“If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.”
Miles Halter’s whole life has been one big non-event, until he meets Alaska Young.
Gorgeous, clever and undoubtedly screwed up, Alaska draws Miles into her reckless world and irrevocably steals his heart. For Miles, nothing can ever be the same again.
First published: 2005
If you’ve been following my blog for a while now you might have read my review of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. You might also have noticed that I was completely and utterly in awe of it, and that I have listed the novel among my favourite books on my About Me page.
It’s pretty safe to say I had high expectations of Looking For Alaska.
Looking For Alaska is John’s debut novel, published in 2005. Like I said, I had high expectations, but I didn’t expect it to be better (or even as amazing) as TFiOS. I was right about that, but nevertheless this novel still blew my mind. However, where TFiOS had me completely hooked from the start, Looking For Alaska didn’t make me feel that same magical feeling I had when first starting to read TFiOS.
The novel is about Miles Halter, who leaves his family behind in Florida to attend boarding school in Alabama. He is bored with his life in Florida, a life without any real friends. The one thing he is passionate about is famous people’s last words — and he has a lot of them memorised. Once he starts school at Culver Creek his life quickly changes, though, when he meets his new room mate Chip “The Colonel” Martin, and, most importantly, Alaska Young…
Looking For Alaska has two parts, a part named “Before”, and one named “After”. While reading “Before” you have no idea what this is referring to, and it keeps you wondering because the first chapter is named “One Hundred and Thirty-Six Days Before” and you just keep getting closer and closer. Very clever way to keep people on the edge of their seat while reading!
I loved the entire novel, but the mind blowing part started “After”. What I like about John Green’s novels is how he makes his characters so philosophical — they think about all kinds of stuff. Yes, they’re teenagers and they think about teenager-y stuff, but there’s more to them than that:
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.
You’re able to grasp the concept (everyone knows what instant rice is) and it’s witty, but at the same time very profound as well. I love that. John’s way of writing and the manner in which he casually throws in philosophical questions baffle me.
While reading I thought “it’s good, but not as amazing as TFiOS”, but then, about 150 pages in, he does it again; he manages to amaze me in ways novels rarely do. John Green is a master storyteller, and certainly one of my biggest inspirations at the moment.