Book: Looking for Alaska by John Green
Rating: 4 stars
Looking for Alaska is not a bad read, I found myself enjoying it more than I thought I would. It's one of those books that's interesting on so many levels but occasionally falls flat in others. The book felt like it was trying to explore a lot of topics such as friendship, happiness, death and everything in between.
The story centers around 16 years old Miles Halter who has a fascination with last words and felt like his life was one big dull event. He was looking for that Great Perhaps and maybe even some friends. To get that chance to find it, he will be leaving his life in Florida to attend his father's former high school, Culver Creek Preparatory School, a boarding school in Alabama.
Culver Creek was definitely going to be a new experience as well as dealing with Alabama's intense heat but it wasn't until he met his roommate Chip "Colonel" Martin that things started to move along. The Colonel as he preferred to be called was a short and smart boisterous guy who sort of unofficially took Miles under his wing. He showed Miles how to navigate life at Culver, even though he stated he wasn't going to do that and he also gave him a new nickname, Pudge.
A new introduction had Pudge meeting the Colonel's friend Alaska Young, a smart but flighty girl who he immediately liked. She has a larger-than-life personality that's draws you in but there is always something that stops you from truly getting to know her. He met other students including another one of the Colonel's friends Takumi Hikohito who is a smart, fun and energetic guy.
When Pudge wasn't getting used to his new school, he was finding out about the "rules" such as don't rat out your fellow students. There was a huge incident that happened at the end of the last school year with Alaska's roommate Marya and her boyfriend Paul being kicked out of the school because someone told on them. This had a lot of the students trying to figure out who did it.
There was also a prank war going on at the school with Pudge getting caught in the middle of one due to his association with the Colonel. At first it may seem like this is a book about nothing but the everyday life of students at a boarding school. It is indeed that but there's more called into play when something tragic happens. It leaves Miles and his friends at a lost and trying to find meaning out of what happened.
This story has drama, humor, a touch of mystery, ridiculous pranks and an unexpected important meaning. These characters can be a little annoying at times with their self-inflicted and sometimes over the top drama but they do feel like real, if not at most times, misguided teens. And that's not to say that some of these characters don't have issues they are dealing with because some are very distressing.
I can see why John Green is a popular author he spins a good tale. Looking for Alaska is an easy read that gives way to a sort of coming-of-age story for Miles Halter and his friends who really have to take a look at the world and at themselves following a tragedy.