My very best friend Loreal recommended this book to me a few months ago when she read it. I’m always wary of contemporary fiction because I have this terrible belief that nothing really exciting happens. But after reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson I vowed to read all of John Green’s books because I enjoyed it so very much. I finally borrowed this book from the library and read it over the weekend.
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 first impression of the book was it didn’t look like it was going to be a cheerful story, judging from its cover. Was this the reason why I had held off reading this book for so long? It’s one of those books that I was always aware of but never picked up. But once I started to read, I found myself enjoying it immensely.
One of the most memorable first scenes is when Miles says that his dad hates it when he marks up books with a highlighter. He had a good point, I admit, that it would be easier to find quotes, but like his dad, I would hate to mark up my books. However, Looking for Alaska was just that type of book that made me want to grab a highlighter and underline all my favorite lines. Alas, I couldn’t even flag the book since I borrowed it from the library!
I loved all the characters in this story. I think they have all affected me tremendously to the point that I feel like I know them. Whenever I come across a biography, I will think of Miles. Whenever I see a room full of books and a bottle of wine, I will think of Alaska. This book had brought back memories of high school that made me think about my past from basketball games (though I never even attended one) to pranks and mischief. My experiences fail to compare to the kids at Culver Creek’s, but I was left thinking mostly of good times.
The book is not terribly long, and it was very easy to read. The pages flew by quickly, and before I know it, I was toward the end of the book. I did manage to figure out the big “why” at the end of the story a bit early, but I thought that the ending of Looking for Alaska was perfect. It was just enough to give the readers closure and of course, it ended with brilliant Last Words.