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3.46  ·  Rating details ·  345 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Mia's heart made a sound that no one heard except for Mia late one night when she woke from dreams into darkness.

Ethan was asleep beside her, and Em was a forest away. Outside it was night and dark and Alaska. The sky was upside down.

When Mia follows her sister halfway across the world to Alaska, she discovers that love can be found in the most unexpected and beautiful of
Paperback, 185 pages
Published June 27th 2011 by Penguin
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3.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  345 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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Apr 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

alaska is a gorgeous, gorgeous book. it's breathless and aching and it completely captures that swirl of coming-of-age emotions. the fear and hope and vulnerability we all feel. the fleeting moments of deep happiness pitched against the uncertainties of the world and your place in it.

it's a contemp but written in such a lyrical way that it occasionally has an other-worldy vibe: it's whimsical. sue saliba's prose is stunning ~ she catches sentiments in the most aching of ways. the story
Jul 05, 2011 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Some books shout from the page, strident and bold, demanding to be heard.

Other books whisper in your ear. Almost as if to say: ‘Come closer. I have something to tell you.’ So you lean in, sink into the words, and let yourself be submerged.

Alaska is one of the latter. It is a quiet, seemingly simple story, with great emotional depth beneath the plot. The prose is spare, yet somehow heavy – every sentence feels deliberate and significant, each word carefully chosen, rich with meaning. T
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Beautiful read... absolutely beautiful and different.
May 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Mia is so self indulgent and whiney and just generally the worst. I kept wanting bad things to happen to her (like with the car or the boy). At least that would have been interesting. I wouldn't have finished this book if it wasn't a book club one.
Jun 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
mia’s heart made a sound that no one heard
except for mia
late one night when she woke from dreams into darkness.

Sue Saliba’s Alaska follows Mia, who has left home and her sick, alcoholic mother to go to Alaska and be with her sister that she was once so close to.

Alaska is told in gorgeous, lyrical episodic verse, free from constraints of some punctuation. While this aspect takes a while to appreciate, once accustomed to it, it only adds to the raw beauty of the writing.

The relationships betwe
Jade Diamond
May 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
don’t know what Alaska was meant to achieve but I certainly didn’t get anything out of it. I guess it was meant to be lyrical and poetic – yet it was so aloof and abstract I cannot even tell you what this book was truly meant to be about.

Read Full Review Here
Penni Russon
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a lovely package, beautifully presented.

In terms of the story what resonated most was the powerful symbolic realm of the forest, and the sense of an Australian girl trying to translate her intimate experience of a foreign landscape and the connectedness of all living things, when she is not connected to her own family. I admired Saliba's restraint, and the novel has lingered with me in a way it might not have if the story was more tightly observed. However I must admit to some frustrati
Romi (likes books)
Dec 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance
Thank you to Penguin Books Australia for this review copy!

Alaska is such a beautiful novel, both design-wise and for the story it holds. I think it's more adult-esq in the YA range than any other books I had read, and still I do think it's higher YA now, so that makes me wonder how I would feel about it now, but I do know that I loved it, the poetical, beautiful writing, the story... it is a really special read. AND SUCH A NICE COVER.
Jess - The Tales Compendium
In A Nutshell: I'm sorry to say that I just couldn't connect with the story or it's characters.

For my full review, visit my blog:
Jul 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: prose-envy, aussie-ya
What a lovely, delicate little book.
I love the cover of this book which is what attracted me to it in the first place. The author is an award winning YA author and teaches creative writing. This convinced me to purchase it for the school library but I am not sure whether I would recommend it to a student. It is very slow-moving, written 'poetically' and suffers from an annoying lack of capitals.

