Looking for Alaska by John Green

Bored of his mediocre life in Florida, Miles (Pudge) moves to a college prep boarding school in search of what he calls “The Great Perhaps”. At school, Pudge befriends his charismatic roommate, “The Colonel”, and the elusive, enigmatic Alaska. Instantly love-struck for Alaska, Pudge spends the year participating in a series of elaborate pranks, secretly hoping to win Alaska’s heart. But when tragedy strikes the school, Pudge and his friends must attempt to make sense of their shattered world, examining the exposed reality of their lives versus what they’d imagined them to be.

Does the plot summary for this book look familiar? It should. Though it’s the first in the lineup, Looking for Alaska is pretty much the same as every other Green book. It’s especially similar to Paper Towns (though Paper Towns was much funnier). Though there are distinct differences in plot among his books, all of Green’s characters seem to be recycled from one title to the next. They are all ultimately recycled from this book, of course, because it’s the first — but still. If I hadn’t read other Green books, I might have been impressed with Looking for Alaska. But, I have, and so I felt like I was rereading one of his other books. The characters are entertaining as always, but I’d like to see something new from him. It won a ton of awards, so some people thought it was special. I, unfortunately, did not.

Rating: 3/5

*School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, 2005

*Booklist Editors’ Choice, 2005

*An ALA/YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 2006

*Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Young Adult Fiction, 2005

*Printz Award, 2006

*YALSA Teens’ Top Ten, 2005

*The Inky Awards for Silver Inky, 2007

*Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee, 2009

*YALSA Best Books for Young Adults (Top Ten), 2006

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.


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