Home Book review Book Review:Looking for Alaska

Book Review:Looking for Alaska


Title: Looking for Alaska

Author: John Green

Genre: Contemporary YA

Publisher: Speak/ HarperCollins Children’sBooks (UK)
Publication date: March 2005/ July 2006 (UK)
Paperback: 272 pages


The story is based on high school students living in boarding. The story is split into 2 parts

Miles Halter is tired of his predictable and friendless life (check out the going-away party for him at the beginning of the book), so he decides to attend Culver Creek boarding school in Alabama for his junior year of high school. He tells his parents that he’s going to seek greatness perhaps, that there’s something more for him.

After this, the story is split into two parts: before and after.

Miles meets the Colonel (real name Chip Martin), Takumi, and Alaska Young. The Colonel grew up in a trailer park in, Alaska and her dad doesn’t get along (mystery alert), and Takumi is just kind of there for a while. The three take Miles (nicknamed Pudge because he’s so skinny) under their wing and introduce him to the social order of campus, which includes mischief-making, smoking cigarettes, and drinking. They have to avoid the Eagle—the aptly-named dean of the school—when they’re creating mischievous so he don’t take them before a peer jury.

Miles’s favorite class is religious studies, taught by an old man whose nickname is the Old Man. He lectures all the time and makes Miles think about religion, philosophy, and life. Miles loves it but  Alaska doesn’t like it.

After Miles is hazed pretty hard by the Weekday Warriors (students who stay only during the week at the boarding school), his new friends vow to help him return the favor. Miles meets Lara and goes on a triple date with her, the Colonel and his pseudo-girlfriend Sara, and Alaska and her college-aged boyfriend Jake. The date ends with Miles getting a concussion from a basketball and ralphing on Lara’s shoes. Also, the date doesn’t really mean anything, because Miles is well on his way to falling in love? lust? some combination? with Alaska.

Time passes and Miles continues his involvement in shenanigans and obsessing about Alaska. He stays on campus for Thanksgiving to try to get with her, but all he gets for his trouble is a sense of homesickness and confusion. Miles, the Colonel, Takumi, Alaska, and Lara pull an epic prank on both the Eagle and the Weekday Warriors that involves blue hair dye and fake progress reports, and during their hideout, all the friends find out that Alaska’s mom died of an aneurysm right in front of Alaska when Alaska was eight… which explains a lot about Alaska.

A couple of nights later, Miles and the Colonel and Alaska are hanging out in Alaska’s room. Both the Colonel and Alaska are drinking to celebrate the epic prank, but Miles isn’t. Alaska and Miles make out a little (dream come true moment for Miles), but then Alaska gets a phone call from her boyfriend Jake because it’s their eight-month anniversary. Ooh—drama. Then she freaks out and leaves campus in her car. Miles and the Colonel help her go by setting off fireworks on the Eagle’s porch.

All students are called to the gym the following morning for an announcement. The Eagle says that Alaska has died in a horrible car crash. An emotional train wreck ensues for all students but especially for Miles and the Colonel.

The Colonel and Miles are consumed with guilt. They flail about with each other, in classes, and with their other friends because they are caught up in how Alaska died, their culpability, and whether or not she committed suicide.

The two friends try to unravel the mystery: they go to talk to the officer whose car Alaska hit, they steal a Breathalyzer from the Eagle’s house to figure out how drunk Alaska actually was, and they talk to Alaska’s ex-boyfriend, Jake. In the midst of this, they ignore both Takumi and Lara (she and Miles dated for like, a day). And at the same time, Miles is trying to come to grips with who Alaska was and who he wanted her to be.

Then Miles and the Colonel, with Takumi and Lara (who have forgiven them for their single-minded grief), plan the most epic prank ever seen by Culver Creek Boarding School. It involves a class speaker, a stripper, and a lie told by Miles’s father. Dedicated to the memory of Alaska, it is a huge success.

Life marches on. Eventually, Miles and the Colonel come to terms with their loss and grief and give up on the mystery of Alaska; then they throw themselves into their studies. The Old Man assigns a final exam essay that asks how each student personally gets out of their own labyrinth of suffering. Miles, finally, has some answers for the question and writes about them in his final exam, thus writing himself out of his own labyrinth of suffering about Alaska.

Pudge finds Alaska’s copy of The General in His Labyrinth with the labyrinth quote underlined and notices the words “straight and fast” written in the margins. He remembers Alaska died on the morning after the anniversary of her mother’s death and concludes that Alaska felt guilty for not visiting her mother’s grave. In her rush, she might have been trying to reach the cemetery or might have committed suicide out of guilt. On the last day of school, Takumi confesses in a note that he was the last person to see Alaska, and he let her go as well. Pudge realizes that letting her go doesn’t matter as much anymore. He forgives Alaska for dying, as he knows Alaska would forgive him for letting her go.

Stars 💥💥

My views

I find this book a boring and waste of time. The only good thing about this book is John Green’s writing style.

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