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.
Published December 28th 2006 by Speak
This is most definitely a 'coming of age' novel. It came very highly recommended through the Absinthe & Ink Book Club in Goodreads.com, of which I am a proud member. So far, the recommended books that I have managed to get to, while doing my part in keeping this blog active, have been excellent.
This novel is no exception.
For a debut novel, the description is absolutely correct and I could not agree more. It is stunning. It is very well written.
The plot and characters are so well built and developed, I swear that I felt like a silent partner in all their mishaps, trouble making, antics.... I felt like I was right there along with all these wonderful and colorful characters. From timid & gangly Miles, witty Takumi, fun loving Chip to of course, Alaska.. who is full of demons and life, mischief, laughter...
And the pranks... oh the pranks! How this brought an array of memories of elementary/highschool years, of carefully planned out antics, executed flawlessly by myself and my own group of fellow troublemakers.
1. The time I
stole uh borrowed my dad's screwdriver and carefully partially unscrewed the bolts from my math teacher's chair. That was a spectacle that earned me a week's detention washing chalkboards...
2. Stealing all the chalk from the science lab, and replacing it with perfectly sized toothpaste blobs. Thankfully that teacher had a great sense of humor.
3. Stealing the projector from that same science teacher (That's what a great sense of humor gets you!!) and leaving a ransom note.
This novel had section headings of a day count down. I found myself wondering what the count down was leading up to. I found myself reading faster and faster, trying to get to, what was amounting to be, a huge turning point in this novel. And boy... was I right.
A tragic event changes the lives of this young group forever. Their lives come to a halt, as they all individually try to understand it, and deal with it the best way they can. The roller-coaster of emotions in the remaining part of this novel were intense, believable and difficult to read. It brought a lot of my own emotions and thoughts to the surface, as I recently went through a similar event along with a group of friends. I am much older than the characters in this novel, but it was difficult and emotional for me to read through their attempts at coming to terms with what happened because I could relate to them so well. Their obsession with finding out the truth of what happened that night rung deep. Their deep sadness and struggles, their wishes of having wanted to turn back time, do things differently, say things left unsaid were very familiar.
Yes, personal life events maybe played a part in it, but the writer was so successful in making the conflict feel so believable, that I do have to agree, that this novel was indeed stunning. It made me stop again and think about my life, and the connections that I have with so many great friends, and how grateful I am for the laughs, and the good times, for their support, and how difficult it would be to be without one of them. And it made me think on really fun trivial times that had me in stitches; moments in my youth that I had not thought about in years.
It was a 'real' story. One with an array of full bodied characters, filled with many emotions and situations. It was a novel about tragedy and life. It was sad, serious and fun. It was gut wrenching and heart crushing. But it also oozes inspiration and hope in finding your own "Great Perhaps".
“Thomas Edison's last words were 'It's very beautiful over there'. I don't know where there is, but I believe it's somewhere, and I hope it's beautiful.”
― John Green, Looking for Alaska
― John Green, Looking for Alaska
About the Author:
(pic & bio from Goodreads)