Adolescent Lit. Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Looking for Alaska is John Green's debut young adult novel.  It won the Printz Award in 2006 which is an award for a book that "exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature." Green also received a Printz Honor in 2007 for his novel An Abundance of Katherines.  Other YA books written by Green include Paper Towns and Will Grayson, Will Grayson


Sixteen year old Miles "Pudge" Halter, who has a talent for remembering famous last words, is in search of the "Great Perhaps." He is done with his boring,  friendless life in Florida and decides to follow in his father's footsteps by enrolling at the Culver Creek Boarding School.  Upon arrival, Miles meets his roommate Chip Martin, known as The Colonel, who is extremely poor, but a genius.  The Colonel's best friend, Alaska Young, lives down the hall and has managed to get almost every one of her male friends to fall in love with her.  Alaska is creative, beautiful, and extremely intelligent.  The Colonel and Alaska introduce Pudge into the world of smoking and drinking and also show him how to pull of the best pranks.  They go to class, cut up, and live life together until tragedy strikes.  

"How will I ever get out of this labyrinth?" -  Simon Bolivar

This is a question Alaska asks throughout the novel.  As the characters deal with tragedy (you will have to read the book to find out about the details), the author John Green, addresses issues of grief and suffering.  While this is a sad book, it is a great book about life and suffering.  Because it is YA, this is also a book that many young adults can relate to. 

Recommended for Grade 9 and up. 

What's Next:   I have read that there is potential for this novel to be made into a movie.  The characters from this novel would definitely make a great film! 


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