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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So good
Very much recommended if you don't mind being the grown man on the train, alone, sobbing quietly in to his kindle.
Published 5 months ago by James Hulse

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Looking for Alaska - John Green
Also published at Miss Inga Page.

Looking for Alaska follows Miles Halter as he starts life at Culver Creek, his new boarding school. When Miles arrives, he quickly meets his new room mate, and discovers everything that this new life has to hold. From getting to know Alaska to going on adventures, this year is one that Miles will never forget, and one that will...
Published 17 months ago by Miss Inga Page


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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So good, 10 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Very much recommended if you don't mind being the grown man on the train, alone, sobbing quietly in to his kindle.
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98 of 104 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking For Alaska, 2 Feb 2008
By 
Megan Rae "<3" (Chester, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Looking For Alaska (Paperback)
I was casually scanning the books in the Young Adult section at Borders, when a guy who worked there came up to me and reccomended this book. I was a little skeptical - he was about 25 and not really the kind I'd imagine reading books aimed at teens, but the way he talked about this book intrigued me entirely. So, as there wasn't anything else interesting me in the slightest, I though - what the hell? Plus, he said that if I didn't like it I could come back and he'd refund me.

I'm so unbelievably glad that I bought it. Green captures the way a teenagers mind works perfectly - and the way he portrayed Miles being hopelessly in love was perfect. Miles is a young boy who joins Culver Creek boarding school in Alabama and befriends Chip 'Colonel' Martin; a sarcastic, trailor-bred intellectual who teaches Miles the way things work.

Immediately, I was curious with the he set out the chapters; divided into two halves - before and after a defining moment in Mile's life. It wasn't soppy or unrealistic - it's a story about a normal boy falling in love with a girl who - in his eyes - is perfect. The main girl Alaska is an endearing character - the author makes you want to know more about her; she's the epitomy of 'cool', but her underlying story gives her more depth, and you realise that there's a lot more to her and that her smile is a mask for her past. Filled with drinking, pranks and cigarettes - Looking For Alaska gives an insight into what teenage life is all about, and the harrowing reality of how precious life is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Looking for Alaska - John Green, 30 Jun 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Looking For Alaska (Paperback)
Also published at Miss Inga Page.

Looking for Alaska follows Miles Halter as he starts life at Culver Creek, his new boarding school. When Miles arrives, he quickly meets his new room mate, and discovers everything that this new life has to hold. From getting to know Alaska to going on adventures, this year is one that Miles will never forget, and one that will shape his life forever more.

I will be the first person to admit, that I am really not a big John Green fan (Unpopular opinion of the month?). That's not to say that I think his writing is bad, or that the novels he writes are unenjoyable, I just don't quite get the hype that surrounds them. I've given them a fair shot: I've now read Looking for Alaska, The Fault in our Stars, and An Abundance of Katherines with the hope of having that moment of realisation, and I'm sad to say that it hasn't come yet. I do own Paper Towns and will be reading it later in the year, but unfortunately can't say that I think they are the best books I have ever read.

That aside, I did enjoy this book. I LOVE boarding school books... I've read so many of them over the years, from The Twins at St. Clares by Enid Blyton to Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld, and I just love the world that they create which is so far from anything I have experienced... Unless you include the "Halls Experience" of University. But there, staying up for a midnight feast, or sneaking a bottle of wine into your wardrobe, isn't rebellion, it's everyday life! John Green accurately (at least, as far as I can imagine) presents an image of modern boarding-school life, sneaking cigarettes and playing pranks, with more angst than games of hockey, and I really enjoyed this evolution of the genre.

Of particular merit, in this book, is the pacing. The book races towards the end, aided by the constant reminder that it is "One Hundred and Eight Days Before", "One Hundred and One Days Before", "The Last Day"... until it happens. The book speeds towards this point with an impending sense of doom, and the reader knows that there is nothing that can be done to change the events. Miles knows that there is nothing that can be done now, and that he has to relive it, over and over again in his mind, trying to face his guilt alongside his grief. Without giving too much away, I had an idea of what was coming... but it didn't stop me from flying through the pages, desperate to know if I was correct, and then to watch the events unfold... especially in those final pages before "After" came.

