Saturday, June 26, 2010

Book Review - Looking for Alaska

I'll be honest, a year ago I had no idea who John Green was. Then I stumbled onto his "Brotherhood 2.0" videos on youtube thanks to my online book club. I'm not ashamed to admit that I spent my entire weekend watching John and his brother Hank communicate via vlog. I think I watched almost every single one.

I didn't think it was fair to proclaim myself a fangirl without reading one of his books first, so I asked the hugest John Green fan I know for the best book to start with. Jessica at Forever Young: A YA Lit Blog suggested I start with Looking for Alaska.

Goodreads Summary: Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave "the Great Perhaps" even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy 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. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.

My Thoughts: I loved this book. Sometimes when I am reading YA, I find the characters doing things that are a little unbelievable. In Looking for Alaska, I never had that feeling. Each character was dynamic with the perfect amount of wit and sarcasm. As a writer, I struggle with voice, so I appreciate how candid Pudge's voice was throughout the novel. His feelings for Alaska were so complex and confusing, yet they never seemed contrived.

The book is broken up into two parts. In an attempt to avoid spoilers, I will just say there is a "before" and an "after". My copy of the book came with some bonus material in the back where John Green explains that he got the idea of splitting the book up like this because of 9/11. He saw someone on the news say that life would forever be measured as "before 9/11" and after. The characters in the book go through a major life changing event, and while it isn't the same magnitude as 9/11, it is huge in their lives. I thought this was a great way of looking at it.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking to get a taste for John Green.

Purchase the book on Amazon: Looking For Alaska
BONUS: You can pick up the hardcover (yes, I said the hardcover) for only $6.40!! I wish I knew that before I bought the paperback for $9.99 at a local bookstore. It's times like this that I wish I had a money tree growing in my backyard.

Read some more reviews of Looking for Alaska here, here, and here.

If you want to see some videos of John and his brother Hank, visit their youtube channel.

You can also visit John Green's website for more information about his other books.

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