Here’s my take on Looking For Alaska by John Green.
“In the dark beside me, she smelled of sweat and sunshine and vanilla and on that thin-mooned night I could see little more than her silhouette, but even in the dark, I could see her eyes – fierce emeralds. And not just beautiful, but hot too.”
BEFORE. Miles Halter’s whole life has been one big non-event until he starts at anything-but-boring Culver Creek Boarding School and meets Alaska Young. Gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, screwed up and utterly fascinating she pulls Miles into her world, launches him into a new life, and steals his heart. But when tragedy strikes, and Miles comes face-to-face with death he discovers the value of living and loving unconditionally.
AFTER: Nothing will ever be the same.
A Miles Halter and co. story, Looking For Alaska is John Green‘s debut novel. Miles Halter, the narrator of the book, describes the events of his past in the first half and the present in the second half. When Miles Halter moves to Alabama to study in Culver Creek – the boarding school – he meets Chip Martin, AKA The Colonel – who’s also his roommate – who then later introduces him to Alaska. Miles instantly likes Alaska and as the story goes ahead, some stories from her mysterious past are unveiled, which then later prove of great help as we near towards the climax.
What happens between Miles and Alaska? Do they fall in love? Are there any secrets from the past? And also the climax! You’d need to read Looking For Alaska to get the answers.
Coming to the story, Looking For Alaska fares well when it comes to the writing style of John Green. As I had read The Fault In Our Stars – which I absolutely loved – I had high expectations from this book…but I was left disappointed. I will tell you why as the review progresses.
The cover is minimal and gorgeous! I am a fan of minimal book covers so I loved this cover more.
The characterization of all the characters in Looking For Alaska is picturesque and there’s no doubt that John Green helps you visualize the story that goes on. Alaska is this carefree girl who feels no harm in doing crazy things and develops great chemistry with Miles from the first day itself.
“I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was hurricane.”
For the first half of Looking For Alaska, you see Miles Halter – the guy who’s in search of his Great Perhaps – counting days backward till the present day, and that’s where the second half begins. He narrates us the incidents (and also tells us the last words of great people) from the past that made the present unbearable – why, you ask? sorry, no spoilers here! – and then the book ends with a sweet climax. The character of Colonel is my most favorite character in the book and his bond with his mother and his witty and brilliant mind makes me like him even more. There’s one more character that is essential to the story, but I will keep that a secret!
I’d like to give this book 1.5/5 stars.
What really left me baffled was the plot of Looking For Alaska. The plot, in the beginning, is compelling but as the story progresses, I cannot see why the events happen the way they happen. As I reached the middle of the book, I couldn’t comprehend the meaning of the entire story and most things felt misplaced. The occurrences happened one after another – fast-paced – with no relevant links among them, and that left me wondering about the story itself.
Alaska finished her cigarette and flicked it into the river. ‘Why do you smoke so damn fast?’ I asked. She looked at me and smiled widely, and such a wide smile on her narrow face might have looked goofy were it not for the unimpeachably elegant green in her eyes. She smiled with all the delight of a kid on Christmas morning and said, ‘Y’all smoke to enjoy it. I smoke to die.”
In the end, I was left more disappointed by the climax. It was indeed a rollercoaster ride, the book, but the ride pushed me in confusion rather than with the pleasure of reading it. I’d recommend this book if you’re a John Green fan and wish to read all his books. I leave it up to you if you want to get a copy or not.
Do tell me in comments below how did you find the book. I would love to know your views!
Thanks and regards,
Also read: Book Review of Abhaya by Saiswaroopa Iyer