Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

July 16, 2015 Review 36 ★★★

Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green
Looking for Alaska by John Green
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Speak
Source: Gift
Pages: 221
Release Date: December 28th 2006
Genres: Adolescence, Coming of Age, Friendship, Social Issues, Young Adult
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. 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.
This book may be unsuitable for younger readers due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence. Note that this review itself does not contain any inappropriate material.

aliseOh, look, another book I’m just now reading, and it only took me nine years this time! So how does one review a book they loved and hated at the same time? Not easily. Plus this isn’t a story you can really just break down into pieces to decide whether it’s good or bad, it’s something you personally have to read and experience in order to decide how you will feel about it.

“When you stopped wishing things wouldn’t fall apart, you’d stop suffering when they did.”

I’m conflicted when it comes to LOOKING FOR ALASKA because I loved the moral and the message it was trying to get across but the road getting there was full of speed bumps. Namely, the characters.
Alaska and Miles each had their own issues, but I could connect to Miles a lot better because Alaska still is somewhat of a mystery to me. Her actions and behavior led to more questions than answers, and although I’m sure that was the point, I still found her character to be pretty frustrating and wishy-washy. Alaska is a puzzle and this novel just didn’t give me enough pieces to complete it.
make sense.
.Like with the author’s other books, these teens sound way beyond their years (a little unrealistically) but this aspect did lead to some great quotes.
John Green has made me learn how to be content with open endings, which, let me tell you, is no easy feat, because I LIKE TO KNOW EVERYTHING OKAY. So even though this book left me with questions it pains me to admit this sort of ending fit the book.
It’s basically a book about life, so the everyday antics of teenage Miles are bound to get on some nerves and cause pacing issues. At times, this one felt more like four hundred pages than two hundred.
Still, LOOKING FOR ALASKA made me feel a wide variety of emotions and gave me so many things to think about, something even my favorite five star reads can’t say.

“Thomas Edison’s last words were: ‘It’s very beautiful over there’. I don’t know where there is, but I believe it’s somewhere, and I hope it’s beautiful.”

Rating Report
Overall: 3

36 Responses to “Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green”

    • Alise

      It definitely gives you a lot to think about! TFIOS would probably be my favorite John Green book so far :) Thank you!

  1. Ju @ Fictional Skylines

    Alaska’s mysterious persona just seemed annoying to me! I didn’t get any of her intentions and I didn’t really have any reason to care about her because we barely knew her -_-

    The After part of the story was really slow and draggy but I think that’s to emphasize how Miles feels? I don’t know. I didn’t feel much of anything for this book…but it does have some beautiful quotes. My copy even has pages at the end with famous people’s last words haha that was nice.
    Ju @ Fictional Skylines recently posted…Hiatus Alert!

    • Alise

      It really frustrates me not knowing, like I want to know her true motives but alas.

      I honestly can’t remember too much xD My feelings are about the same on this one. Ooh, that is cool, mine didn’t have that!

  2. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    I still haven’t read this one either (big surprise huh?!) or anything by John Green for that matter. I’m both curious and scared because his stuff is SO hyped and that doesn’t always work out for me – especially in the contemporary genre. I WILL read it though, if only to see what the fuss is all about. That being said, I liked your more balanced feelings towards this book, it makes my expectations much more realistic. The moral and the message sound worth checking out but I’m sorry that the characters weren’t more solid for you. I loved reading your thoughts here Alise! xx
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: The Novice

    • Alise

      Definitely a surprise, a lot of people have at least read TFIOS! I know what you mean, there’s always that fear with hyped books. I’m glad! I had mixed feelings about this one, I enjoyed TFIOS a bit more. Thank you :D

    • Alise

      I completely agree, that’s why I’m always just like well, might as well slap an even 3 on this, lol.

    • Alise

      That was basically my issue with this book as well. I could relate to Miles a bit, but I didn’t really get his infatuation with Alaska, especially since her motives and real feelings were shaky. Thank you!

  3. Naban

    Alaska really irritated me. I mean yeah, she was supposed to be all mysterious and the like but like you said, I didn’t have enough puzzle pieces and just..I couldn’t connect to her at all so nothing made much of an impression. I don’t even remember most of the things that took place. *shrug*
    Naban recently posted…Review: Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan

    • Alise

      I feel you, I couldn’t connect to her either partly because her motives and feelings were never made clear.

