ave downtown.

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