Looking for Alaska, by John Green
In A Reader's Respite's continuing foray into the Young Adult genre, we keep finding novels that astound us. We have moments when we are convinced that there the Young Adult genre produces more sophisticated, complex talent than any supposed adult-oriented genre.
2006 Printz Award winner Looking for Alaska is no exception. A Reader's Respite was blown away by the sophistication of this novel.
Author John Green weaves a mesmerizing tale of three boarding school students in the deep South. Our narrator, Pudge, is a scathingly witty outcast whose dry commentary concerning his classmates (and himself, for that matter) hooked us from page one.
Boarding school is a fresh start for Pudge and he relishes the opportunity to reinvent himself (doesn't happen) and start a quest for the Great Perhaps (does happen). As with most boarding school experiences, however, it is the new friends he discovers that will change Pudge's life forever, including the girl of his dreams, Alaska. But like Pudge, each of his new friends have their own demons to evade. Most are successful. One is not.
The darker side of this novel is about the choices we make, especially as teens, and the impact those choices have on the people around us. Any well-written young adult novel that touches on suicide invariably begs for comparison with Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why (click here if you missed A Reader's Respite's review of that one).
Looking for Alaska wins, hands down. Why?
- The depth of characterization is nothing short of masterful.
- The boarding-school prank scene (which runs approximately 5 pages) had A Reader's Respite laughing so hard tears ran down our face and we literally peed a little in our jammies whilst reading before bedtime. Mr. RR was intrigued by this and when we read the passage out loud to him, we both laughed longer than we have in ages. And laughter is good for a marriage.
It's pretty clear by this point what our recommendation is. If you haven't read it, you're missing out.
More reviews just in case we didn't convince you:
The Book Muncher
In Spring it is the Dawn
The Until Midnight Reader
All the World's a Stage