Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 28th 2013 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 1st 2005)
ISBN 0007523165 (ISBN13: 9780007523160)

"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."

It took me a while to get into this novel as it was not what I was expecting, the style of the novel being very different to John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. In fact, it actually reminded me of The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (which I will review at some point!) in terms of the personality of the main character and the writing style.

This novel is about a group of misfits at boarding school in America. In forming close friendships they get drunk together and try to come up with the best prank their school has ever seen. I felt that at times Pudge was pressured by his friends into keeping up with them, however, it did not feel too negative but rather that they were broadening his horizons.

Pudge becomes friends with the Commander and Alaska - the most beautiful, smart and crazy girl he's ever met - until she unexpectedly leaves the school (can't tell you how or why) and her friends are left to deal with her absence and the guilt they feel over the events leading up to this.

I can't say any more without revealing big events in the plot so I have to leave it at that. However, I will say that this book is moving and insightful. It was a really interesting read - particularly reading the last words of famous people (Pudge's strange hobby) - which I enjoyed a lot.

8 out of 10.

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