Friday, July 24, 2009

Looking for Alaska

Green, John. Looking for Alaska. New York: Speak; Penguin Group, 2005.
[Book cover credit:]

Booklist Editors’ Choice (2005)
Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist (2005)
SLJ Best Book of the Year (2005)
ALA Best Books for Young Adults (2006)
Michigan Library Association’s Thumbs Up! Award (2006)
Printz Award (2006)
ALA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults (2009)

When Miles Halter goes away to the same boarding school his father once attended, he knows he’s in for harder classes than he’s used to and maybe putting up with pranks played by the cool kids. He’s not prepared to room with The Colonel, the guy in charge of the off-beat cool kids who are behind the biggest pranks Culver Creek Boarding School has ever seen. Miles, now Pudge due to his stick and bones physique, is caught up in his classes, the gang’s pranks, and, most of all, Alaska, the beautiful and complicated girl who is the genius behind the gang’s greatest feats. Keeping his head around Alaska and keeping up with her at the same time are hard enough for Pudge in the best of times, but when Alaska starts to unravel, it is up to him and The Colonel to figure out why.

Having, up till now, only witnessed the genius of John Green on YouTube, I was blown away by all the little funny, quirky, scary, witty and sarcastic moments and dialog that move Looking for Alaska along. Reading this book, you will fall in love with Alaska, obviously; she is the interesting to the point of frusterating and beautiful girl that everyone falls in love with. You will also fall in love with Pudge for whom Alaska is a first crush and the first in what you suspect may be a long line of unrequited loves. You will fall in love with The Colonel for his fierce loyalty to his friends and to (Spoiler) Alaska’s memory. And you will fall in love with Takumi, the not quite a major character that reminds Pudge and the reader that things this big affect everyone; it is unfair to think you are alone in your grief. The characters are what make this book what it is, and they are all well-fleshed out, even down to the most inconsequential weekender.

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