Friday, August 8, 2014

[Review: Looking For Alaska by John Green]

"Looking for Alaska"
Author: John Green
Series: None
Pages: 221
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Date Published: December 28th, 2006
Publisher: Speak
Format Read: Borrowed paperback


Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (Fran├žois Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.

My Thoughts:

An Open Letter To Looking For Alaska,

Okay, I'm just going to say it. I had high hopes for you book, like really high hopes, and for some reason, you totally blew it. I didn't connect with you at all. It's weird because everyone and their mother have been telling me to read you for ages and once I got to you, I found that we didn't get along. It makes me sad, but it's just the cold hard truth.  The words inside of you are great, but the characters drove me mad. This is just the facts.

-The White Unicorn

Seriously, when I got the chance to borrow Looking for Alaska from a friend, I was extremely excited. I fell in love with Green's writing when I read The Fault in Our Stars and I couldn't wait to dive into the book that started it all. At this point, I kind of wish that I hadn't. Sure, the writing is still creative and wonderful and 100% John Green, which is something to marvel at, but this book and I just didn't connect at all.

Primarily I think my disconnect to the story, which so many people seem to connect to, was because of the characters. They all had their merits, but I just couldn't get behind the fact that Alaska had all of these guys tied around her little finger and that they all thought she was great. There wasn't anything wrong with her, but I just didn't get the dynamics between the characters. She was extremely self destructive and everyone just went ahead and catered to that. I found this both unbelievable and too believable all at once. Which annoyed the heck out of me. I did however enjoy the fact that Green didn't slut shame any of the females in his novel. 

Pudge was okay. I mean I get teen angst and I get sexual frustrations, but this constant game of cat and mouse between him and Alaska, which most of the novel hinges on, drove me nutty. It's like they both know that she has a boyfriend and yet they toy with each others emotions in such a destructive manner that I never was allowed to get to know either of them. His thoughts on her and the way he centered his existence around hers, made both of the main characters very one dimensional  for me. It also made the catastrophic events of The After section of the novel emotionless as a reader. I wanted to have my heart ripped out of my chest and instead I never shed a single tear. I just couldn't do it.

The saving grace of this book for me was the pranks that Pudge, Alaska, Lara and The Colonel pulled because they were brilliant. Their antics when it came to those things made me laugh and for a minute I was able to see what I think I was supposed to see. A bunch of kids running around and having the time of their lives while uncovering the truths of the universe. Props to The Colonel for being a character I could actually get behind. 

In the end I just can't say that I was a fan of this book. Though I can say that I'm still a fan of Green's writing and his creativeness when it comes to his characters. This book just missed the mark for me...

2 Unicorns = It was okay, but something didn't work for me!


Nicole said...

I think Alaska's self-destructive behavior and how all the boys are wrapped around her finger, especially if she isn't amazing, will bother me too. I don't know what it is about this book - maybe the cover- but I have never been motivated to pick it up, despite it being John Green. Sorry this one was a disappointment for you :(

Sara said...

I've never been able to finish this one. Actually, the only John Green book I've finished is Paper Towns, which I really enjoyed. I've never tried TFiOS and I'm not sure I will. I think I had the same issue with this book though - I just didn't see the appeal of Alaska.

Great review!