  4. Puiman

    This was not my favorite John Green book, but everybody else seems to love it, which makes me feel like I read it wrong. Or something like that. Kind of want to reread it to see if my feelings are the same, but also don’t want to be left feeling meh again.

    • Alise

      I really felt like a black sheep when it came to this one but a lot of people are saying this as well so I feel a little better. I know what you mean, I was pretty conflicted about it and now that some time has passed I see that it isn’t super memorable. Thanks for stopping by :)

  5. Tanya

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts about this one! I read it a year or so ago and have to say I wasn’t really a fan. (Actually, I’ve come to realize after 3 books that I’m just not a huge fan of John Green’s writing. *ducking anything being thrown at me for the blasphemy*) I found both Alaska and the ending to be incredibly frustrating. Maybe that was the whole point? I don’t know. But I certainly did not take from it what so many others apparently have. You summed it up well for me when you said Alaska was a puzzle but we weren’t given enough pieces to complete it.
    Tanya recently posted…That’s What *He* Said Thursday #01

    • Alise

      Yay, I’m glad! :D And I feel you, his books are so loved I feel like I am missing something. I hated An Abundance of Katherines. Alaska was frustrating, for sure, but yeah, I think that was the point. Does it make me less frustrated? Just a bit, haha. Thanks!

    • Alise

      Understandable, I hear a lot of his books are similar. I haven’t read Paper Towns yet but I have read an Abundance of Katherines and really disliked it, haha. Thank you!

    • Ava

      I hate this book and love it as well…However I heard they are making a movie of it, not too sure how thats going to work out !

      • Alise

        Right? Conflicted feelings! That should be interesting, I know they are doing one for Paper Towns too so I’m definitely curious. Thanks for stopping by :D

    • Alise

      I definitely agree. I know that part of the allure of the book is that we don’t know but I wish her motives were made clear. Thanks :)

  6. Kelly

    It’s been a while since I read this one, but if I remember correctly, I enjoyed it too. To a point. There’s no doubt John Green is entertaining, but by the time I’d read a third title of his, they all just blend in together. Another manic girl who’s mysterious and leads the boy on a journey of self discovery. I know exactly how you feel Alise, I have a love / hate relationship with his books too. Wonderful review hun, still glad you were able to enjoy it overall <3
    Kelly recently posted…Paperweight By Meg Haston

    • Alise

      Yeah, I had mixed feelings about it. Totally agree, this is my third novel by him and I can see the similarities now, he basically just changes the circumstances and setting, ha. Thanks :D

  7. Wattle

    I think I own most of Green’s books, but I’ve only read one of them. Seeing him mentioned freaking everywhere at the moment is getting on my nerves, so it’s giving me no desire to read more of his work :( I hope, once all the movie hysteria dies down, that I’ll pick a couple of them up. They do sound like interesting reads (and he is good for quote :P )
    Wattle recently posted…Showcase Sunday #29

    • Alise

      Haha, I get that. It seems like all of his books are getting made into movies too, so there is no escape. Yeah, there are some great quotes! :P

  8. Sarah J.

    I have conflicting emotions about LFA, too. I don’t hate, but I also kind of love it at some parts. It’s a lot better than Paper Towns which I have a great disliking of. Great review!
    Sarah J. recently posted…Aesthetically Reading #2

    • Alise

      Haven’t read Paper Towns yet but I have heard that before, I wonder why that one was chosen to be made into a movie. Thanks :)

  9. Jen Ryland

    I read this one years ago but I definitely remember Alaska as a typical JG female character – sort of madcap and mysterious and worshipped from afar by the main character. I don’t remember too much more — I remember liking the boarding school setting and of course, the ending…
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics
    Jen Ryland recently posted…Freebie Friday — INT this week :)

    • Alise

      I’m beginning to see his pattern with that as well, sadly. I have yet to read Paper Towns but I hear that follows pretty much the same idea. Ah, well.

  10. Lorraine M.

    I’m a huge John Green fan, and Looking for Alaska is my least favorite book of his. I still liked it, but I definitely had to agree with some of the points you brought up about the character development, especially for Alaska. I’m trying to get around to reviewing Paper Towns before I go see the movie – hoping this adaptation is just as good or better than TFIOS!
    Lorraine M. recently posted…Review: Rosie Revere, Engineer

    • Alise

      I really liked Green’s The Fault in Our Stars so this one was kind of a let down, but I don’t feel like a black sheep so much anymore. I agree, I’m anxious to see the movie!

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