C.G. Drews's Reviews > Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska by John Green
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really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, young-adult, 4-star, read-2013

After eyeballing me from my (Effiel Tower like) to-read stack for 2 weeks, I picked up LOOKING FOR ALASKA an afternoon I could read obsessively. Least to say, I used a bookmark once. (ONCE, people, just once, and I’m simultaneously disturbed and proud.)

I give this book 4-stars, when it should be 5-stars but deserves 3-stars. (That is the most brilliant sentence ever. You may admire it.) To get a 5-star from me, the book needs to have real and fantastic characters (check), fabulous plot (semi-check), humour and witty banter (check), and rip out my heart at some point (double-check). LOOKING FOR ALASKA did all of these, but when I reached the end, I felt sadly cheated. To explain, I must use a spoiler. It’s the nerdy teen version of BRIDGE TO TEREBTHIA. Complete with same plot and questions. I don’t like it when authors redo something that was done impeccably well the first time.

With the bells and whistles of a boarding-school-that-looked-like-a-summer-camp, the book was full of shenanigans, pranks, and highschool drama. I have no idea how people think up pranks like that. Is it talent or insanity? Either way, it’s very interesting to read. Speaking of reading, the writing is typically John Green – flowing, rich, and deep. That’s probably the biggest reason I like John Green’s books: he assumes his audience are highly intelligent teens and he proceeds to right to them accordingly. Can I just say, THANK YOU. There is no spelling out the story. There are no one-dimensional characters. Sure there are cheesy aspects and cliché mistakes in the book, but it’s delivered like it’s about real human beans and we (the readers) are also real human beans. (Yes, I did say “beans”, because Roald Dahl’s THE BFG uses the term “human beans” and I’ve used it since.)

The characters are intelligent! (Yessss.) And realistic (I believe I mentioned that). That’s the perfect combination for me. Humour flowed and I was done for. Miles (or “Pudge” as they call him, because he’s so skinny – I appreciate that kind of humour, by the way) was a fantastic narrator. As he described himself, his friends (the Colonel and Alaska) were comets and he was the tail. He wasn’t particularly shy, just awkward and social lacking. His dialogue was somewhat lacking, but I didn’t mind. I really, really enjoyed his character – relatable, intelligent, yet screwed up just like everyone else. He also memorizes last lines. That is slightly morbid and weird, but I’ll forgive him because it’s also interesting. (John Green writes in the acknowledgements at the back that he too had a fascination for Last Words when he was a kid.)

I don’t outline every swear word or sexual innuendo in my reviews (I find it awkward, annoying and unnecessary), but you do need to be aware that LOOKING FOR ALASKA is for older teens. The swearing and sexual innuendos are on the high side.

Of course, the book is dramatic, devastating and crushing-my-soul-like-a-grape (yes, I quoted TANGLED. You’re welcome). I should have SEEN the ending coming, but I took it like a codfish out of water and now I’m not sure if I should lie on my bed and stare at nothing or Google the famous Last Lines of people or contemplate how horrible it must be to THINK of all this stuff all at once and write a book about it. So I wrote a review. I apologize for how messy it is. Make no mistakes, this is a seriously good book and now I have a book hangover.

Just let me point out that the last WORD in this story is: beautiful.
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Quotes C.G. Liked

John Green
“I hated sports. I hated sports, and I hated people who played them, and I hated people who watched them, and I hated people who didn't hate people who watched or played them.”
John Green, Looking for Alaska

John Green
“When I look at my room, I see a girl who loves books.”
John Green, Looking for Alaska

John Green
“It always shocked me when I realized that I wasn’t the only person in the world who thought and felt such strange and awful things.”
John Green, Looking for Alaska

John Green
“What the hell is instant? Nothing is instant. Instant rice takes five minutes, instant pudding an hour. I doubt that an instant of blinding pain feels particularly instantaneous.”
John Green, Looking for Alaska

John Green
“What you must understand about me is that I’m a deeply unhappy person.”
John Green, Looking for Alaska


Reading Progress

June 26, 2013 – Started Reading
June 26, 2013 – Shelved
June 27, 2013 –
page 63
23.51% "I love anything by John Green. End of comment."
June 27, 2013 – Shelved as: contemporary
June 27, 2013 – Shelved as: young-adult
June 27, 2013 – Finished Reading
July 30, 2013 – Shelved as: 4-star
November 20, 2013 – Shelved as: read-2013

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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helen❣️ I totally agree! I LOVED it the first time reading, but then I realized some flaws the second time around. Oh well. But John green really is an amazing author, and deep thoughts FLOW. They get around and make us all of normal intelligence feel like one called idiots (I think that's an insult to singular called organisms? ANYWAY). The cheesiness and mistakes totally ARE part of this teenage guy's personality. John seems to have very similar MCs,though.


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