Looking for Alaska
book review by Lauren Thomas
Looking for Alaska is a young adult novel written by John Green that revolves around anguish and grief. The book has received much controversy on its contents. People have claimed the book has sexually explicit content that is not suitable for the intended age group of readers. Also, many people have challenged that the book is “disgusting”, “pornographic”, and will cause immoral thoughts and actions in children. The main characters of the book drink, smoke, have sex, and use explicit language and certain people do not think this book should be a young adult book. The author John Green has a joint YouTube channel with his brother. In one of his videos he defended his book saying he was not a pornographer. The scene in question isn’t supposed to be physically intimate, it’s awkward and empty of emotion which contrasts with the scene that follows after it where there is no physical intimacy, but emotional closeness. I agree with John; his book had a complex structure to it with meaningful quotes and messages. This book didn’t make me want to go out drinking or smoking, it made me think about how teenagers can be independent, but still needing a shoulder of someone close to lean on.
The book follows main character Miles “Pudge” Halters, a biography reader and last-word-memorizer, to his new high school, Culver Creek Boarding School, where he tries to find a Great Perhaps. Miles used to be an inept, shy wallflower; however, the moment he meets his new shrewd roommate Chip “The Colonel” Martin everything changes. Miles is thrown into a world where has fun, where he has friends, and where he can do what he wants to do. He continues to meet more of The Colonel’s friends: the mysterious, bipolar Alaska Young and the Japanese adept rapper Takumi Hikohito. Alaska intrigues Pudge the most. Now Pudge is on a mission, shoveling through layers of clues and anguish, to understand Alaska and what her actions mean.
Looking for Alaska revolves around the topic of grief and sadness. It also explores the aspects of friendship, self-discovery, and identity - perfectly fitting into freshman year at SLA. I loved this book. This book left me fraught with emotions. It had me in tears, laughing until I turned red, and it left me thinking about what the power of friends and love really means. The author of this book, John Green, is so talented. I love his personality and writing style. In my opinion, there is nothing I would change about this book, and there is no weaknesses to it. I don't relate to anyone in the book; however, Pudge and I do share being shy. I would recommend this book to anyone who read The Fault in Our Stars (John Green’s most current book). In fact, I would recommend everyone to read any John Green books. His books are filled to the brim with deep, meaningful quotes such this one from Looking for Alaska:
“...if people were rain, I was a drizzle and she was a hurricane.”
My creative portion for this book includes a movie trailer full of quotes & important scenes, as well as a movie poster/new cover for the book. The canvas has “looking for” written on it and the shape of the state Alaska. I chose the state of Alaska because it is one of the main character’s name and when I first saw the book I thought it was the actual state, not a girl. Inside the state of Alaska there is a road-map-like trail with important icons from the book. For example, the first icon is a book that says “YOU” standing for Pudge’s love of biographies; the second icon is the state of Alabama which is where Culver Creek is.
Please watch my trailer and provide feedback! Thanks to the help of my fellow classmates Miles, Dillon, Jesse, Lauren, Joseff, & Anna for being in it!