Thursday, 13 August 2015

Looking for Alaska, John Green

I have another book review for you all today! Obviously it's not one from my Perfect Library Challenge (because aparantly that's not hard enough without trying to read other random books at the same time) but it's a book that I really enjoyed!

I just want to say that I'm aware that John Green has a book called Paper Towns that's just been made into a film, while I'm reviewing a book that he wrote over ten years ago, nothing like being behind the times!

This one's been on my To Read list for a while, I think it's actually a Young Adult book and potentially when it went onto my list I was a young adult, that's how long I've been meaning to read this for!

From the back :

"In the dark beside me, she smelled of sweat and sunshine and vanilla, and on that thin-mooned night I could see little more than her silhouette, but even in the dark, I could see her eyes-fierce emeralds. And not just beautiful, but hot too."

Alaska Young. Gorgeous,clever, funny, sexy, screwed up - and utterly fascinating. Miles Halter could not be more in love with her. But when tragedy strikes, Miles discovers the value and pain of living and loving unconditionally.

I have to say that the excerpt they've chosen for the back is probably my least favourite piece of writing from the book, it sounds a bit cheesy to my mind (and it feels like they've missed out parts so it doesn't really make sense) whereas I found the rest of the book to be beautifully written. I'm all about word choice, and John Green frequently left me thinking "I wish I'd thought of phrasing something like that!"

This book is actually now on the reading list for a lot of schools and is a coming of age story, where the protagonist Miles, fed up of his life in Florida (I had to take some time to get to grips with this. Fed up of Florida, Miles?! Really? Some of us would love to live there again!) moves across the country to attend the boarding school that his father went to. Under age drinking and pranks ensue, and always at the centre of everything is Miles' new friend Alaska, beautiful, wild and completely unavailable.

The main character, Miles is actually rather boring, but I can forgive this because it's very much done intentionally and showcased by some of my favourite quotes from the book such as :

"The Colonel ran ahead of me,gleeful at his ejection, and I jogged after him, trailing in his wake. I wanted to be one of those people who have streaks to maintain, who scorch the ground with their intensity. But for me, at least I knew such people, and they needed me, just like comets need tails."


"I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane."

(Apparently there's a whole tumblr dedicated to this quote.)

This review's a tricky one! Usually I like to go into a bit more detail on the plot etc but because it's hard to fully talk about the important events that unfold without massive spoilers it's hard to get to the core of what the book's really about without ruining it for people. Parts of it definitely took me by surprise and it ended up being a very poignant, touching read for me.

Vague reviews aside, I'd really recommend giving this a read, especially if you love the whole boarding school setting, but even if you don't I'd say there's something that everyone would be able to take away from this.

Have you read Looking for Alaska? What did you think of it?