As far as the other characters are concerned, I wish that more time had been given to Miles' friends. Not so much on Alaska or the Colonel, but on the characters who take a sideline role: Takumi and Lara. I really felt sorry for Lara, and would have liked to have seen that relationship expanded upon, but John Green had to condense things into an acceptable length for a YA novel, and Alaska rightly had to steal the show (She is the eponymous character, afterall). I can understand why an impressionable young boy would have been drawn in by the Colonel and Alaska, although I did wish Miles would grow a backbone in the opening parts of the novel... but I can't say I would probably have acted much differently in his situation, if I were taken under somebody's wing when I first started a new school. Particularly if that person were my room mate, and somebody that I really needed to keep on my side, like the Colonel.

Looking for Alaska, alongside all of John Green's books I'm sure, would probably have captured my imagination far more, were I still fifteen. I know, having reread The Perks of being a Wallflower, a book that I felt a particular affinity with at the age of fourteen, that these coming-of-age novels are best suited to readers going through the same dilemmas... sadly, I'm not, but I can appreciate why so many young adults adore this book. Miles is going through the typical teenage problem, as he tries to find himself, stuck between doing what he knows to be right and what his friends are doing, and trying to deal with all of the emotions that come with the consequences of these actions. John Green captures the teenage mind incredibly well for a grown man, and I wish that I had read his books at a time when they would have affected me much more greatly than they do now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Trying too Hard., 24 Dec 2012
This review is from: Looking For Alaska (Paperback)
Looking for Alaska by John Green

Published by Harper Collins Childrens

3 out of 5 stars

Format: Paperback (also available on kindle, ebook and audiobook, buy yours here)

I knew I wasn't going to like Looking for Alaska before I bought it. There has been so much hype about Alaska and John Green in general and I rarely agree with the masses. BUT I cannot ignore those masses either, I can't be a credible reviewer if I only read those books that appeal to me, and if I stuck with my favourite genres I'd of missed some amazing works.

So Alaska........the plot is quite simple really, set in two parts, BEFORE and AFTER an event that changes the characters worlds. Floridian Miles has decided to attending boarding school in Alabama, he is looking for a 'Great Perhaps' (ala 'I go to seek a Great Perhaps' by Francois Rabelais) and he's never going to get that at his present school, friendless, alone and pretty miserable. So off to boarding school he goes. Miles is soon christened 'Pudge' (on account of him being so skinny, ironic, huh?) by his room mate the Colonel and is introduced to the heroine of the story, and its name sake - Alaska. Miles soon becomes besotted with the vibrant, bubbly, unpredictable Alaska, even though she tells us frequently that she's sooooo in love with her boyfriend.

The story progresses as the kids become close friends, through first smokes, first drinks and first girl friends. Then the EVENT happens (no I'm not going to tell you what it is, although its fairly obvious) and the group dynamic is changed forever. The latter half of the book follows the friends as they deal with the EVENT and the aftermath, as well as how their lives change because of it.

As I said, I knew I wasn't going to like Alaska, and I didn't - the book or the girl (more on the girl later). The book wasn't bad, its was just far too self indulgent for me. Miles doesn't read like a teenage boy, he reads like a man writing as a teenage boy. The book just tries to be far too clever for me, it reminds me of a teenage version of something Scarlett Thomas would write - so concerned with being clever, though provoking and philosophical that it fails at all three. The whole labyrinth and great perhaps links through out the book are annoying at best, they are not clues to a deeper meaning in life, they are just Green trying to be clever.

There is also the issues with the quality of writing, there is no doubt Green is a great writer, although I think his work (based upon Alaska) would be best aimed at an older age group that want to reflect upon their lives and their meaning. However there were numerous things that annoyed me about his writing style firstly was the lazy list writing ie: 1)it was blue 2) its was black 3) it was green 4)it was purple 5) it was pink (ok not a quote from the book but you get the idea). The lists were everywhere in the book, and rather annoying. Then we have Miles' apparent obsession with the layers of clothes between him an a girl. Granted I've never been a teenage boy but I somehow doubt they all obsessively count '4 layers between us now' more likely they focus on whats UNDER the layers, once in the book would have been acceptable but Miles talks about the layers over and over and over again, it felt like padding for the book, and nothing more.

On to Alaska, I understand that she's not meant to be perfect, I understand that she's not always meant to be understandable, but she's also not likeable, the reader (or me at least) doesn't bond with her, doesn't get Miles' bond with her really, and is generally underwhelmed by the apparent bombshell that is Alaska. I think in trying to make her messed-up and struggling with issues, Green has lost the essence of the girl he was trying to write about. Miles is a little more likeable, he's more normal, trying to fit in, struggling with being a teenager with out the over-the-top dramatics that Alaska uses. His circle of friends are well written, the reader gets to know them all well and cares about what happens to them (I particularly like Chip's mum and the Eagle).

