TUC: Book review // Looking For Alaska

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

This week Amy, Alice, Rhiannon are writing a book review on John Green's Looking For Alaska.

I avoid young adult novels for the sheer fact that all I have read apart from Harry Potter. the first (maybe second too) Hunger Games and anything by John Green has truly been awfully constructed and written. I just like to save myself the pain and stick to well written classics or thrillers where there's not really a lot you can do wrong (okay - there is a lot you can do wrong but I haven't come across a seriously terrible novel yet). I imagine all young adult fiction to be of the Stephanie Meyer collection and I just can't abide by that. My loathing of that entire series is quite deep rooted for many reasons other than that the storyline is a little rehashed and drab. The only reason I even thought of picking up anything by John Green is because I'm a huge Vlogbrothers fan and after reading Paper Towns and An Abundance Of Katherines I was informed along with the other subscribers that Looking For Alaska was going to be released. I was on it.

We begin 'One Hundred And Thirty-six Days Before' and end 'One Hundred And Thirty-six Days After'. It wasn't until I picked up the book to check that I realised that I'd never noticed this before and yet it's rather poetic. We jump in where the protagonist, Miles 'Pudge' Halter does and meets his friends The Colonel and Alaska at the same time he does. Pudge is likeable, a generally normal skinny guy who attends a boarding school that his father attended to seek a new life. He has a few quirks and the most elaborated on would be that he has a habit of remembering famous (or not so famous) last words. He goes to seek a great perhaps and he thinks he'll find that in Alaska.

The book is seriously well written. John Green has a fantastic way of bringing the reader in even when they want to pull back (as evidence in The Fault In Our Stars too) and his prose is never overdone. You don't feel like you're reading a book aimed at teenagers when you read this as you're instantly drawn in to the lives of these people and the conversations between the three main characters are beautiful - typically teenage with an air of pretentious wording; so like most teenagers nowadays.

I'm not going to spoil the book but there's some things I didn't understand. I felt like I as a reader didn't know Alaska well enough to fall in love with her and I didn't quite understand why Pudge fell so quickly. I figured out why about two pages after it had happened and I didn't understand why Pudge took quite so long and went round the houses to realise it too. This is nothing to do with the writing because, after all, Pudge is a teenager. Teenagers fall in love quickly and take some time to figure things out, especially when their emotions are high. The book made a big impact on me as an adult and I wish I could have read this as a fifteen year old teenager.

It's in a incredible book and it's definitely on a par to The Fault In Our Stars to win best young adult standalone novel in my head. John Green has this nasty habit when he can make me identify with him as an adult and make me want to be his best friend but send me reeling wanting to be a teenager again (oh, the horror) every time I delve between the pages of his award winning novels. As long as Green keeps making videos and writing books, I am an avid fan.


  1. Interesting to see people's differing opinions on this book. I'm completely torn over whether to read it or not! Man, I wanna join a book club. This post totally just reminded me how much I want to do that!

    1. You should definitely read it as even if you don't like it at least you can say you have. It's very similar to Paper Towns in terms of characters and writing so possibly start off with The Fault In Our Stars for a really excellent read.

  2. Great review! Completely agree with you about Alaska though, I don't like a character that has too many questions about them that aren't answered x

  3. I love your review! I definitely didn't figure It out, but I think that's because I wasn't paying enough attention. I also didn't notice the 136 days before/ after thing- whoops! But you're right, it is a good book :) xx