The central character, Mia, has just arrived in Alaska from Melbourne to stay with her sister Em as her alcoholic mother undergoes rehab
rating: 2.5
this book was quite weird in the fact that the writing style was one i haven't really seen before. there was absolutely no capital letters at all, and it just kinda made the story seem so soft and dulled any blows swung in the story line. i feel like the book didn't really go anywhere even though important issues were raised, such as preserving our environment, but nothing really happened. it just kinda fell flat for me. the things i did enjoy however, was the overall setting, it make
old account (rl)
Jun 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
Have you ever read a book that, upon completion, you've had to sit back and think what the hell did I just read? ... because that's what happened to me here.

I don't know what Alaska was meant to achieve but I certainly didn't get anything out of it. I guess it was meant to be lyrical and poetic. Why else would you purposely leave out all the capital letters in your book? It was too aloof and abstract for me, though. I cannot even tell you what this book was really about.

... at least the cover
Sep 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fiction
Alaska was dreamy--like a fairy tale. There were no true answers, though, in the story.
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked it! I could relate to much of the writing angst and decisions about stepping away from the novel writing. Not sure I’d recommend it for non-writers though.
Cass -  Words on Paper

The first thing someone should notice when looking at this book is, "Wow! What a cover!" Really, just look at it in person. There is a subtle shininess in the bronze colouring. There is such attention to detail that it's one of those books that I could just stare at for minutes on end. And the barcode at the back is integrated in the cover image, which is really neat and blends in astonishingly well. Also, the cover features three animals - a deer, an owl and a wolf. They're all actually si
Nov 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Mia left her home in Australia, along with her alcoholic mother, to live with her older sister for a while in Alaska. But the close bond that Mia and Em used to have isn't quite what it used to be. Em has a child now, and a hard-headed, always-has-to-be-right husband. She found a way to escape from the dysfunction of their childhood home and now Mia, who finds herself attracted to Ethan, the man she meets in the forest, hopes to find her own escape in Alaska.

The writing of this book is so lyrica
Feb 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, young-adult
I'll admit that I was drawn to this book because of its cover. I'd never heard of it, nor the author. Glad that I read it though, since it was a good book. Not the best, perhaps, but worth the read. The prose is described as lyrical, but it is not particularly poetic or evocative, though it does have a kind of elegance to it. In a design choice, all capital letters are abolished, and I think it contributes to the quiet, dull, soft edged sense of the world that the protagonist, Mia has.

Mia is qu
Jan 22, 2013 rated it liked it
The essence of Alaska was amazing, and the depth of emotion expressed through the lyrical words would really come, and you would be pulled in and immersed in the book. It's a peaceful book about a Australian girl who comes to Alaska to be with her sister instead of going to Year 12.
It was the way the words were written: NO CAPS. I guess that detracted my attention from the book because I'm a person who picks up on grammar- also its flowing prose that, though beautiful, annoyed me. The lack of a
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this story. it was a quick fill between for me. i must admit, I chose this particular book from the teen fiction at thr local library. Reason being, thst I wanted a short, quick, fun and simple read amongst my other weighted novels. Took me 2 evenings to complete and had me captivated and entrapped on each turn of the page.

I was intrigued by the cover and the title. I related to this book probably more than any other reader, was quite eerie how much so. Felt like I was reading m
Madison Hamilton
Sep 21, 2011 rated it liked it
I've not often been a fan of those books that seem to come and go with barely any plot between them. I'm into the epics, drastic changes and exciting action-packed thrillers. This was completely the opposite.
But as much as I thought her writing somewhat corny, her experimental punctuation occasionally too much and the story uneventful - I felt like I could not help but become attached to the world she was creating.
It was like I was resisting as much as I could but I was being pulled me into her
Marj Osborne
Aug 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Mia journeys to Alaska to visit her sister, but also to run away from dealing with her mother's alcoholism. But in her escape to the other side of the world, she learns to face the many bonds she shares with her mother.

I really wanted to love this book, as much for the mystique of its sense of place as anything. "Bring me back a photo of the Northern Lights," I'd said to a friend who'd traveled there recently. And she did.

