Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Genre/Themes: Young Adult Contemporary, Coming of Age, Falling in Love
Blurb from Goodreads
“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 dark, 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 pain of living and loving unconditionally.
Nothing will ever be the same.
A vivid, passionate and intensely moving novel from internationally bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars, John Green.
This is my second time reading Looking for Alaska and I love it just as much the second time around.
One thing I learned from science class is that energy is never created and never destroyed… 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.
I love the enigma that is Alaska. I love all that she represents. I love that as a reader we never truly discover who she is. She’s fierce, brilliant and definitely a teenage boy’s idealised version of femalehood but the idolatry of her character makes this book. She represents that unknowable quality, the Great Perhaps, that both Miles (the MC) is seeking and that I seek in my own life.
There’s so much in this book for a reader to contemplate…
Through Miles’ studies and his experiences at Culver Creek prep school, Green poses questions on the meaning of life, on what are life’s most important questions, on what if anything is to come in the hereafter…
But what is really key to this book is that somehow these ponderous ideas are broken down into their component parts and create the foundations on which Green wove an incredibly engaging story of friendship and first love.
I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the characters again, from The Colonel to Takumi to Lara and obviously Alaska and Miles (Pudge). They each had their niche in the overall story and reading about them this second time around felt like coming home.
Some books just mean more to us than others. And Looking for Alaska is one such book for me. When I first read it in the summer of 2011 it helped me through a difficult patch, a time when I was very much seeking… I guess you could call it my own Great Perhaps. So revisiting the book in 2019 has made me truly appreciate some of the positive changes that have occurred in my life in those intervening eight years. However, reading it also brought into focus the people I loved who are no longer here with us or those who have just passed through my life on their way to somewhere else.
I realise this isn’t really much of a review. But more a collection of my thoughts and feelings. Rereading this book has been a bittersweet experience and one that really proves to me that John Green somehow seems to write the words that are etched in my soul. He will forever be one of my favourite authors.
Other Works by John Green I’ve Reviewed
- The Anthropocene Reviewed
- The Fault in Our Stars
- Turtles All the Way Down
- Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with David Levithan)