Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Novel of the Week: Looking for Alaska by John Green

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After "The Fault in Our Star" and "An abundance of Katherines", I finished reading another John Green's novel. If you read my previous reviews then you already know I found the "The Fault" amazing, while the second really left me disappointed. 
With these premises, here's my review of Looking for Alaska by John Green.
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Even if the title may lead thinking a girl is the main protagonist, it is indeed a boy, Miles Halter, whose story is all about: born and raised in Florida, Miles decides to apply at Culver Creek Preparatory School, in Alabama, claiming he's doing so to seek for the "Great Perhaps"...a term Miles doesn't know the real meaning himself.
Looking For Alaska Memorable Quotes
Once settled, he meets his roomate: Chip "Colonel" Martin, a sort of math genius who studies there thanks to a scholarship. The two of them bond immediately, mainly because the Colonel is very outgoing, and introduces Miles to Alaska Young; going from being exuberant to icy cold and detached within seconds, Alaska is a real and true enigma and catches Miles' attentions right away!                
The three of them spend a lot of time together, also with other friends like Takumi and Lara. They study, plan jokes against "weekday warriors", wealthy students at Culver Creek, who leave the school on weekends. Everything is normal, even if Alaska sometimes has her NO days or comes out with really weird and disturbing phrases like when, questioned how could she smoke so fast, she replied "I smoke to die". She really has an intricate personality.

Then someday, or better one night, Alaska and the Colonel were drinking hard while Miles was reading, listening to their chats...and somehow him and Alaska ends up kissing, something Miles has been hoping for a long time. Then they fall asleep, but he hears Alaska waking up, aswering to a phone call in the hallway and coming back in the room hysterical, screaming she forgot something and always ruins everything, begging the boys to help her leave the campus; the two had no other choice than help her...even if that led to an unfortunate tragedy.



What I liked
First time I found secondary characters so well described and with their fair part in the story. The Colonel is absolutely my favourite (along with his mother, Dolores!) and also Takumi, Lara and Culver Creek's professors don't just stay there as a background. I loved the dialogues and the themes the protagonists talked and reflected about.

What I did not like
To me, Alaska's character reminds a lot Margo Roth Spiegelman from John Green's "Paper Towns". They're both mysterious, hard to read and 'outsiders': they don't fit in just one category, actually they both make their own. It seems like the author liked very much the character that decided to re-use it in another novel. And I didn't like the reason why Miles moves to Culver Creek: seeking for his "Great Perhaps" may sounds cool and mystic, and yet I'd have prefered a more rational reason.

Beside all, "Looking for Alaska" is a positive novel: it's about the changes we all have to confront, deal and ambrace in our lives. How important is to look at both sides of stories and that planning jokes is alway a good idea!


My Vote: 8/10


The Fault in Our Stars - my review HERE

An Abundance of Katherinesmy review HERE

Photo credits: book quote from missliterati.com & book cover from goodreads.com

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