Review: Looking For Alaska by John Green

Looking For Alaska
By John Green
221 Pages
Published by Puffin

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.

Ok, well. Where to even start with this one? First of all, this is my first John Green novel. I’ll pause while you all clutch your pearls.


Now then. This may be my first John Green, but it certainly won’t be my last. I get it. I totally get why he has legions of squealing fangirl/fanboy book bloggers. I now count myself among them. I am a gen-u-ine Green fan. I have no idea why it took me so long to get to this point, but I’m firmly here now.

Why? Because John Green can write the hell out of a book, first and foremost. His prose is really fluid, almost like he’s speaking the words to you instead of reading them on the page. Does that make sense? Probably not. But he has a really conversational style that’s enjoyable to read. Some of my favorite examples:

“I wanted to be one of those people who have streaks to maintain, who scorch the ground with their intensity. But for now, at least, I knew such people, and they needed me, just like comets need tails.”

“I vaguely remember Laura standing in the doorway, the room dark and the outside dark and everything mild and comfortable but sort of spinny, the world pulsing as if from a heavy bass beat. And I vaguely remember Laura smiling at me from the doorway, the glittering ambiguity of a girl’s smile, which seems to promise the answer to a question but never gives it.”

“She taught me everything I knew about crawfish and kissing and pink wine and poetry. She made me different.”

Right? And dialogue?  He can do that as well. The teenage characters in Alaska are really believable, even while being larger than life. Alaska herself is mercurial. Pudge is thoughtful and taciturn. The Colonel is bombastic. They come from very different worlds but you can easily believe that they would be easy & fast friends. He also writes humor that is genuinely funny without being trite.

Green has a talent for taking even those of us who have been out of high school for a not-insignificant amount of time right back to those days, to our friendships and the people we didn’t like. He makes us remember what it was like when we felt like we had nothing but time and that those days would last forever. He raises lots of tough questions but gives us no real answers. It’s up to the reader to take what s/he will from the situations and the actions of the characters. And he will make you sob like a tiny little baby.

4.5/5 Stars and I may eventually take it up to a 5.

Leave a comment


  1. This was my first book to read by John Green, too. I was a little anal about it and decided to read them in the order they were published. 😉 I really enjoyed LfA but I think it’s my least favorite of his books (some people would hurt me for saying that, but it’s just how I feel.) So I’m looking forward to seeing what you think of his other books! One of these days I’ll go back and re-read all of his books so that I can get reviews for them up on my blog (other than TFiOS, which I already reviewed.

    Now that I’ve written a novel of a comment, I have one more thing to add. If you haven’t already, be sure to enter my giveaway: TWO SIGNED AND HANKLERFISHED Copies of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green!

  2. Welcome to the legion! What Green book will you read next?( I’m giving away a copy of his latest on my blog, stop by if you are interested:) Great review! I love the Colonel, hands down my fave character in Looking for Alaska!

  3. I haven’t read any John Green books. Shame on me!! But I definitely plan to. I’m really glad you enjoyed this. This is one heck of a review!

  4. Secret

     /  November 28, 2012

    One of my favorite books of all time.

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