The book for me was an ok read, I gave it 3 stars as I can see why so many people love it, but for me it was just trying too hard. I suspect it'll just be a case of me not liking Green's writing style, I wouldn't say no to a new book by him, but I doubt I'd be pre-ordeirng it either.
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51 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One to read in one sitting-absolutely compelling, 2 April 2007
This review is from: Looking For Alaska (Paperback)
I took this book out of the library on a whim one day and I really don't regret it! This book is about friendship and what makes people who they are. Reading this makes you understand that people have so many hidden layers which have been influenced by their past. This book looks at teenage relationships in a way that is remarkably true to life. Most people should be able to identify with the feelings and issues that it deals with. It is also the darker moments in this book that make it such a refreshing, if touching, read.

Looking for Alaska is one of the most well written books that I have read in a long while. One minute it can make you smile the next it can make you feel like crying. I would definitely recommend this to anyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional., 13 Nov 2014
About 5 years ago an ex of mine recommended me this book. Long story short, I didn't read it while we were together or after. The first John Green book I had the pleasure of reading was The Fault in Our Stars, what a beautiful book. And while my laptop was down I read An Abundance of Katherines, which yet again was another beautiful book. This book has been on my to read list for a long time and I'm so thankful I've finally read it.

This book was perfect. From start to finish, I know I seem to say that about all his books (so far) but that's just how I feel. And I've been sitting here for an hour struggling to put how I felt about this book into terms. Not because it was a bad book but because I'm still in awe of it.

I love all the characters. They are such a bunch of lovable misfitsthat they become relatable. From Miles 'Pudge', the skinny shy boy who's obsessed with peoples last words to Chip "The Colonel" Martin (his roommate) a prankster who likes to memorize countries/capitals/states, Takumi a surprisingly gifted MC , Lara a Romanian immigrant who is also Pudges girlfriend for all of a day, and then there's Alaska Young. A wild, self-destructive, beautiful girl who Pudge instantly becomes infatuated with.

This books is set up in two different section. Before and after. In the before section Miles leaves his home and old school behind to attend a boarding school, one his father attended as a kid, and where he hopes to find his Great Perhaps. The school itself is set into a great dived too. The Weekday Warriors, rich kids who live in a well off area and go come on the weekends, hence the name. And the normal people, who are there on scholarship. After a run in with the weekday warriors on his first day, Pudge along with the help of his new friends wage war. While planning and scheming Alaska and Pudge grow closer and they begin to open up. Pudge finding out the reasons behind Alaska's self destructive personality, is because when she was 8 her mother died very suddenly of a brain aneurysm. Because she panicked and didn't call 911 she caries around the guilt, feeling responsible, even though there wasn't much she would have been able to do.

To tell you about the After section would be to spoil the book for you. I for one never saw it coming. Being that I don't know how much people read into my blogs (if they do) I'm going to stop. Basically this book is about self discovery, grief, pain, sexual exploring, anger, trust, self doubt and living in the moment.

Before I read anything by John Green it was apparent that he was very loved by readers old and young. Before I didn't understand it, but now I do. He's an amazing writer with the ability to make every character he puts to paper relatable in some shape or another. He never disappointing me and I cant wait to read more.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A good fill-in or holiday book, 31 Oct 2014
By 
This review is from: Looking For Alaska (Paperback)
I didn't purchase this on Amazon (although it would have been cheaper if I had!) but I've just finished the book and was kind of pleasantly surprised. The book wasn't in the young adult section of my local bookstore and from reading the back cover I didn't realise it was a sort of teenage drama, although once I started reading it really couldn't have made the slightest bit of difference.

For avid readers, this is a one-night read. The book is short, concise, and beautifully written. John Green certainly doesn't waffle on, and I for one am grateful for that - I'm not a fan of wafflers.

I don't need to give you a breakdown of the storyline because it's written in the product description, but I will say that Miles Halter and Alaska Young's characters are written with so much depth that you really feel like you get to know them well, as is Chip (or 'The Colonel'), Miles' roommate. Not much weight is given to the ancillary characters, namely Takumi and Lara, friends of the group.

I won't give it away, but I would say that the writer didn't quite give me the impact I was hoping for when the 'devastating incident' happens. It was sad, sure, but I wouldn't say he captures it in a way that made me want to reach for the tissues. I was also bitterly disappointed with the prank memorial they pull towards the end of the book, although this may appeal to younger readers or they may find it humorous.

