12 March 2013

Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Published: 28 December 2006

Pages: 231 (paperback)

Genre/s: YA, Contemporary

Source: Own library

Synopsis

Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (Fran├žois Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.


My Thoughts

Looking For Alaska is a book that I've heard a lot about, that a lot of readers have loved, that has an intriguing synopsis and after reading The Fault in Our Stars last year, and starting (and ultimately setting aside) An Abundance of Katherines a few months ago, I was eager and yet a little scared about jumping back into the world of John Green.

The characters in Looking For Alaska are so wonderfully quirky, I was completely hooked from the beginning.  I was fascinated by Pudge's obsession with final words, his odd roommate The Colonel and the intruging Alaska right from the beginning, and that feeling continued throughout the whole book.  I love that the characters have their own very unique habits and personalities - from Alaska building a 'Life Library' to the Colonel's habit of drinking vodka with milk (ugh!), and finally through Pudge's coming-of-age.

However, I didn't find Looking for Alaska to be all that emotionally moving, and I can't quite work out why.  In places this is an incredibly sad book, in others it's funny and outrageous and all the characters are so intriactely created they are completely believable.  But there was something there that stopped me from feeling that complete connection that I wanted to have with them, and despite the fact I was so hooked on the characters, it just didn't completely work for me.

There are a few parts of the plot that left me a little confused, such as Alaska's relationship with Jake, and why he didn't feature more prominently - I can see where the author was going in trying to keep it a little mysterious and out of focus, but it could very well have been the link that I was missing to bring Looking For Alaska up to the level of heart-stomper for me.

Although I didn't fully connect with the book, I still enjoyed reading John Green again, and I will definitely be reading his work again in the future, particularly for the characters and the way he can make almost any personality quirk work and also ring true.

12 comments:

  1. Much as I love John Green's writing, Looking for Alaska, while by some considered his best book, I've never been a huge fan of this one. Alaska annoys me so incredibly much. I think part of the problem is that she is kept so much a mystery that it's hard to be hooked. I don't know.

    But I did love everything else about it, which is why it would probably still be a 3.5 for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She didn't annoy me, but now that you say it, I think that's part of the reason the book didn't connect with me, because she was so much of a mystery.

      It's hard to NOT like John Green!

      Delete
  2. So the only John Green book I've read to-date has been Will Grayson, Will Grayon (co-written with David Levithan) and I absolutely ADORED it. I'm looking to read more of Green's books but am still a bit intimidated by The Fault in Our Stars. I'm thinking either Paper Towns or Looking For Alaska will be the best bet though it sounds like the latter has the potential to fall a bit flat. It always kinda sucks when you don't really connect with a character in the way you hoped you would.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paper Towns will be my next John Green. TFIOS is intimidating but completely worthwhile.

      I must read Will Grayson, Will Grayson soon!

      Delete
  3. I'm reading The Fault in Our Stars (well audiobook) right now and it's my first John Green book. Only maybe 25% in but I really like it! I have this one on my wishlist and also heard so many great things--which is the reason I'm hesitant. I love quirky characters though and I can already tell Green knows how to write characters! Sounds like you just didn't connect emotionally with it I wonder if I would. I seem to like a lot of the same things you do so we'll see.

    Also, vodka with milk--barf!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah you've taken the plunge ;) I really hope you liked TFIOS. I wanted to love this one, but it just didn't work as I'd hoped, but the characters are still very quirky and unique.

      Yeah, I don't think I'll be trying Vodka and Milk anytime soon....

      Delete
  4. Hm great that you loved the characters, but too bad that the spark just wasn't there for you with this one. I haven't read anything by John Green (I know, do I live in a cave?) but I did recently buy The Fault In Our Stars, which I am happy to see seems like the right place to start with him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TFIOS gets my vote as the best place to start :)

      Delete
  5. I read The Fault in Our Stars (my first Green) a short time agao and was blown away. I've been planning to read more of his work but it sunds like this may not be the next one that I should pick up! I really dislike characters that are too mysterious to connect to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's a lot that isn't explained, and that's really stopped me connecting with Alaska...such a shame because John Green does write fabulous characters.

      Delete
  6. Uh oh, you couldn't completely connect with the book. I loved it, perhaps listening on audio gave it a different feel.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I loved it. I first listened to the audio, then read the book. It's my favorite that he's written so far. I'm sorry that you couldn't connect with the book but I'm glad that you're still going to take a chance on John Green's writings.

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...