Saturday, June 11, 2011

Looking For Alaska

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.

I really loved Looking For Alaska by John Green. When I was younger, I read An Abundance of Katherine's, also by him, which I absolutely loved as well. That book is one of the reasons why I was so eager to read his first novel. I think John Green is becoming one of my favorite people. Besides being a really cool vlogger, his books reach into deep ideas and concepts that I wouldn't necessarily think about normally. And yet, his stories are not monotonous or so intensely serious that you want to go sit in a corner and cry, although they are emotionally moving. In fact they are lighthearted enough that I can actually relate to them, which is hugely important when an author is trying to impart their ideas to their readers. If you can't relate, you're not going to pick up the meaning of their theories.

I was able to relate to this book in particular for a few reasons. First of all, it takes place at Culver Creek, a boarding school in Alabama. I have not gone to boarding school anywhere, let alone Alabama, but really Culver Creek doesn't sound all that different from college. I was able to understand the different emotions that the main character Miles was going through upon arriving at school and how he felt when he went home for vacation, spending time with his family who miss him in strange ways. It was easy for me to understand the process of making new friends and peer pressure and adjusting to being responsible for yourself. The other reason why I can relate to this novel I can't reveal without spoiling it completely, but something that happened in my Senior year of high school is, in a way, replicated in the second half of the book. Anyone who has ever experienced something similar will know EXACTLY how the majority of students at Culver Creek felt.

I was fascinated by this book's focus on last words. I'd never given much thought to them before, but now I find them intriguing. At one point, one of the characters says that we die like we live. It really made me think about what my last words would be based on my life. Probably something nerdy like "be excellent to each other" or (in a fit of nerdfighter energy) "don't forget to be awesome!" Hopefully I won't find out too soon though. And when I do, who knows what will race through my mind? This book really gets you thinking...

I would definitely recommend it to any teen or adult wishing to discover more about "the Great Perhaps" or even just looking for a good story!


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