Nov 22, 2012

Book Review: Looking for Alaska - John Green

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Release Date: The edition I have was published on December 28th 2006
Publisher: Speak
Pages: 221 (paperback)
Source: Bought
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" (Fran├žois Rabelais, poet) even more. Then 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.
Oscar Wilde said "If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all", and while I beg to differ - because there is always use in reading - only a few are worth re-reading. Looking for Alaska is one of them.

Miles Halter, having lived a life of constancy, finally decided to live by one of his beloved famous last words: "I go to seek a Great Perhaps." He left the comfort of his old life for Culver Creek, the boarding school where his dad had also gone before. Boarding school might've been an unideal place to find a Great Perhaps, but this one didn't disappoint. Surrounded by smart, new friends in an unpredictable setting, Miles was on his way to finding what he came for. And more.

I love stories set in boarding school because the seclusion actually offers a lot of possibilities and fun. But, man, was I more than entertained by Culver Creek! The constant prank battle between Miles' group of friends and the Weekday Warriors - the rich kids - was hilarious and made me frown while reminiscing my dull high school days.

And then there were the varying characters who lived and breathed in and through the pages. I've always loved smart, sarcastic characters, and Looking for Alaska had an abundance of them. The famous last words that Miles loved added humor to the story, and his new friends provided the intelligent mischief that gave me a lot of laughs. My personal favorite was the Colonel - a boy who'd grown up in a trailer home with his mom but used his poverty as an inspiration to get them out of there. Such an admirable guy.

Still, nothing is perfect. I felt like Miles and Alaska's friendship was one-way; he was a friend to her, yes, but her nature didn't let her become a friend to him - she was just the girl he fancied. I did love that until the end, Green didn't let us fully understand Alaska; she'll always be an unsolved mystery.

Before I read this, I'd already known something was coming. I'd actually guessed what it was, but the how surprised me. When I got to the darkened page that said "after", I just had to take a deep breath to prepare myself before turning it. With a beautifully-written and poignant plot, Looking for Alaska is definitely a modern classic. And to think this was John Green's first novel. Wow. If you haven't read this, well, why haven't you? Go pick it up now!

MY FAVORITE PART was the Colonel's basketball game taunting. I really lol-ed when I read it the first time. And the second time. Oh and of course, the immortal quote:
So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.

(photo and summary from


  1. Oh I love stories set in boarding schools too. There's something just so different and fun about them. I hate to admit that I've never tried anything by John Green before, but I've heard brilliant things about this one and plan to start here. Brilliant review, Kazhy!

    1. I hope you'll get to read this soon :D Thanks, Sam!


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