“You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking how you’ll escape one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.”
Miles Halter’s whole life has been very normal and unexciting. He spends his days reading biographies and memorizing famous last words. He decides to go to boarding school at Culver Creek in search of what he refers to as a “Great Perhaps”. What he finds is Alaska Young, a beautiful yet self-destructive girl that captivates him and changes his life forever.
Looking for Alaska is told in two separate parts–Before and After. In the Before, Miles goes to boarding school and makes a new group of friends who involve him in all sorts of mischief from smoking in the bathrooms to setting off fireworks outside of the principal’s living quarters. He falls in love with Alaska, a moody girl with a sad past, who keeps piles of books inside of her room and flirts with him even though she is dating a boy from another school. It is through her that he finds his “Great Perhaps”. In the After, Miles has to deal with the repercussions of an event that will forever change his life.
This is a beautiful story about life and death and forgiveness. It is definitely a coming of age story, evident from the way Miles grows up significantly from the beginning of the book to the end. I found it really interesting that even though I honestly didn’t like Alaska very much at all, I still loved this book tremendously. I feel like I went through a million different emotions while reading this, from laughing at all of the pranking to nearly crying over some parts. This was my second John Green novel and so far it is my favorite. It deals with so many issues and teaches the reader the importance of choices and dealing with the consequences of those choices.
Overall, Looking for Alaska is a fantastic book that will make you laugh, cry, and forever be a fan of John Green. I just wished I had picked it up sooner!
Looking for Alaska was released March 3, 2005 and received the Printz award in 2006.