Book Review: Looking For Alaska

I used to write a weekly book review way back when I first started this blog. Since then, life has overwhelmed me and I lost my enthusiasm to read much of anything. Additionally, life has felt an awful lot like a labyrinth… 😉 😉 to those of you who’ve already read the end of the book. It’s felt like years since I was at home in my life, starting with my dad’s heart-attack and, I hope and believe, finishing up with the purchase of my house. Because I’m an English teacher, I’m aware that there are people in this world (including my department chair) who don’t ever view reading as difficult. They might claim that one particular novel is tough to get through, but while not reading that novel, they’ve finished five others. Even though I probably seem to be that way to some of my students, I assure you I am not. I’m the type who needs to achieve an inner comfort/peace to enjoy reading.

So I haven’t read very much or very well since my dad’s heart attack.

However, I’ve been in a pretty good reading niche for the past month and I think it’s time for another review.

Looking for Alaska has been out for awhile. My students gush of John Green and all of his books, so I thought it prudent to at least get some idea what they’re talking about. So summary: Main character is Miles, who makes the move from normal public school to boarding school, where he makes new friends and gets into teenage mischief (including some shenanigans parents may not want their teens reading about). One of his new friends is a girl named Alaska, and she is a real hottie with some psychological problems. She’s moody, impulsive, and wicked-smart. However, Miles and Alaska’s other friends never quite feel like they know her. It was a New York Times Bestseller and was awarded the Printz award.

So… initial thoughts: I get why teenage girls think John Green is the greatest thing since sliced bread. His characters are captivating and they have some depth. They’re relate-able and the dialogue is realistic. John Green is a capable writer. I believe he knows what he’s doing and crafted something that’s both entertaining and thought-provoking

Occasionally, I did feel like Green was pandering to his audience, with the drinking, smoking, sexual discovery, and profanity, although it eventually just became part of the world he created. I think reading Looking for Alaska as a teenager would have been awesome. I read it in three short nights (about 6 hours total), so it’s something a teen who doesn’t like reading can still suffer through in a reasonable amount of time. Reading it as an adult is okay. I probably won’t keep it around to ensure its pristine condition, because I don’t intend to re-read it; I’ll put on the shelf at work and let students have a go. However, being finished with Alaska, I will probably try some of Green’s other books when I’ve got the time.

Happy Reading!


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