January 11, 2014

Book Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Rating: ★★ (2.5 Stars)
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" (François 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.
What I didn't like...
 Honestly, I didn't really enjoy this book. At first, I thought this was a book about going to Alaska or something. But it's actually a story that revolves around Miles/Pudge and his shallow perspective.  I felt that it was just too plain and too much. You'd see the plot in teen-sitcoms, like Ned's De-classified School Survival Guide or something from MTV. You'd have the occasional douchebags, the super-strict teacher that will kick you out from the school if you do something wrong (and acts all dumb about it too), yet all the students continue to do everything against the rules, and you have the theme of fitting-in.

Whole book in 5 sentences: *spoiler, of course*
Miles, a boy who supposedly remembers famous people's last words (as usual, a hidden genius in every John Green protagonist) and is in search of this "great perhaps",  enters a boarding school and gets welcomed by a group of rebellious and supposedly cool friends, thus garnering him his nickname, Pudge. Their circle of friends and this rich, snotty, douche-baggy, jerky group from their school unbelievably have this immature prank fest, because one of the snotty group's friends got kicked out, and they try to outdo each other with these pranks that the Eagle never gets a hold of. 

Alaska, the girl from the group tries to set Pudge off with another girl, but then it doesn't go so well. He falls head over heels for Alaska Young, a wild, rebellious, thrill-seeking, 'hot' girl, yet Alaska has a boyfriend, but they still make out. One night, Alaska just leaves without a reason and then they just announce it that she's dead. That of course, leaves Pudge hanging, and then he still loves her and tries to make up for it leaving a line like, "I'll always love you, present tense." 

And another, I don't get the point of this book showing its readers that teenagers like to do drugs, smoke joints, have sex, make out with 8 other people in a week, drink, do illegal things, etc. That's shallow, to be categorizing every teenager out there has those things on their to-do lists.

What I liked...
I still believe that to every unpleasant side there is a better side. I think that Miles found his own great perhaps in the whole experience. The great perhaps is not a place, though. I believe it's a point in life or maybe even a state or condition. Maybe he found bliss in Alaska, or in analyzing Alaska herself. I also think that he didn't foresee this great perhaps, that even though many see Alaska bizarrely, he found himself to love her for who she really is. Maybe that's that.

The writing is great, I'll tell you that. I love John Green's choice of words, as always. But the plot just seemed uninteresting for me. Or maybe, this book isn't just for me. I'm not saying that it's not worth a read, this is just how I perceive the book. I might still re-read it and absorb a couple of new perspectives myself.

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