Thalia's Reviews > Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska by John Green
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Apr 16, 2011

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Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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message 1: by Thalia (new) - added it

Thalia It was like, 28th on my TBR shelf forever--one of the first books I added when I joined GR. But I just found out some from friends that there's a graphic sex scene in it, and I just don't want to deal with that. Disappointing, considering how close I came to buying it a few times, but I wasn't very hyped up about it. So I just decided it wasn't worth it.

message 2: by Thalia (last edited Aug 09, 2012 01:20PM) (new) - added it

Thalia I don't think books make people have sex. I just see books and movies on the same level--I wouldn't watch a a movie with a graphic sex scene in it, so why would I read a book with one?

message 3: by Katy (new)

Katy Tennessee County ... am I to assume this is the same part of the country that has banned all mentions of being gay from public curriculum? WTF is wrong with the people in Tennessee - it's like they think they can just stick their heads under the sand, cover their ears and go "la la la la la" and no one will ever do anything of which they disapprove again ... *deep sigh*

Anyway, I understand your thoughts, Thalia - I'm not a huge fan of sex for the sake of sex in books, either, although I won't not read a book I'm interested in just because of that - but you're not the only person I've run across who feels that way, so stick to your guns - you're not alone!

message 4: by Thalia (new) - added it

Thalia Ahah, revolutionary, that's for sure! And even then, I'm pretty sure Meyer only made Edward that way so she wouldn't offend Mormons everyone--it'd be incredibly hypocritical to say she believes our religion but writes about the exact opposite we believe.

Sex is the deal breaker for me in books. It makes me uncomfortable to read because I've been raised another way, and I have a different belief. I hold the old fashioned belief that sex should be reserved for marriage and only for that person you love enough to spend your whole life with; not just to be thrown around. I also wouldn't read a book with a bunch of f-words in it, because I don't curse. People who think like me are few and far-between, hahah. But a lot of people who follow my blog are parents who like the fact that I give heads-ups when I don't like the content in a book, and so I made this shelf for the books that I know I won't read, but so those same people who follow me for that know about them.

message 5: by Thalia (new) - added it

Thalia Really? Direct me to them! I hardly ever meet anyone who still thinks that. XD You're also one of the first to think I'm not behind-the-times or whatever for it. Thanks. (:

Crystal Starr Light Thalia wrote: "Really? Direct me to them! I hardly ever meet anyone who still thinks that. XD You're also one of the first to think I'm not behind-the-times or whatever for it. Thanks. (:"

I don't think you are behind the times; I think it's awesome when someone sticks to their morals, whatever those morals may be (as long as, duh, those morals aren't like "Kill X type of people" or something). Too many people like to say things like, "I'm not a racist" and then end up being what they say they aren't. THOSE are the types of people I can't stand.

I try to include, in my YA books particularly, a section about Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence for the very reason you bring up. Some people have given me flack for it, but I know that there are those who really appreciate it (such as parents, who want to know what kind of content to expect in a book for their kids). Plus, I put that section off to the side, so that people who don't care about those things don't have to read it.

message 7: by Thalia (new) - added it

Thalia I've gotten flack for it sometimes, too, because usually if there's sex in a book, it'll go under my "What I Didn't Like" section. People can't expect me to drop all my moral views for when I'm reading; reviews are my thoughts on the book and 9.99 times out of ten, something sexual will make me not like a book, so that's where it goes.

Like Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone. Too much sex. @_@ I probably would have liked the book if it wasn't for all the sex. I felt so dirty and sqeamish when I was done reading it. :(

message 8: by Katy (new)

Katy Thalia wrote: "Sex is the deal breaker for me in books. It makes me uncomfortable to read because I've been raised another way, and I have a different belief. I hold the old fashioned belief that sex should be reserved for marriage and only for that person you love enough to spend your whole life with; not just to be thrown around. I also wouldn't read a book with a bunch of f-words in it, because I don't curse. People who think like me are few and far-between, hahah."

I totally respect you for having strong ideals and sticking to them - it's unfortunate that so many people are so easily swayed into following the crowd, or who follow moral standards only out of fear of being caught; it's rare that you find someone who truly believes this is the best way for them to behave and stands firm. My personal standards are different, but that doesn't mean I think they're better - they're just different. Diversity makes the world go 'round and all that. Your thoughts are actually quite similar to those of my niece - she's not here on GR, but if you have a Shelfari account, you might look her up; I think the two of you would get along well. Umm ... she goes by Rebel Rider.

Anyway, it always surprises me to run across books that are obviously written aimed at high school students that feature sex; or books obviously aimed at Middle Grade students with lots of cursing. I know it happens - I know the "f" word was being tossed around a lot even when I was as young as 10 and that was in 1980 (oh dear Goddess I'm old... LOL), but I'm not sure that it's the best thing to do to have it out there so much. My personal feelings are that words are words and any stigma attached to them is only societal, but all the same, society *does* have a negative feeling toward obscenity and profanity (slightly less so toward blasphemy, strangely, but I don't invent social standards, I just try to observe them...), and therefore it makes sense to me to try to teach younger readers more inventive ways of saying things. My dad used to try to come up with stuff like that all the time when I was a kid - things like "termination of the lower intestine" or "sphincter" or the like, you know?

