Thursday, January 10, 2013

Book Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: December 28, 2006
Rating: 3/5

Cover Impressions:
Meh. Not something that would ever grab my attention except for the name John Green.

The Gist:
During his first day at Culver Creek Boarding School Miles "Pudge" Halter meets the strange in enigmatic Alaska Young and nothing will ever be the same. 


Looking for Alaska is split into Before and After some mysterious event.  It is difficult to discuss this, and difficult to write a review without giving away the big event - so I will try to discuss other factors.

I had some issues with this novel.  I loved The Fault In Our Stars and was looking for the same type of connection with the characters.  However, I didn't find it here.  I found the characters to be generally unlikeable.  They were not particularly friendly or caring.  They drank a lot, smoked a lot and swore a lot.  They didn't really seem to DO anything.  The teen angst dial was a little too high and I found it difficult to feel anything for the characters or their situation.

This is not the novel for a reader who wishes for a great deal of action - there is very little.  What you will get is page upon page of teenagers waxing philosophically and asking big questions about life.  I will admit, I kept waiting for the big reveal - for some piece of evidence that would answer one of the main questions that the plot poses, but I guess that is much of the point.  There are never adequate answers in these types of situations and the living must simply attempt to go on living.

Perhaps as a teenager, this would have more resonance.  However, as a jaded 30 year old teacher - it falls flat.

A note on content:  this is another book that I find frustrating in that the language/sexual content prevents me from recommending to my students.     

Teaching/Parental Notes:

16 and up
Gender: Both
Sex: Kissing, Petting, Talk of Masturbation, Vulgar Sexual Language
Violence: Death by car accident
Inappropriate Language: Shit, Christ, Fuck, Ass, Bastard, Piss, Bitch, Dick, Pissed
Substance Use/Abuse: Underage Drinking, Smoking, Marijuana Use
Other Issues: Suicide, Child Abuse


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