Friday, 11 November 2011

#23 Book Review: Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 263
Published: March 3rd 2005
Author: John Green

Summary 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.

My review:
This is one of those book where you get to read about 'life'. What I mean by this is that the things happening in Looking for Alaska, it's called life. It can happen in your life and people around you. I've never read a book like this before. This book is a very heavy read, I have to admit this. The book carries serious death theme, sadness, despair and what life is like. 

Basically, Looking for Alaska tells the story of Miles Halter who went to a boarding school in search of the 'great perhaps', the last words of a great poet, and he likes to memorize the last words of different people. But what he did not expect was to meet Alaska Young, who pulls Miles into her life. Miles fell in love with her but Alaska had a boyfriend already. The time they spend together with the friends in the boarding school all leads to a tragic moment SPOILER (highlight to read words) where Alaska died after kissing Miles in a game of truth or dare. Miles were very depressed as he never knew what Alaska's last words were when she crashed. Miles try to deal with his life, his first love and finding out how to escape the labyrinth, a question Alaska asked him and herself.

The book is split into two section: Before and After. Both were very beautifully written. This book also discusses theme about different religions as to what happens to people when they die, is there an afterlife? and how to escape suffering. Truthfully, I never read a Young Adult novel with these heavy themes discussed in the book. I am utterly amazed at how John Green can bring these heavy themes into a novel where it touches your heart, breaks your heart and makes you question life. My heart aches a lot as I read this. It made me think abut life, how I am living it now, and what happens if I were Miles. I read this book slowly, and as the book ends with an essay Miles wrote about the labyrinth, it was a perfect ending for the book. I was able to connect to Miles, understand his pain, grief and also the other characters. His love for Alaska was so bitter as Alaska did not say she loved him. Green's choice of using people's last words in this novel was really touching too. People's last words are really meaningful and they are meant to be remembered forever. This is one of those books where you will have to question yourself many times and also life. 

Overall: A book about life, grief, pain and suffering. It is written very well that you will question life and yourself. Not only do I enjoy reading this, but my heart aches as I read the heavy themes this book carries, such as death. So far, I have read 2 YA books which have received the Printz award and I can only say they absolutely deserved it. Looking for Alaska and On the Jellicoe Road are both very touching and both beautifully written. I would recommend everyone to read this, but more to teenagers and also adults because the book carries heavy themes which children's might find difficult to read and understand. 

Favourite quote:
“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.”

5 Forget-me-not flowers for Looking for Alaska

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