Overall, it's worth a read if you're looking for something to take on holiday or just a fill-in while you're searching for your next masterpiece to read. I should imagine teenagers will love it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Story for teenagers that will appeal to young at heart adults as well, 4 Feb 2014
“Looking For Alaska” written by John Green is a novel about several young kids who get into many troubles while doing foolishness only because they are young, a story for teenagers that will appeal to adults as well.

The main character named Miles Halter is an ordinary guy who has unusual trait memorizing the famous last words of known people from the past. Miles will meet girl named Alaska Young who represents the perfect girl of his dreams and together they will embark on journey that starts at Culver Creek Boarding School.
While we follow a group of young people that besides Miles and Alaska include three additional characters named Colonel, Takumi and Lara we are going to pass through a great adventure, although the reader constantly has the feeling that everything is too perfect and that for main characters something bad is awaiting ahead...

For all those that connect term teenage novels with worldwide known famous teen series the good news is that “Looking For Alaska” is not usual teen melodrama; instead John Green tried for his story to be as close to real life and his characters like the kids around us are. Still he manages to create great romantic tension between two main characters while gradually novel is becoming a youthful contemplation on life and death.
Green his story divided into two parts - Before & After - though we will not disclose what separates the story in half so as not to reduce the pleasure of reading though in the end author presented a denouement to which some could complain about.

Although offers a lot of fun, thrill and humor, “Looking for Alaska” is not a novel that everyone will like; the adults will likely going to protest how the main characters are a bad example for their peers, while young people may not be able to read all of what the author offered on his pages.
Nevertheless, it’s still novel that is worth your time especially if you are still young at heart because then you will be able to fully understand what lies behind the words author skillfully wrote.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too, 14 Oct 2006
By 
TeensReadToo "Eat. Drink. Read. Be Merrier." (All Over the US & Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Miles Halter is the type of high-schooler who always faded into the background at his public school in Florida. He had few friends, by choice as much as by fate, and wanted only to study his passion--memorizing the last words of people who had died. After reading the dying words of poet Francois Rabelais, "I go to seek a Great Perhaps", Miles is convinced that there's more to life than what he's so far experienced.

So Miles sets off to spend his junior and senior years at Culver Creek, a private boarding school in Alabama. There he gains his first nickname "Pudge" (a misnomer, by far, since Miles is quite skinny); meets his first love, Alaska Young; has his first sexual encounter with a Romanian girl named Lara; and gains two great male friends, Chip "The Colonel" Martin and Takumi Hikohito. He also experiences the joys and sickness of getting drunk, the strangeness of smoking cigarettes, and the unadulterated pleasure of playing pranks.

Pudge's new group of friends have their own quirks--The Colonel memorizes countries, capitals, and populations; Alaska collects books for her Life's Library that she hasn't yet read; Takumi relishes being The Fox. They all work together to irritate their teachers, avoid confrontation with The Eagle, the school's dean, and pull off pranks against the rich Weekday Warriors that are the popular clique at Culver Creek.

But LOOKING FOR ALASKA is mostly the story of growing up, of falling in love, of dealing with loss, and getting through life as best that you can. With wonderful dialogue, fascinating prose, and characters that are so real you'll think you know them personally, this is a book well worth reading. Not just is it the story of a group of teenagers looking to find their way out of the labryinth of loss, or just the story of finding our Great Perhpas, LOOKING FOR ALASKA is about living the best life that can be led.

I loved this story, and highly recommend it. Once you do, you'll realize it's no surprise that it won the Teen's Top 10 Awards--in fact, it probably deserves more.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius"
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly Balanced, 17 May 2009
By 
This review is from: Looking For Alaska (Paperback)
As a viewer of John and his brother's YouTube account I decided to buy both this book and An Abundance of Katherines to see what his work was like. I have to say I had high hopes for the book before I began and it definitely didn't disappoint!

What I like most about this book is the balance all the characters had. So many Young Adult writers create characters that are stereotypical, unhinged and short-sighted. Green however manages to capture the awkwardness of adolescence while still keeping each character realistic. The main characters are well developed with flaws and strengths and we see them grow as they progress through the novel.

This novel leaves the reader with mixed emotions but is very inspirational. A must read for teenagers.

It is a shame that Green's other work is not published in the UK as this book was not particularly popular. The main reason for this is that it has been really badly marketed. The cover presents the novel as typical trashy teen chick lit when it is something much more. Also, given the author's since YouTube popularity, I think the publisher could do well to rethink this decision.
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Looking For Alaska
Looking For Alaska by John Green (Paperback - 31 Mar 2011)
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