15 June 2012

Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Published: March 1st 2011
Source: paperback (borrowed)
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Summary: A deeply affecting coming-of-age story, Looking for Alaska traces the journey of Miles Halter, a misfit Florida teenager who leaves the safety of home for a boarding school in Alabama and a chance to explore the "Great Perhaps." Debut novelist and NPR commentator Green perfectly captures the intensity of feeling and despair that defines adolescence in this hip, shocking, and emotionally charged work of fiction.

Miles has a quirky interest in famous people's last words, especially Fran├žois Rabelais's final statement, "I go to seek a Great Perhaps." Determined not to wait for death to begin a similar quest, Miles convinces his parents to let him leave home. Once settled at Culver Creek Preparatory School, he befriends a couple of equally gifted outcasts: his roommate Chip―commonly known as the Colonel—who has a predilection for memorizing long, alphabetical lists for fun; and the beautiful and unpredictable Alaska, whom Miles comes to adore.

The kids grow closer as they make their way through a school year filled with contraband, tests, pranks, breakups, and revelations about family and life. But as the story hurtles toward its shattering climax, chapter headings like "forty-six days before" and "the last day" portend a tragic event―one that will change Miles forever and lead him to new conclusions about the value of his cherished "Great Perhaps."

Review:  Can't believe it took me this long to read this book! The book cover of the other edition (image on the right) made me think that it was a book about something serious and boring, NOT contemporary romance. Contemporary romance always have the same ol' cliched covers ie. girl and boy hugging, heart(s), girl looking sad so I can't be blamed for overlooking this book until now.

There really isn't much to say when it comes to reviewing books of the contemporary romance genre without including any spoilers but I will try my best! The book started off quite slow for me and there wasn't anything special that stood out. It was quite predictable in terms of the romance and the school life in Looking for Alaska. The story really picked up towards the middle when the first prank was being carried out. It got really amazing from After, it was so deep and it revolved around dealing with friendship, love, loss, school and  life in general. It hit really close to home when Miles and friends were talking about finding answers about someone who was already gone. Who hasn't done that when going through the grieving process?

I love coming-of-age novels because it really shows how people deal with problems and situations in life. I thought Miles was the perfect protagonist in this case and his awkwardness and dorkiness really added to the book. 

Looking for Alaska became so philosophical towards the end I had to pause and re-read a lot, in a  good way. It made me think about religion and how we humans live life. I think the wise words in the book alone makes this worth the read. This has become one of my favourite books and I would definitely be getting my hands on a copy! Let me leave you with a short excerpt.
"He was gone, and I did not have time to tell him what I had just now realised: that I forgave him, and that she forgave us, and that we had to forgive to survive in the labyrinth. There were so many of us who would have to live with things done and things left undone that day. Things that did not go right, things that seemed OK at the time because we could not see the future. If only we could see the endless string of consequences that result from our smallest actions. But we can't know better until knowing better is useless." - Looking for Alaska by John Green
 My rating:
Recommended for everyone!


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