Emma's Reviews > Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska by John Green
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review

did not like it
bookshelves: young-adult

I was recommended this by a good friend and I was really looking forward to it. I love the vlogbrothers videos and the first chapter really made me want to read it and find out more but it didn't live up to the expectation that the first few chapters set up.

My main problem with the book was the characters. It wasn't even that they were underdeveloped. Alaska and Miles just pissed me off. I let some of it slide by because I understand certain parts were intentional but Miles was just so whiny. I couldn't handle it.

By the time I got to the "After" section of the book I was going through the motions; counting pages, skipping whole paragraphs that seemed unimportant and screaming internally at my book. The took so long to figure out the great mystery of the incident that is didn't seem plausible for a group of teenagers who are supposed to be smart.

I have since read another John Green book and I truly loved it. His writing is excellent and it is so refreshing to see a YA novel with a male voice. I also rather liked that they actually did homework and went to classes. So, please, go and but another of his books and truly enjoy the author that is John Green.
102 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Looking for Alaska.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

August 8, 2012 – Started Reading
August 8, 2012 – Finished Reading
September 12, 2012 – Shelved
April 7, 2014 – Shelved as: young-adult

Comments Showing 1-21 of 21 (21 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Tehanu I agree so much with you!
Little story time: I run upon this review through your Casual Vacancy review. Since that book has some many mixed reviews I selected a couple of good ones and a couple of bad ones and decided to compare books with the reviers. I was relieved to see that I have most afinity with the ones who gave the book a positive rating and I was very surprised to see that you thought the exact same thing I did about another book, that being this one Looking for Alaska. I hated it!
I'm curious, though, about this other book of Green that you recommend. I've heard that all his books followed the same patternd and that made desist of further reading him, but now I'm intrigued.

message 2: by Emma (new) - rated it 1 star

Emma Hey!
The other one was Will Grayson, Will Grayson. It is only half his book really as he co-wrote it with David Levithan. I adored it, both John Green's chapters and David Levithan's. My friend gave me Paper Towns as well, which so far is rather funny. Withholding comment until I finish. I think for me it is the characters,they are not as whiny in his other books.

message 3: by Liz (new) - rated it 1 star

Liz Thank God I found somebody who feels the same way about this book!!!
I thought I am the only one who disliked the book!
Great review! :)

Marianinna all the characters in this book pissed me off too!

message 5: by Katie (new)

Katie Nicol I wrote this book off ages ago but I'm waiting for a book in the mail so thought I'd give it another go. Remembered why I hated it so much. Alaska was just a terrible character and so cliche.

Byron I totally agree with you. I LOVED Fault in our Stars and pretty much loved Will Grayson X 2, but this book just didnt do it for me. Teenage pranks? Boring....

message 7: by Emily (new)

Emily I agree completely. I listened to it on tape and completely gave up on it at Disc 5, when Miles started whining for like the 40th time that how dare Alaska be dead when they weren't done making out yet. I believe there was a CD flung furiously into the backseat. "Insufferable" would be my feelings on the characters (save Chip, who could have his own story). Will Grayson, Will Grayson on the other hand - flawless.

Robin Le duc I totally agree!

Natasha I completely agree with you! . I wasn't drawn to the book at first until the after section and as you've said it took a while before figuring out the mystery of the incident. The book did in fact make me cry though haha

message 10: by Emma (new) - rated it 1 star

Emma Thank you all. I was so scared wen I first out this up that I was going to be attacked. It is just so beloved. Thankfully I have found people agree with me, which is great!

message 11: by Emma (new) - rated it 1 star

Emma I also would like to add that I have since read the Catcher in the Rye and if you find the characters insufferable in this skip that book too and vice versa. John green took influence from TCITR for this and it shows.

