Wednesday, May 11, 2016

book review: 'Looking for Alaska'

The overwhelming mediocrity of Looking for Alaska.

I purchased Looking for Alaska for two reasons: One, I loved The Fault in Our Stars and really enjoyed Paper Towns (both by John Green); and two, it was on sale.

Note to self: Never fall for the book on sale. The problem I had with this one is that I don't have anything good or bad to say about it. It was totally, wholeheartedly mediocre. It brought out no emotions in me whatsoever. (Unless you count the annoyance I felt at the need to finish one book before I start another one, because I really wanted to start a new one.)

Here's the thing. John Green is a talented writer — there's no denying that. He's got a great style and impressive abilities to tell a story and get inside the mind of adolescents. He really knows what it's like to live and breathe teenage hormones, and it impresses me how in-tune he is even as an adult. But Looking for Alaska landed somewhere on the same plane as Me, Earl and the Dying Girl, albeit with more interesting and relatable characters.

This one is about Miles (aka Pudge), a high school junior who leaves his school in Florida to attend boarding school in Alabama, looking for the "Great Perhaps" in life. Pudge has a penchant for learning famous people's last words (an interesting quirk that I actually did enjoy). Up until this point, Pudge has led a normal, unexciting life that he's ready to trade for something he hopes will be better. When he gets to the new school, he meets the Colonel (another nickname) and Alaska (a real name), both of whom introduce Pudge to some much-desired drama.

Alaska is the sort of enigmatic character Pudge has been seeking, someone who has really experienced life and doesn't care to play by the rules set by someone else. She's a mystery, and he inevitably falls for her. Of course, some mysteries can't be solved, but that doesn't stop Pudge and the Colonel when Alaska presents her final mystery.

It wasn't that I couldn't relate to the characters and what they were going through, because I have been in similar situations to what Green wrote about. I just thought it moved a little slowly, and some of the events didn't seem quite as big as they were meant to be. Final thoughts: Looking for Alaska is not a bad book. If you're looking for good writing and well thought-out characters, this one is for you. If you're looking for a more gripping story, try this one.

Have you read Looking for Alaska? What are your thoughts? Am I the only one who thought it was overwhelmingly average? I'd love to hear your opinions... 

P.S. reviews of Paper Towns and Me, Earl and the Dying Girl

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