Review: Looking For Alaska by John Green

December 30, 2013 Book, Joint Review 4

Because Sherlock Holmes doesn’t think that searching for a copy-cat is interesting enough for him, we use Grammarly’s plagiarism checker

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Teen
Publisher: Speak
Publication Date: March 3rd 2005
Source: Own

Looking for Alaska

Goodreads Summary: 

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.


Fair warning, it’s been a while since I’ve read this one, so I may be a little rusty.

Looking for Alaska is a wonderful story. From the very beginning, we realize it’s not your typical Young Adult book.

This book is split into two parts: Before & After.

Before introduces us to Miles Halter and his insatiable urge to search for a “Great Perhaps”. This leads him to go to Culver Creek Boarding School, where he meets Alaska Young. She’s like no girl he’s ever met before; she takes him under her wing and steals his heart in the process.

After gives us a heartbreaking plot twist that transforms Miles’s life completely.

I loved this book because of the fact that it gives us such a poignant view as to what being a teenager is about. Being a teenager means screwing up, it means partying, enjoying your life, and feeling invincible. This book was basically an anthem for teenagers everywhere, in my honest opinion.

We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. 

Looking for Alaska by John Green

The countdown to “after” was really stressful for me. I knew something was going to happen, but I wasn’t sure what. This countdown added to a kind of build-up that you couldn’t help but dread. I was thinking “do I really want to know what happens? I’m pretty happy right now, I don’t want this to end”, and guess what? I was right. Out of nowhere we’re hit with this plot twist that we didn’t know how to grasp correctly. That’s John Green for you, ladies and gentlemen. Curveball master, extraordinaire.

Anyways, what I also loved about this book was the fact that it dared break the norm. It dared to have “crude” language and “racy” sex scenes in order to deliver a more honest view of what being a teenager is like. This book was challenged a lot because it dared to break the social views about what is “adequate” in our society. This is why I love this book.

Rating: 5 stars.



“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” ~William Shakespeare

I have procrastinated quite a lot of time on reviewing this book because I have no idea what I thought of it. I hope my review can make some sense…

Miles is obsessed with famous last words, even though he knows little of the people who’ve said them. In search of his Great Perhaps, he enrolls in Culver Creek Boarding School where his life is never the same. He meets the beautiful, dangerous, and impossible to have Alaska Young, and he is up for trouble ever since. But things are never the same after a big tragedy in Miles’ Great Perhaps…

A lot of people love John Green, yay for them. And I also love him to a point we could say. I read The Fault in Our Stars before this book and completely loved it, but I felt so weird reading this one though. Granted, this was his first work while TFIOS was his most recent, so there must be differences in characters and writing style. I understand that, sure. What I didn’t like was Miles, and because the story was narrated by him, I felt like a lot of things were off for me, like Alaska.

The narrative felt boring to be, like something big was going to happen but it didn’t come fast enough. Add to that that there was a countdown to After, the second part of the book where everything changes. I kept expecting and waiting and hoping but nothing that came at me even tickled me into liking it. Would it be mean to say that I liked the book when After came? When something happened to someone? Because honestly, until then was when I felt compelled to feel something for the other characters, to like them even a tiny bit and when things got good to say the least. We could say I have a cold heart of stone in some things…

Leaving aside that aspect of the story, I liked the message John Green wanted to deliver and how he portrayed how it is to be a teenager. It’s about partying, about making wrong decisions, and a kind of survival that should be shown in Animal Planet. While I didn’t agree in some of the ways that it was shown here, it is all part of the reality most teens go through. And that in life, just like Miles, you don’t have to wait until the end to seek that Great Perhaps, that if you want it you have to seek it, or maybe even make it.

In the end, like in the quote, the expectation was what made this read not completely enjoyable I suppose. I’ve heard so many great things about John Green that when I got to this I was heartbroken because it wasn’t what people said. Lesson learned: ignore what others say of certain books and just go head-on not expecting anything. The story was good, but it was missing something in maybe the characters or only Miles, I don’t know. It was like reading something just for the heck of it, with meaningful stuff thrown here and there to make me like it a little bit and that was all. I’m afraid of reading Paper Towns for these same reasons, the heartbreaking expectation. But I have to risk it or never know what happens. It was a compelling, young adult read I’d recommend to any teenager going through the big struggle of not being a kid nor an adult yet, or older people too. It’s a good read for everyone delivered with the true colors of how life is.

Rating: 2.5 stars

Overall Rating:

i liked it


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We're two Puertorican girls who want to share our love of reading with the world. We sometimes substitute words for GIFS and either rant or fangirl a lot in our reviews. Talk to us about anything! 🙂