message 12: by Benjamin (new) - added it

Benjamin Lang The first few chapters you said were what made you want to read more, but for me on the other hand were what almost mainly read the book. I knew how critically acclaimed it was so I went on. But what annoyed me about the beginning was how normal it was. It was the typical kid who felt like an outcast who was changing something to make his life better. The only thing that kept me reading was his description, I could tell I would like his style just from the great way he described the party. I agree that Miles was annoying as shown through his inability to confess his feeling for Alaska, but feel generally mopey and down throughout great times of happiness, such as you mentioned after the group(Takumi, Alaska, the Colonel and Miles) gave the Weekday Warriors, their enemies, terrible report cards ruining their holidays. Although, I thought Alaska was a great character because Green made her perfect. She was beautiful, charismatic and smart. And not only did he make her smart, but he repeatedly said that she was perfect through miles. Even when Alaska was mad or depressed Green made the reader love her because it tied her down to Earth making her seem attainable. I agree that the "after" section was average at best. By that time, the plot had finished because Alaska was gone and Green made it seem so important that Miles find out why, but to me, the read, I thought he did a 20 page conclusion into a 120 page boring ending. Of course, I enjoyed how he made the ending happy because I was so used to his books ending in sadness (the fault in our stars). They pulled Alaska's great prank of getting a stripper to be the class's guest speaker and all the relationships between the Colonel/miles and Lara/Takumi were healed even though the colonel and miles had completely forgotten about those two while they went crazy trying to find out why Alaska died. And yes, I also like his writing style of young adult because he uses great new vocabulary , but his sentence structure is still interesting and I don't have to site anything specific because that is the whole book. And I agree with you about liking how the core group was good students. I think you(and I) liked that because it showed that even though they were chill and drank a bit too much and smoked too outside of the school, they could still be great in school.

message 13: by Emma (new)

Emma Cooper I couldn't agree more. The bit you said about the "After" part is exactly what I thought. The fact that it took so long enraged me. Even though Miles/Pudge wanted to desperately find out what happened to his "love" (Alaska) he wouldn't stop being a jealous baby for one small second to call Alaska's boyfriend Jake, which, when calling him, gave them the majority of the clues to come up with a plausible explanation for Alaska's "accident". I was also surprised when I read this John Green novel, because I had read The Fault In Our Stars (goodreads won't let me italicize or underline) and that book blew me away. I read this book after TFIOS so I was not only surprised, but also disappointed.

message 14: by Daeya (new)

Daeya Yes Miles was whiny but he is also a teenage boy with a crush on a girl and a very small set of brand new friends. Most people in that situation are whiny, fictional or real. I felt that Miles was fully developed character, especially since Green gave us that back story in the beginning about Miles and his "school-friends."
I actually totally agree with you on the After part. These kids are at this boarding school and go to classes, which is cool and normal, and are supposed to be very very smart. Alaska dying in a car crash the same night that she asked her friends to cause commotion is pretty clearly suicide to me. Then there is the question about how she possibly knew that that other car would be there I don't know. I do know that these kids are supposed to be smart enough to be able to figure her death out.

message 15: by Veda (new) - rated it 5 stars

Veda I don't really agree with what you are saying in this review. I will tell you why; I am currently part way through this book. I havnt skipped one word in this book. I get what you are saying when you said "My Main problem with the book was the characters" because they can get confusing and some of them are unknown to me. I agree with the part about Miles but I would like to know if why you exactly you gave this book one star? Its not the greatest book in the world but I think you liked it way more than the way you put it.

message 16: by Emma (new) - rated it 1 star

Emma Well, I mean it is personal? That shows by the legions of positive reviews it already has, not everyone agrees. I just found myself not liking it which really takes a lot. I try not to give books one star. Personally, the characters were annoying, the plot was drawn out which is bad for such a short book to begin with. I think John tells rather than shows in this book. I could go into minute detail but it would take to long. I just prefer his other work. I am glad you are enjoying it though, I would never want to make someone hate a book just because I did. I really hope you love the rest of it as well.

On another note, as the comments above seem to suggest as well, I didn't hate everything about this book. Or I would never have finished it. There are positives to it but again, John uses those in other books and he does them better in those books.

message 17: by Veda (new) - rated it 5 stars

Veda I agree with you on alot of the last comment. He doesnt describe things as well as he does in his other books, though I seemed to imagine things very well because I have seen the places that John is talking about in the book.
I understand that this book didnt really appeal to your interest and Im not trying to make your review look bad, Im just creating discussion.
But I do have some quetions for you.
How did you think the characters were annoying?
What would you change about the book?
What was your favorite part?
What was your least favorite part?

Amna I've read this book twice, and both times I didn't like it. Even though I tried really hard to enjoy it but it was just way too mainstream and boring. And the characters for some reason just really irritated me. And I especially didn't get along with the AFTER part of the book, it just didn't seem real to me.

I loved TFIOS and paper towns but not this book!

Celeste Skywalker I think the incident was pretty mysterious actually. Girl in car accident. Suicide was only one in a number of possibilities. The "After" part that was full of long paragraphs you didn't read- well you missed alot.

Bridgette Spangler I agree! I thought I was the only one who disliked Miles because he seemed very whiny and had an attitude of entitlement towards Alaska.

Sarah Ciesielski I like that you mentioned how long it took the characters to find out what Alaska was upset about/driving to. It drove me nuts, like really, it took them approximately 4 months to figure out something that seemed pretty obvious to me lol!

back to top