John Green is amazing. In my opinion.
So anyway, John and Hank have a Youtube channel called "Vlogbrothers". It spawned a group of fans called "Nerdfighters" who walk around keeping the world for sucking and yelling DFTBA (don't forget to be awesome). Yes, I consider myself a nerdfighter.
I recommend that you try watching some of their videos. If you click here you will go to a playlist known as "20 Essential Vlogbrother's Videos" or something like that. I found it helpful when I started regularly watching.
To get to the Vlogbrother's homepage click here.
Now that you know about John Green I feel ready to review.
Review for Looking for Alaska by
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" (François Rabelais, poet) even more. Then 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.
When I was on my wonderful trip to Powell's, I got many books. This is one of them. Obviously I am a crazy fan of John Green and need to read all his work over and over, so this is my review for Looking for Alaska.
I suppose because this book is written in two parts, I shall review it in two parts.
"Before" in this novel consists of a lot of "befores". The before in the blurb mostly refers to before Pudge goes to boarding school. The before in the book however, refers to before something terrible happens.
I found Pudge to be a lovely protagonist. He was an honest teenage boy who loves a girl with a boyfriend and doesn't mind having a non "Weekday Warrior*" friend. (*Weekday Warrior refers to the rich students who only stay at the school during the week and go home on the weekends).
Pudge's growth as a person is fascinating in the Before as well as the After.
Maybe it was unsatisfying to see Pudge with a different love interest, but I loved the complications it caused.
Alaska, being the original love interest, is perfect for the job. She's gorgeous, friendly, but unavailable, and thus, irresistible. While her constant toying with Pudge pleased him, it was hard to read assuming that that's all she was doing, toying.
The Colonel is the perfect best friend. He's rough. He's tough. He pushes Pudge to do crazy things. He also has is own problems too, ahem, GIRLFRIEND.
Takumi is the just right side friend. Pudge may be good friends with him and all, but he still just stays a side character. A necessary side character.
Anyway, the Before in Looking for Alaska is full of unreturned love, pranks, firsts, and a lot of smoking.
It is hard to analyze this with out giving much away, but I will say that After is full of broken love, fights, a whole lot of smoking, and the biggest prank of all.
The Colonel and Pudge's struggle with acceptance and guilt they'd forced on themselves made this heartbreaking to read, except that the do manage to get closure, and that is the part that leaves Looking for Alaska with a happy ending.
Of course John Green's writing and characters were as amazing as ever. I found that it was a sign of true writing skill to have the devastation happen almost directly in the center of the book, leaving the reader dumbfound for what the next hundredish pages were going to be about.
Yes it was sad, but yes it was happy, and now, as François Rabelais said,
"I go to seek a Great Perhaps."