Friday, June 21, 2013

Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska
Today's post is on "Looking for Alaska" by John Green. It is the first book by Green. It is 221 pages longs and is publishes by Dutton Books. The cover has a blown out candle with the smoke rising up the cover. It is told from the first person point of view of the main character. The intended reader is young adult sixteen and up but teachers, parents, and young adult librarians should read this too. Parents be aware- there is underage drinking, sex, talk about drugs, foul language, and disregard for others. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- First drink, first prank, first friend, first girl, last words.
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.

Review- This book is making waves among young adult librarians but I personally cannot see why. Now I admit I do have preference for character driven stories and I do think less of plot driven ones. Alaska is a plot driven story. It is well written but the prose aside there is really nothing to recommend about this book. If I had read this book as a young adult I, not only, would have not liked it; I would have told everyone to not read it. But I have mellowed from my own YAhood. Now I would not recommend it but I would not stop anyone from reading it. The reasons why I would not have liked this story is more than just the two dimensional characters, it would have all the ‘normal’ actions of the teenagers. I know that I have a boring teenager and that I am a fairly boring adult but the actions that the main characters have in the novel would have made me sick and angry. Now looking at it as an adult they are not really shocking and there is some moral lesson because Alaska does die because she drinks and drives. Miles does stop drinking because of her death but everything about the novel just feels cheap. Again not a bad novel but just not great; it is a first novel so I do try to give some leeway because of that. I do not know how accurate Alaska is to the teenage life now partly because I have not been a teenager in almost fifteen years and like I said I was a boring teenager when I was one. So if you have a teen in your life and want to get them reading try this. Tell them that there is drinking, sex, and pranks in it.

I give Two out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review, I borrowed this book from my local library, and I read it for an assignment in graduate school.