Anyway, don't let anyone else's opinions and ideas force you to change your own - any changes to your own ideals have to come from yourself, your own thoughts and feelings on things, and your own judgment. I always like to try to prove any idea I'm developing wrong - because it is easy to prove yourself right if you've developed an opinion, but to try to prove yourself *wrong*, that's a completely different beast...

Heh, sorry, I'm rambling. Just basically wanted to say I totally respect you and keep your head up.

message 9: by Thalia (new) - added it

Thalia Oh my goodness, I feel awful because I never saw this comment & you must think I was just ignoring you. ;-;

I agree that curse words are generally determined by society--it's all in the vulgarity of it. It's never hurt me not to curse, which is a huge reason why I don't do it. I don't have to think about what crowd I'm in, if it'll be appropriate, if I'll offend someone, etc, because it doesn't came naturally toward me. Even though I've been made fun of for it and picked on and bullied online because of it, it's just better for me. I think I'm "desensitized" to seeing curse words written--considering I'm on the internet/tumblr all the time, hahah. I still just choose not to pick up books that focus on things like that--one or two, I don't mind, but I feel like there are lots of books that use lots of cursing just because they can, you know?

Thank you for your comment, Katy. (: I really do appreciate it, and I'm sorry it took me so long to see it! I think that even if I was okay with premarital sex, I still wouldn't want to read about it--sex just seems so...personal, private--intimate. It doesn't sit right with me that it's used for entertainment purposes, and generally in books nowadays, it's there just to "thrill" the reader. Everyone like the "hot and steamy" scenes, but I don't. That's why I don't mind if the scene just fades to black (example: Clockwork Princess--> literally a one line implication of what was going to happen, and then a new scene began). It's the whole idea of putting it on display and using it to get a rise out of your audience.

My mom always said I should be an audiobook narrator because I have a strong reading voice--but I told her nobody would want me because I would change the curse words. XD When my sophomore English class read Fahrenheit 451, my teacher called on me to read, but of course I didn't read the curse words. I just tweaked them. She even called in me after class just to tell me that I had a great reading voice, but she never called on me again, hahaha.

message 10: by Katy (new)

Katy LOL - I know how GR can be about sometimes skipping notifications; don't worry about it!

Personally, I swear like a sailor in everyday life, but don't often my reviews. I think I was unconsciously conditioned against it by mostly starting off reviewing on Amazon, where it is forbidden, and of course not in public or around other people. But when it's just me and my husband? F-bombs are flying...

I totally agree about sex in books; it didn't really used to bother me, but now I just skip it. I've significantly lowered ratings on books that had too much or sex that felt gratuitous. It just makes me feel squicky. I'm a huge fan of the fade-to-black scenes.

Best to you!

message 11: by Thalia (new) - added it

Thalia Yep, fade to black is the way to go. :D There are some books that go on and oooooooonnnnnnn, though. That's why the huge New Adult genre bugs the heck out of me--it's just an excuse to have what is essentially young adult erotica. Plots, character development? Shewwwwwwwwww, out the window.

message 12: by Katy (new)

Katy So agree; try to avoid them most of the time as a result!

Josephine  (reading in twilight) I hate to jump in on an old conversation (I totally agree with you guys on the Fade-to-Black for sex scenes. Especially in movies. Did you ever see MI:1? The leads start kissing and then making out and it fades to black. I find that some sex scenes border on soft-porn. If it's not titillating, like, just a glimpse so we get the picure, I'm fine with it, otherwise... In fact, in my own writing I have sought to emulate the best sex scene ever written (from Forster's Maurice) "[He] moved towards him and knelt beside him and whispered, 'Sir, was you calling out for me? ... Sir, I know. ... I know,' and touched him." Fade to Black, next chapter. Loved it! :D )

But the reason I came here is because, Thalia, I wanted to tell you what the 'graphic' sex scene was. MC starts dating a girl, even though he loves Alaska, and at one point they are alone and she would like to give him a blow job. However, neither of them know what to do, so it is literally the most awkward moment in the novel. They sit there, still, for a few minutes, and both decide to forego any sex and end up kissing then falling asleep on the couch.

In that one school, the book was banned for being 'a sex instruction manual' which I think is hilarious, seeing as I have never read more failed sex anywhere in my entire life.

To be fair, there is a sex scene in this book, but it is far from graphic or gratuitous, it might even be incomplete, it's so vaguely described. One character leaves suddenly while they are making out under a blanket.

I understand why you're avoiding it for content, but I assure you, if you do read it and feel awkward reading the blow job scene in this book, then you are not alone at all.

Looking for Alaska is not John Green's best novel, but for a debut YA Lit, it blows a lot of fish out of the water. It tackles a really difficult topic, young grief, senseless death, loneliness and companionship, and it isn't being cavalier or know-it-all. My favorite parts of the book were those scenes handling interactions between the Religion teacher and the MC. Anyway, I hope you'll give it a try some day, despite content. And if your morals don't let you, I'm sure you'll be just as good for it.

(FWIW, if more people start speaking in favor of 'fade-to-black' sex-scenes outside of erotica or those scenes (as in Atonement) which are actually integral to the plot, I hope authors will begin to listen.

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