Book Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Wednesday, July 3, 2013
I love reading. Books are amazing. They are a form of escapism, yes, but they are also inspiration, joy, and... well. Goodness. I think in some ways I have used my appetite for reading to define parts of my personality, so it made sense for me to review some of what I read! Here we go...

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green

Synopsis: "'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 the pain of living and loving unconditionally.

Nothing will ever be the same."

My thoughts: Okay, okay, I know. I reviewed a John Green book last week (The Fault in Our Stars), but honestly, I kind of went on a bit of a John Green kick after that (psst, you can follow him and his brother Hank on their youtube channel vlogbrothers [they have a LOT of youtube channels] here!) and haven't quite finished yet. So there may be another John Green book review in the works in the next couple of weeks too... :)

Anyway, back to Alaska.
As previously mentioned, I went on a bit of a John Green kick after TFioS and I bought a couple more of his books. This was one of them.
I love the voice of the main characters in John Green's books - it always feels like they are slightly underwhelmed by the state of the world, but you can feel how they desperately want to find something to have faith in - to be hopeful for. Miles Halter definitely has this voice. I loved his little character quirks - how he loved last words (that is, the last words people spoke before death) and how he could recite them from memory. I loved how he didn't like to read anything but biographies - it was so intriguing to me that he loved the biography of a writer, but never read any of their WORK. 

The chapter layout of this book was also fascinating. Each chapter started with a number of days BEFORE (eg. first chapter title: One Hundred and Thirty-Six Days Before) and that just made me curious (and fearful) about what was coming. It made me want to keep reading and discover what this great event was. And what would happen after it had occurred.

I must admit that I didn't find myself liking or relating to the characters in this book as much as in TFioS, but that is a little like trying to compare an apple with a dandelion. While the narrator voice is quite similar to me, the stories are entirely different and deal with different issues. A uniting theme, however, is John Green's exploration of death and finality through his characters. And that is something that I have found myself drawn to again and again with his writing. I really love how Green approaches this issue, and shows how it pervades his character's thinking, even in the strangest of ways, like Miles' interest in last words.

While I didn't love this book as much as TFioS, I still enjoyed reading it. I will definitely keep reading John Green's work.

You would like this book if: You like John Green's writing; you enjoy books with a hint of quirk and interesting underlying themes.

Rating:  8/10

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