Looking For Alaska by John Green | Rating: ★★★★☆
“When adults say, “Teenagers think they are invincible” with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”
Looking For Alaska was John Green’s debut novel as a published author. This was, years back, my first introduction to John’s writing and it is still the perfect place to start when you want to read anything by him. It’s made of all the things his writing is known for — coming of age thoughts and occurrences, quotes and references that will stick with you, dark comedy and characters that will come alive right before your eyes.
One of the best things about John’s writing is that it feels real — his world becomes something that can play right before your eyes. And it really helps to connect to its target audience. It will surely get teenagers reading and thinking, hey, this guy just gets it.
And gets it, he does.
Although this isn’t Mr. Green’s best effort in the novels he’s had
published, it is still a very good story. One thing you have to do,
though, is give it a standing chance to improve. There are moments
within this novel where our story may seem slow or boring to the
readers, but it does pick up and capture your attention.
(Although, seeing as the target audience of this book would be
teenagers there are many events and phrases in this novel that would
make adults cringe; roll their eyes.)
Firstly, we meet our narrator Miles as he is off to boarding school. A
boy who seems to be out of his mind with boredom when it comes to his
life and who also enjoys looking into famous last words. Which is intriguing — to know what the last thing any living creature says or does. Because, why not, right?
As for the school, it is very much so like the pictures we’ve all in
our mind when we think of boarding schools. Drinking, smoking, sex. But
it’s not even that these events are drawn out in a way that makes them
unrealistic. When we meet Alaska and get to know her mind as a
character, no matter how little or grand it may be, we see a strong yet
oddly shaky female lead who seems to be as fearless and unpredictable as
they come. This is naturally appealing to a teenage boy.
There’s just something about the mystery of her.
Our common themes of this novel are simple and so very John Green:
first love and our first big loss. Love and death. Death and love. Life
lessons and learning that the reality of things isn’t always how we hope
I did feel like there were some unanswered questions in the novel
overall, but I think I prefer it that way. And although there is a great
sadness during some events of our story, I really genuinely enjoyed
there not being a happily ever after ending to all endings in this. All
of it just made the story all the more enjoyable and realistic to me.
Anyways, I do recommend reading this book if you haven’t. You just
have to remember to give it a chance to pick up. It won’t be for
everybody but it just may surprise you.