But THIS 'Alaska' did not shine for me. Somewhere along the way, reading t
Amy Han
Sep 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Alaska swept me up in its poetry and took me to another side of the world, where there are forests with deer and rainbow fish, and a night sky streaked with colour. I really enjoyed Saliba's style in her previous novel, Something in the World Called Love, with every word in lower case. She continues with this writing style in Alaska - somehow this makes it easier to lose myself in the fluidity of her sentences, which I find really lovely.

The story itself is a quiet, sensitive and thoughtful one.
Watermelon Daisy
May 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Alaska was an interesting story, but definitely wasn’t a favourite.

It’s a solid three stars. I can’t give it a single decimal place more, because I didn’t enjoy the story. The characterisation was quite well done, so I had to give it a better rating than two –the mark for an “okay” book.

From the moment I opened the book, I realised I wouldn’t like it. As somebody obsessed with grammar, I was put off by the lack of capitals. To me, it didn’t serve a specific purpose. Was it to make the story seem
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s a beautiful thing to read a book that provides a unique and mystifying atmosphere in the unforgettable manner that Sue Saliba’s Alaska contains. The format of the writing is some underexplored territory between prose and verse, which the narrator comfortably navigates to bring a real sense of thought and reflection to the page.

‘i caught them in the forest,’ he said.
she laughed. ‘fish that swim in the forest?’
‘yes, why not?’
‘why not?’ she echoed.

Alaska is an easy to read book, but this doe
Nov 07, 2012 rated it liked it
So this kind of reminded me of a hot chocolate on a Sunday afternoon - as odd as that may sound.
It was nice, peaceful and floaty.
The actual plot of the story though, was really minor. It was interesting to be caught up in the tangle of an interesting life story - I mean who just moves to Alaska to escape their drunk of a mother? - but I felt like nothing really happened but the book still continued.
The forest 'plot' if you can even call it that was rather pointless, and although people can re
Dec 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
Important Warning: this book contains no capital letters.

I almost closed the book again right there when I discovered this, but eventually decided to give it a go after all, mostly because of my attraction to the cover.

There was a poetry about it, yet I can't say I particularly enjoyed reading it. Usually dreamy, introspective characters appeal to me, yet I could not connect with Mia, and didn't much care for any of the other characters. I kept waiting for Ethan to turn out to be a villian. Mia
I really liked this book and the way it was written, but I didn't like the characters much, and I felt that the story was largely uneventful. Alaska is about Mia and her trip to Alaska, during which she comes to understand herself a little better. Mia irritated me as a character, probably because whenever she was experiencing something she didn't like or understand, her imagination took over and she thought about something else. At times this made it hard to tell what exactly was going on in the ...more
Julie Pearce
Jul 31, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Selected this book simply by the cover - unusual, understated, a bit Christmassy. I found inside the lack of upper case letters a bit odd at first but now appreciate how this added to the poetic nature of the tale. It unfolds in snatches of images and disjointed statements, and the Alaskan forest location was essential to the metaphor of Mia's life and world. Interesting, enjoyable and quite compelling at a fairly slow pace. I was surprised at how it crept up on me and how by the end I found mys ...more
Chent Higson
Sep 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2013
I'm writing this review before I finish Alaska because I don't want it to finish.
I'm not usually a fan of this sort if book. I usually prefer action and dialogue to thought, but no book has yet made me think about anything as much as this one. I don't even know what I'm thinking about. Home, I guess. Maybe my future. I don't know, but I'm still thinking.
I've not read a book before that I have wanted to continue reading forever, my life, day by day, as a parallel to Mia's.
Who knows. I may have
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I grew up in the western suburbs of Melbourne, first in an outer suburb with the skeletons of new houses and paddocks of thistles, unmade roads and secret caves by the Maribyrnong River. Later, when I was a teenager, we moved to Footscray which was not yet fashionable and seemed to me to be full of asphalt and traffic and hotels filled with old men. I spent a lot of time yearning to go back to my ...more
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“for a moment, she let herself be defeated, wished herself not exactly annihilation but into a temporary absense, into being nowhere and no one just for a little while.” 9 likes
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