Looking For Alaska – John Green
“In the dark beside me, she smelled of sweat and sunshine and vanilla, and on that thin-mooned night I could see little more than her silhouette, but even in the sark, I could see her eyes – fierce emeralds. And not just beautiful, but hot too.”
Alaska Young. Gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, screwed up – and utterly fascinating. Miles Halter could not be more in love with her. But when tragedy strikes, Miles discovers the value and the pain of living and loving unconditionally.
Nothing will ever be the same.
Looking For Alaska is the second John Green novel I’ve read. The first was Paper Towns, which I really enjoyed and rated four stars in my review (read it here).
Throughout Looking For Alaska, I noticed many similarities to Paper Towns. For example, both stories revolve around a boy pining over a girl who is much cooler than he is (or at least, that’s how he sees her), and neither of these characters can ever truly have those girls.
Second, the girls, in this case Alaska (and Margo in Paper Towns) are mysterious and complicated characters. This is one of the things I loved about both novels. In Looking For Alaska, while you never fully understand Alaska’s personality and what goes on in her mind, she feels completely real. In fact, all of the characters are brilliantly developed – Miles, the Colonel, Takumi. I felt like I knew them all personally. Having now read two of John Green’s novels, I get the feeling the character development is what makes so many readers love his work.
Both Paper Towns and Looking For Alaska have themes of suicide in them, another similarity.
Both the main characters, Miles in Looking For Alaska and Quentin in Paper Towns, have good relationships with their parents. As I mentioned in my Paper Towns review, I found the way the family relationship was portrayed refreshing, as I read far too many books in which the parents are awful to their children.
I think my favourite characters in Looking For Alaska were actually the head teacher, nicknamed ‘The Eagle,’ and also Mr Hyde, the religion teacher at the school. Both play small parts in the story, and yet I grew very fond of them both.
Overall, though, Looking For Alaska is heartbreaking. It’s a touching read that leaves you feeling sick to the stomach with grief, loss and false hope. It is also truly thought-provoking, and reminded me of the importance of friendship.
Looking For Alaska is more predictable than Paper Towns, but this time it isn’t so much about the events in the story as it is about the feelings, thoughts and emotional journey experienced by the characters, and in turn, the reader.
I look forward to reading more from John Green in the future, and would definitely recommend Looking For Alaska to others. I think I’ll give it four out of five stars. I think it only missed out on that last star because it felt so similar to Paper Towns… and also because I was able to put it down – it didn’t suck me right in like some other novels I have read.
I would love to know your thoughts about Looking For Alaska if you have read it. You can leave a comment below or contact me on Twitter.
If you enjoyed John Green’s Looking For Alaska, you might like the following books. Alternatively, if you enjoyed one or more of these books, then you’ll probably enjoy Looking For Alaska too.
Stolen – Lucy Christopher
Boys Don’t Cry – Malorie Blackman
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
I read Paper Towns before Looking for Alaska, and it remains my favourite. I agree with you about Mr Hyde, great character! I also really liked the countdown format of the book. I read the After section in one sitting, utterly devastating. Great review 🙂