Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Publisher: Speak
Source: Library

From GoodReads:

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another. A stunning debut, it marks John Green's arrival as an important new voice in contemporary fiction.

From the first word of the first page, you know this book is counting down to something, but you're not sure what. It's coming, and you know it's coming. Through the first half, all you can do is read along and wonder. Miles is a quiet and unassuming kid who is looking for something new in the world, and he finds it at Culver Creek. He found his place by memorizing the last words that people utter - from the unlikely to the auspicious - and those words form the foundation for the decisions he makes as the book counts down to the inevitable "the day of" that you know is coming.

I loved this book. I loved the way Miles was written and the way all the supporting characters make Miles more believeable and interesting. It was about halfway through the first section that I realized what was going to happen. I knew what was coming, and there was a big part of me that wanted to stop reading just so I didn't have to go through it. But, I did read it. And I cried. And I wanted to reach through the pages of the book and tell Miles that life would go on and it was going to be okay.

John Green's debut novel is just a glimpse of things to come from him as a writer. Looking for Alaska is about love and loss. It's about the demons we all battle, and whether or not we let those demons win. Looking for Alaska is about redemption and pain and love and life. It's about the simple things that become the important things and the big things that don't matter in the end. Looking for Alaska is a glimpse of life-laughter, tears and everything in between.

If you haven't become familiar with Green or his writing, start with this book. You won't regret it.

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