Young Adult Lit/Crit

April 13, 2008

Looking for Alaska

Filed under: Look What I'm Reading for Book Club! — sostrom @ 2:16 pm

I finally finished John Green’s novel, Looking for Alaska, and I loved it.  There is something different about this novel.  Although there were some very sad moments during which I cried, I also found myself laughing out loud on several occasions.  Just as a teaser, one of the pranks pulled involves the hiring of a stripper as a guest speaker. 

The story takes place at a boarding school in Alabama where the narrator, Miles “Pudge” Halton, begins his junior year.  Arriving friendless, Pudge becomes a part of a small group of pranksters (Chip “the Colonel,” Alaska, and Takumi).  What strikes me as different about this book is that there are no real villains.  The kids are smart, articulate, caring and funny.  Even the “Weekday Warriors” (kids who go home on the weekends) whom Pudge’s roommate hates are generally respectable people.  The adults in the book (teachers and parents) are also depicted as caring, smart, and minimally (realistically) clueless. 

There is tragedy in this book, but it didn’t feel overwhelmingly depressing and hopeless to me.  In the end, kids learn to move on, and the adults even support their emotional and personal growth from the sidelines.  Refreshing, good book. 


ps/ remember this was one that was being contested in Buffalo.  Mentioned in an earlier blog post from Karen



  1. John Green’s website announces his new novel, PAPER TOWNS, due out in October. Like Sarah, I recommend ALASKA to anyone who has not yet read it. Here’s his own blog post on the Depew, NY censorship case.

    This guy gets 30-40 comments on his posts. I’m jealous!!! KES

    Comment by sunyprof — April 13, 2008 @ 6:01 pm

  2. Looking for Alaska is such a great book. I agree with you that there is just something different about it, Sarah. I am planning to read his second book, An Abundance of Katherine’s this week. I’ve heard it’s almost as good as Alaska!

    Comment by katefrazer — April 13, 2008 @ 9:14 pm

  3. Kate was kind enough to let me borrow her copy of ALASKA, and I am reading it for book club these next weeks, and will hopefully have it finished before we meet again. I have heard wonderful things about this book from so many different people, I can’t wait to get further into the story.


    Comment by mandygrl101 — April 15, 2008 @ 9:36 pm

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