I put off reading this for a while because I didn't want my John Green experience to end, but I got the urge to finally read it last night, and I'm so glad I did. I love this book for all the reasons that I love The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
by E. Lockhart and A Separate Peace
by John Knowles - the boarding school setting, the pranks, the coming of age storylines, the crazy things you do when you're a kid without realizing their consequences. And I also loved it for all the reasons I love John Green - the intelligence, the fact that his teenage characters can quote literature and name historical figures and engage with poetry, the sense of humor, and also the sensitivity to human emotions.
Alaska is a delightful, larger than life character, the kind of friend you have when you're young who changes you forever, but also the kind of friend you idealize so much that you never know quite know what's going on beneath the surface. I love that John Green is able to write characters of both genders, and of many varying races and backgrounds so effectively. Every voice in this book felt true and real, and I sympathized so much not just with Pudge, but also with The Colonel, Alaska, Takumi, and even Lara. This book made me wish I could climb in and live among its characters. I'm actually glad that I read his books in the opposite order of their publication - Paper Towns first, then Katherines, and now Alaska - because although many typical John Green themes are explored in all three, I think they are most successfully and satisfyingly explored here.